Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2023):
Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 8, 2022)
Here are some of the reasons why CAAT Pension Plan was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2023):
- CAAT Pension Plan helps employees balance unexpected challenges in their day-to-day lives with flexible work hours, six paid personal days per year (which can be scheduled as needed), and up to six paid sick days annually
- CAAT Pension Plan supports ongoing learning and development, offering tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions and CAAT Academy, an integrated, personalized learning hub that provides on-demand access to thousands of courses, videos, articles, podcasts, and books -- the company also developed detailed career ladders to identify key positions in its core businesses and demonstrate the path for progression, allowing leaders to better coach and mentor employees, as well as help employees see what future opportunities exist
- CAAT Pension Plan supports employee well-being through a wellness program (with a dedicated full-time wellness specialist), updated during the pandemic to offer online yoga classes and a full subscription to the Calm app, as well as a wellness spending account that employees can use towards expenses that contribute to their personal physical, mental or financial wellness (to $1,500)
CAAT Pension Plan’s culture thrives amid growth
The three core values at CAAT Pension Plan are integrity, impact and teamwork. Since joining the organization three years ago, Bolu Ogunjobi has seen all of those values in action.
“From the start, I saw the chance to put my mark on something,” says Ogunjobi, a data architect with the pension provider’s IT team. “I was involved in helping build a stronger data management structure for CAAT. Every step of the way, I found people wanted to hear my ideas and were open to implementing them.”
A team approach was key to the success of that initiative. “We very much have a ‘one team’ philosophy here,” says Ogunjobi. “It’s all about pulling together and making sure everyone is on the same page.”
In terms of integrity, Ogunjobi says CAAT is very transparent with its employees about its goals, strategies and values.
“For example, our CEO holds monthly town halls, where we are all invited to ask questions and bring forth our ideas,” she says. “Everyone is aware of where we stand and the direction we’re moving in.”
Ogunjobi is also a volunteer member of CAAT’s employment engagement committee, which acts as a point of connection between senior leaders and employees.
“If there’s a new initiative being rolled out, it’s usually discussed with our committee first, so leaders can get a sense of how the employee base will react,” she says. “It goes back to that idea of collaboration and listening to each other, which I think is pretty cool.”
Julie Giraldi, chief human resources officer, says CAAT’s past, present and future success revolves around its strong workplace culture.
“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” she says, quoting management guru Peter Drucker. “An organization can have the best strategic plan, but if it isn’t aligned to people and culture, the organization will fail to execute on its strategy.”
The three pillars of CAAT’s culture are connection, collaboration and celebration.
Strong and regular communication between leaders and employees is critical to supporting that culture, says Giraldi, as is a clear focus on team-building and recognition of individual and organizational achievements.
One of Canada’s leading providers of sustainable defined-benefit pensions, CAAT has been on a significant growth path. Four years ago, the organization had about 80 employees; today that stands at about 350, with plans to grow to 500 in short order.
Currently, CAAT serves a membership of 80,000 members, including pensioners; that’s expected to grow to 400,000 over the next two decades.
Such a level of growth, in part during a pandemic, has required being even more deliberate about culture and values.
“We take a lot of time to explain to people our purpose,” says Giraldi. “I really want everyone in the organization to fully understand that the work we do allows our members to retire with dignity, knowing they will have an income for life.”
Continuous learning and development is another key to engaging employees, including through online tools like CAAT Academy, which gives people resources to help build their careers.
Being responsive to employees’ needs and desires remains critical, says Giraldi. A good example: CAAT’s recent adoption of a hybrid work model as the pandemic eases, so that employees can have a range of options for working both in-person and virtually.
Taken together, it seems to be working. CAAT’s latest annual survey showed employee engagement had increased from 76 per cent in 2019 to 88 per cent in 2022.
“This happened as our workforce grew rapidly in size and we navigated the pandemic,” says Giraldi. “That suggests our strong culture is alive and well.”