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Human Resources
MHR 523
Elizabeth Carlson

The core component of any business is its human resources, and the success of that business is determined by how effectively its human resources are managed. The purpose of this project is to understand and analyze a critical Human Resources function at two financial institutions, then to match the results against the most commonly used processes in the industry and report on areas where improvement is needed. We will look at how TD Canada Trust and Mackenzie financial approach the hiring process and how well they manage diversity in their workforce.After comparing their practices to industry best practices, we will then make recommendations based on the research and what we understand to be the best procedures for each institution. We hope to gain a better understanding of the tactics and procedures used by different companies to hire the best employees, and the different tools used when attempting to manage diversity to accommodate employees who come from all over the world. Mackenzie Financial was founded in 1967 as a management firm to provide investment advice and other related services. Guidance is given through the aid of mutual funds, pooled funds, segregated accounts and separate accounts for retail and institutional investors. This packaged investment advice is distributed in part by FinancialAdvisors from different companies. The brand of Mackenzie Financial has grown over the past 45 years; founding the Mackenzie Charitable Foundation and other contributions to the community. To be among the best companies requires one to hire the best employees. Mackenzie’s Client Services Department received a ranking of 1 quartile out of 12 Top companies within the Financial Industry so this fact is obviously a priority (Environics Ranking). We will examine how Mackenzie brings this to the forefront by analyzing this department with particular focus an entry-level position as a Customer Service Representative. Through the interview of Christina Gellos, Mackenzie Financial Human Resources Consultant, our group learned about recruitment policies, best hiring practices and how a diverse workforce was maintained in a society as varied as Canada. “Banking can be this comfortable” has been the motto for the TD Financial Group (TDX) since its restructuring in 2001. After over one hundred years of service, Toronto Dominion Bank merged with Canada Trust in 2001 in an effort to expand the cliental of each individual party and create a vast number of employment opportunities. Since the merger, new branches have been built and over 50 different language services are provided to customers worldwide. In the current economic crisis TD’s three focus points remain constant: to earn clients and exceed their expectations; to hire the best and brightest employees that will benefit the company and all the while stay true to corporate values and responsibilities. Customer loyalty is the main goal at TD: longer banking hours are provided, lower account fees, a website in French, English and most SouthAsian languages and as a result, about 80% of business customers also hold personal accounts. J.D Power andAssociates also ranked it #1 in customer service for a record breaking seven years in a row. TD’s hiring process consists of three stages of elimination; the online application, the phone interview, and the final stage is the face-to-face interview.As thousands of applications are filled out online daily, this process helps to hasten the search for candidates. It is also consistently listed as one of “Canada’s top 100 employers” list ( Employee benefits include health and dental coverage programs, some of which cover 90% or more of basic and cosmetic dental and prescription plans; low interest rates on home and auto insurance, credit cards, and waived banking fees. The Toronto Dominion bank also provides its employees with mentoring programs and networking events to assist in the development of their careers within the organization. TD believes that strong communities build strong people, and as a result TD donated $66.2 million to support not-for-profit groups that aid families in need across NorthAmerica and the U.K( They encourage employees to volunteer in events in their community, such as the CN Tower Climb, where all proceeds raised went to Sick Kids Hospital or even the PRIDE Parade. Along with the numerous fundraisers TD Canada Trust holds, the financial group also runs a charity call TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, which helps bring awareness to endangered wildlife across Canada. The FEF always has a corresponding contest those encourages young students to enter art projects. If their piece is chosen a cash prize is awarded to the school as well as the student gets to have their artwork displayed on reusable grocery bags. The TD Financial Group had come from humble beginnings. With the merger of two dying corporations had come forth a financial institution that has gained global recognition for their contributions to society, their stance and role on maintaining a well-educated and diverse workforce, along with providing the means to help employees that come from all walks of life to succeed, and creating a standard that defines a strong business relationship etiquette that TD has with their clients. For thisAssignment, My colleagues and I had the privilege of sitting down with Ms.Amber D’Aguiar, The head Counselor of the Human Resources Department for the North York Region at TD. TD and Mackenzie Financial both strive to find the best fit for a job opening regardless of whether the candidate is an existing employee or not. All opportunities are posted internally - to allow for current employees to apply, and to the public. Both companies will use websites like Workopolis, CP3, and official university sites to advertise positions. Both interviews with TD and Mackenzie Financial inquired on the hiring of a Customer Service Representative, at an entry-level position. It was found that each company first analyses the job description and requirements of the open position. Some similar specifications are service or sales related experience, the ability to work independently yet is a team player, ownership of work, and accountability. Additionally, both companies employ proficiency tests to assess the best candidate for the role. Among other things, exams can measure language, computer, or even customer service skills. In an age where resume falsification is common, TD and Mackenzie Financial have a screening process to validate an application before a candidate is interviewed. Partially due to the time cost, both companies generally employ a 3 party company to do the reference checks for them. TD and Mackenzie Financial both strive to find the best fit for a job opening regardless of whether the candidate is an existing employee or not. All opportunities are posted internally - to allow for current employees to apply, and to the public. