Talent Development and Engagement

Attracting and developing employees with the right skills and aptitudes remains a constant priority for our organization and the companies in which we invest. We believe that to meet our business goals we must continue to attract and retain the most talented people through continuous learning and performance reward programs.

The quality and depth of our management teams, advisors and employees – at both the holding company level and within our group companies – has been built over a long time. It has always been a key priority and an important factor behind our success in creating long-term shareholder value.

Our Commitment

We commit to developing a highly skilled and performance-based workforce. We empower our people to develop their teams in ways that reinforce our responsible management culture within a tradition of strong and disciplined leadership. Our objective is to create positive working relationships for our employees and to provide them with opportunities for growth in their careers, as they contribute to the success of our business and of society as a whole.


Our talent development strategy is based on building leadership capabilities, creating a responsible management culture, and recognizing and rewarding performance.

Talent Development Focus

Building Leadership Capabilities

Skills development programs are offered through relevant internal and external training sessions stressing specific competencies and job responsibilities, including professional development, continuing education courses, seminars and conferences.

On-the-job coaching and development opportunities are provided within our group companies so that employees can broaden their perspectives, gain a better understanding of our diverse businesses, and share their experiences.

Opportunities are offered to work with executives and leadership teams to gain knowledge through exposure to leadership practices and strategies and to develop individual talent to its fullest potential.

Creating a Responsible Management Culture

Our staff members receive regular reminders of our responsible management philosophy and core values as espoused in our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and are required to annually attest their compliance to our Code and our related corporate policies.

Discussions are held on our responsible management approach and on various sustainability-related topics at the Board and management levels. Topics include sustainability awareness, responsible investing, carbon management disclosure, as well as reporting to rating organizations.

Rewarding Performance

Our performance and career management program focuses on three performance development pillars:

  • Results-based goals – we establish individualized, results-based goals that align with our core business levers towards long-term value creation, quality of execution and risk management.

  • Competencies – we define clear competencies that we believe are important to execute our strategies.

  • Individual development plans – we work with our employees to align their aspirations with business needs. Through these plans, we support employee career growth initiatives consistent with organizational objectives. We also provide third-party training programs and on-the-job training.

We offer progressive compensation packages, comprised of a balance between fixed and variable remuneration programs and competitive pension, savings and benefits programs.

Engaging Employees

We engage employees through communications, training, awareness sessions, as well as employee activities.

As outlined in our Employee Giving Program, we encourage our employees to share their experience and expertise by getting involved with non-profit organizations of their choice, for instance by being active members of such organizations’ board of directors.

Highlights from our Group Companies

Employee Engagement

Great-West Lifeco is committed to enhancing the employee experience and continues to measure and monitor employee engagement across the company. In 2019, Canada Life led a listening tour where its senior leaders met with over 500 employees to listen to their issues. The company then held its inaugural Canada Life Roadshow, where senior leaders presented over 35 sessions to employees across the country. Sessions touched on business priorities, how the company is investing in its employees, as well as tools and technology. It was also a chance for employees to ask questions and understand how they are all working together to shape the organization’s future.

Each of IGM Financial’s operating companies has a strong focus on engagement and, through the confidential Gallup® employee engagement survey, regularly seeks employees’ opinions to understand what matters to them, how the companies are doing and how they can improve. Leaders review Gallup® results with their work teams, and then work individually and as a group on action plans for improvement. This ongoing cycle contributes to team discussion, accountability and action, and enables the employees to contribute to their own development and to the success of the group. In 2019, 97 per cent of employees completed the survey and employee engagement scores ranked among the best the industry, with Mackenzie Investments reaching the 97th percentile, IG Wealth Management the 84th percentile and Investment Planning Council the 79th percentile.

Leadership Development

IGM Financial’s leadership development approach includes a consistent succession planning framework to identify and develop employees who have leadership potential, and to identify successor candidates for critical senior roles. Annual talent and succession reviews assess leadership potential, and assist the company in creating strategies to develop talent and take other steps, as required. Training and resources are geared to the specific needs of leaders and targeted to high-potential individuals. IGM Financial’s operating companies offer a variety of in-house programs to support leadership skills, such as the following:

  • Launched in 2011, LEADing at IGM (LEAD) is the company’s hallmark program for high-potential leaders, which features experience-based development through work on real projects. It was designed to develop its top talent into top leaders with a high capacity for productivity, collaboration and creativity. Initially a Mackenzie Investments’ program, the program was expanded in 2019 to include IG Wealth Management. In 2019, 15 individuals graduated from the eighth cohort, for a total of 131 graduates since the program began.

  • Being committed to diversity within its leadership team, IGM Financial employs the Humphrey Group Taking the Stage® program to ensure it is strengthening the leadership skills of women. The program focuses on a strong presence, communication skills, and building mentorship support. In 2019, the Taking the Stage training for women was delivered to 271 employees and advisors from IG Wealth Management, and 32 employees from Mackenzie Investments.

