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 receives regular reminders of our responsible management philosophy and core values as espoused in our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and is required to annually attest their compliance.

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

  • Competencies – we defined 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. 

IGM Financial also has a strong culture of engagement and regularly seeks employees’ and advisors’ opinions to understand what matters to them, how the companies are doing, and how to continuously improve. In addition, individual performance reviews, regular employee forums and other opportunities to engage with employees also help IGM Financial to understand if each operating company is achieving its goal to attract and retain top talent. 

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. It is worth noting that in 2018, Mackenzie Investments exceeded its target in Gallup’s employee engagement survey, reaching the 85th percentile for the industry.

Following Imerys’ first global employee engagement survey, called “Your Voice” and conducted in 2017, dedicated teams with clear owners were identified to drive the development and implementation of improvement plans related to diversity and inclusion, group processes, strategy and internal communication. Throughout 2018, the dedicated teams worked on the action plans and communicated on their progress. 

Leadership Development

IGM Financial’s operating companies offer a variety of in-house programs to support leadership skills, such as the following:

  • Through its Leading Performance: Building Careers program, IGM Financial is enhancing its approach to developing its people and facilitating high levels of performance. The program centres around setting clear expectations on leadership behaviours and performance objectives, providing ongoing coaching and feedback, and implementing development plans for all employees in partnership with their leaders.  

  • [email protected] Wealth Management and [email protected] are hallmark programs in place for high-potential leaders that feature experience-based development through real projects at IGM Financial.

  • 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.

Throughout 2018, Great-West Lifeco’s Canadian companies introduced workshops and programs for leaders, to help them create positive employee experiences for their teams and drive success for the organization. This included leadership coaching workshops, quarterly webinars, onboarding programs specific to new leaders and inclusion workshops to help leaders identify and employ strategies to shift default unconscious behaviours and biases into conscious inclusive actions.

Great-West 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’ managerial principle Imerys Leadership Behaviors, which was rolled out in 2016, has become an integral part of the entire talent management cycle, from recruitment, to performance and potential assessment, to development and succession plans. Annual reviews are now composed of a shared evaluation between employees and their line manager 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 2018, more than 3,300 employee continuing education applications were approved and, in total, over 49,000 employee eLearning training sessions were completed. 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. Great-West Lifeco also launched a new Learning Management System and new learning intranet site – the Learning Hub – in Canada in 2018. These platforms give employees greater control in their development and provide curated learning paths for employees and leaders. These paths tap into key skills, like communication, resiliency and productivity, that can help employees grow.

Great-West Life’s Actuarial Program and Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) training program are two examples of training offered and/or supported by the company. Candidates to these programs rotate among departments while earning their designations, developing leadership and interpersonal skills, experiencing professional growth opportunities and receiving mentorship that strengthens the foundation of their career development.

In 2018, GWL Realty Advisors (GWLRA) piloted the GWLRA Process Excellence Development and Certification Program to bring continuous improvement thinking in-house. During the nine months of the program, staff learned six sigma lean methodology and applied it to re-engineer an ineffective process. The quantitative and qualitative results were clear, and this program will continue to roll out in 2019. GWL Realty Advisors also launched, in 2018, a new online learning centre.

IGM Financial is focused on developing its employees’ skills both in the short term to be successful in existing roles, but also over the longer term to develop skills for future roles across the organization. Learning opportunities are provided through a combination of formal training, feedback and coaching, and on-the-job experience:

  • At IG Wealth Management, the company’s industry-leading training got a boost in 2018 with the launch of IG University, which designs customized educational opportunities supported by internal experts and world-renowned education partners. In less than a year, there were over 40,000 courses completed through IG University. The company’s programming is anchored to the core pillars of financial planning, practice management, professional responsibility, products and leadership development, and is segmented from a fundamental to expert level. 

  • At Mackenzie investments, the company’s cross-country team works with advisors to support them in managing and growing their business. The team offers advisors workshops, keynotes, tools and resources covering value-added topics including tax, disability and estate planning, and strategic philanthropy. With these valuable resources, advisors deepen their knowledge and strengthen the advice they bring to their relationships with clients.  

  • At Investment Planning Counsel, in-depth training for financial advisors, assistants, and branch managers is designed to provide knowledge and skills to help them excel and assist them with their professional growth. The approach consists of online learning tutorials, weekly virtual classrooms, and in-class training.

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. In 2018:

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

  • The e-learning platform “IM-Pulse”, which hosts Imerys’ entire training offer, was made accessible to 8,000 employees across the group, and included both in-class training and e-learning courses covering geology, finance, management, project management, industrial marketing, and leadership. 

  • Overall, a total of more than 508,000 hours of training have been provided across the company, representing an increase of 49 per cent compared to 2017.

In addition, to strengthen its teams and prepare to the next generation of managers, Imerys leverages its International Graduate Program, an international program for recruiting and nurturing recent graduates. In 2018, Imerys welcomed 24 graduates from eight different nationalities in its Graduate Program, which is structured around two successive 12-month cycles that introduce the graduate to two different business environments across the group.

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