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 progressive development 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 various sustainability-related topics at 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 and awareness sessions.

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. 

In 2017, for the first time, all three of IGM Financial’s operating companies partnered with Gallup® to deliver Gallup’s Q12 employee engagement survey, which takes a holistic view of engagement and identifies areas of strength and opportunity. Employees are surveyed annually, and results are benchmarked against global organizations.

Being its fourth year participating in the Gallup® survey, Mackenzie Investments achieved an industry-leading engagement score of 4.18 out of 5. Investors Group and Investment Planning Counsel both participated for the first time in 2017 and are working on initial action plans to increase engagement. 

Investors Group also conducted a culture assessment survey of all employees to gain a better understanding of the current culture and what is important to them in order to help guide decisions and inform future initiatives.

In 2017, Imerys launched its first global employee engagement survey “Your Voice”. This survey was conducted confidentially and anonymously, offering employees the opportunity to express their position on a wide range of topics. The presentation of results was followed by the creation of working groups tasked with the elaboration of local action plans to focus on areas where potential improvements are needed, which will continue throughout 2018. 

Leadership Development

IGM Financial’s operating companies offer a variety of in-house programs to support leadership skills:

  • At Investors Group, all leaders are required to complete three mandatory training programs that cover policy knowledge, people skills, and an in-depth look at the company vision, values and commitments. Additional leadership development programs, focusing on experience-based learning, are offered. Senior leaders also attend leadership roundtables to build capabilities in the areas of strategy, critical thinking, innovation, and change. In 2017, Investors Group also launched a new podcast, Inspire: Stories of Financial Confidence, a platform to share and celebrate stories of success from its advisors and executive leadership. 

  • Mackenzie Investments’ training includes an annual Leadership Summit for the company’s top 125 leaders and a hallmark program for high-potential leaders, LEADing at Mackenzie, that features experience-based development through business challenge projects tackling real Mackenzie issues.

  • At Investment Planning Counsel, training for leaders is tailored to their experience and seniority. The company is currently looking to introduce a Career Planning Centre to expand its leadership training programs.

At Great-West Life, senior leaders participated in development conferences and curriculums designed to align with their business priorities and strengthen their professional capabilities. New core programs were also launched for all employees, focusing on change leadership, building trust, driving employee engagement and coaching. In addition, one of Great-West Life’s key focuses in 2017 was the design of simple online tools to support conversations between employees and leaders about performance and development, allowing them to focus on work that matters most.

Great-West Life and Investors Group, with support from Power Corporation, announced in May 2017 a new partnership with the University of Manitoba for the creation of the Institute for Leadership Development. This teaching and research institute will focus 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 2017, 6,000 Canadian employees participated in training and education programs such as continuing education, industry designation programs, in-house and custom programs, and leadership development. In total, 38,000 hours of training was offered through the eLearning platform. As part of its investment in learning and development, Great-West Life also offers to reimburse the cost of relevant continuing education for employees, up to $2,000 annually.

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.

IGM Financial’s operating companies provide tools and support to help employees shape their career paths, and grow and enrich their careers. 

For instance, at Investors Group, in addition to external training opportunities, training is provided through the in-house Employee Development Centre to strengthen business and financial planning skills, career development, and health and wellness. In 2017, Investors Group hosted 107 learning programs through instructor-led and online delivery methods. The Investors Group Institute is also well known for its industry-leading training, which provides the company’s advisors with the financial competencies and skills to run a successful business. In 2017, enhancements to the development program for new advisors were put in place with an increased emphasis on application of the company’s financial planning standards, processes, and tools. The program was rebranded as the Field Mentoring Program to reflect the important role of field management as coaches and mentors for new advisors.

Leading Performance: Building Careers – a new approach to performance management designed to enhance employee engagement and performance – was piloted at Mackenzie Investments in 2017. Based on best practice research, the new program recommends that employee annual objectives be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound) and aligned with the company’s overall strategy, and that employees engage with their leader in ongoing performance and development discussions at least quarterly. By 2019, Leading Performance will be at both Mackenzie Investments and Investors Group to ensure a consistent approach for leaders with employees at both companies.

IGM Financial’s operating companies also offer paid internship opportunities through partnerships with a number of educational institutions and professional designation programs. They see these internships as a way to develop a pipeline of future leaders and often lead to permanent employment within these operating companies. These programs also allow their employees to develop their mentorship and leadership skills as they work with the interns.

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.

Over the course of 2017:

  • Imerys Learning Center provided 9,740 hours of training through 54 programs covering geology, finance, management, project management and industrial marketing performance. 

  • The e-learning platform “IM-Pulse”, which hosts Imerys’ entire training offer, was made accessible to 4,000 employees/managers. In 2017, the number of training paths offered in IM-Pulse increased significant from 33 to 100 and a total of 7,730 hours of e-learning were attended by 3,200 people.

  • A total of 77 per cent of Imerys employees have benefited from at least one training program.

  • Overall, a total of more than 340,000 hours of training have been provided across the company, representing an increase of 17% compared to the previous year.

In addition, to strengthen its teams and prepare to the next generation of managers, Imerys launched its International Graduate Program in 2015, an international program for recruiting and nurturing recent graduates. In 2017 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.


In 2017, Great-West Life was again named on the Forbes’ Canada’s Best Employers list. The ranking highlights 300 companies operating in Canada that have won the endorsement of their employees.

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