Canada Life and IG Wealth Management, with support from Power Corporation, partnered with the University of Manitoba for the creation of the Institute for Leadership Development. This teaching and research institute focusses on developing future leaders, thus contributing to build stronger communities and businesses in Manitoba and across Canada.

Imerys Leadership Behaviors, which were rolled out in 2016, have become an integral part of the entire talent management cycle, including recruitment, onboarding, performance as well as development and succession plans. In order to develop leadership and managerial skills, annual reviews are composed of a shared evaluation between employees and their line managers based on these principles.


Employee learning and development remained a priority for Great-West Lifeco, as it continues to offer career path-specific supports and opportunities for several disciplines. In Canada alone, in 2019, over 2,900 employees attended 124 workshops, and 93,150 training sessions were completed by employees. As part of its investment in learning and development, the company also offers to reimburse the cost of relevant continuing education for employees, up to $2,000 annually. In 2019, a total of 3,835 employee continuing education applications were approved in Canada. Over the year, Canada Life’s new Young Professionals groups hosted activities to promote networking and mentorship for all ages, career levels and tenure. They led numerous drives for the company’s United Way campaign through their GenNext affiliation. 

Canada Life’s internship and co-op programs help students accelerate their careers and, as of December 2019, 183 students joined the company on work placements. Programs are offered in several areas of the company, including accounting and auditing, actuarial, human resources, investment, technology and digital strategy. Canada Life’s Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) program is one of its cornerstone student programs. Students in Winnipeg and London can work with a team of CPAs and receive valuable mentorship and coaching in their studies and career. 

In 2019, GWL Realty Advisors (GWLRA) rolled out its Process Excellence training program to foster innovation and the ability to think differently and deliver sustainable results. The program is offered in two formats: as a full six-month development program that leads to GWLRA Process Excellence champions certification, or a 90-minute webinar that introduces basic process excellence concepts. A total of 31 champions were certified since the pilot in 2018 and 230 employees were trained on the fundamentals of process excellence. In total, 10 transformational initiatives have been completed so far, delivering an estimated $3 million in benefits to the business and properties. 

IGM Financial’s training and development approach is designed to identify the unique skills and knowledge required by each individual, along with the use of feedback from its annual Gallup® employee survey. In addition, through its Leading Performance: Building Careers program, IGM Financial is enhancing its approach to developing people and fostering high levels of performance. The program focuses on setting clear expectations on behaviours and performance objectives, providing ongoing coaching and feedback, and implementing personal development plans for all employees. Employees’ annual objectives are aligned with company strategy, and leaders are required to hold quarterly meetings to review progress.  

Learning opportunities are provided through a combination of formal training, feedback and coaching, and on-the-job experience for both their own employees and for the financial advisors they work with. External training is also encouraged and reimbursement programs to help cover costs are offered. Here are a few examples of training programs at IGM Financial’s companies: 

  • Launched in 2018, IG University is IG Wealth Management’s enhanced learning institute for advisors. Programming is anchored to the core pillars of financial planning, practice management, professional responsibility, products and leadership development, and segmented from a fundamental to expert level. Programs, training and resources include more than 1,900 hours of continuing education accredited content. Many programs are delivered in partnership with leading business schools. Within the first year of IG University, 53,788 courses were completed by IG Wealth Management Consultants.

  • IG Wealth Management is also one of the few companies in Manitoba, outside of traditional public accounting firms, that is an approved Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) training office. This offers students a non-traditional career path to meet their practical experience requirements. Its work rotation programs pair new university graduates with senior executives and professionals in various departments to enable these future leaders to gain valuable work experience and develop the company’s talent pipeline. 

  • Mackenzie investments has a dedicated practice management team that works with advisors to support them in managing and growing their business. The team offers advisors workshops, keynotes, tools and resources on topics such as leadership, marketing, branding, technology, process and self-management. In 2019, the practice management team delivered more than 230 presentations nationally.  

  • Investment Planning Counsel adopted more social learning methodologies in 2019, combining peer leaders and industry experts in highly interactive sessions for advisors.

Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL) strives to create an environment where people are valued, supported and empowered to be successful both personally and professionally. This involves conducting half-year assessments where the development opportunities and career objectives of each employees are discussed and reviewed. Furthermore, GBL gives all individuals the resources to develop their expertise and leadership skills, by supporting and providing training opportunities for its employees’ professional development.

Imerys is committed to continuously diversify and increase its training program through a blended learning approach, enabling employees to actively lead their own development and learning experience. The group’s entire learning offer is proposed through the Imerys Learning Center for in-class training and through the digital learning platform “IM-Pulse” for the e-learning training offer. In 2019, within the context of the organizational transformation, the group learning and development program evolved to align the management and leadership development offer to the needs of the new organization. In particular, leadership programs were adapted, with increasing focus on customer centricity, change management, communication, collaboration and inclusion. In 2019:

  • 60 per cent of the group employees have benefited from at least one training program.

  • Overall, a total of more than 367,000 hours of training have been provided across the company, a decrease from 2018 as various training courses were being redeveloped in the context of the organizational transformation. 

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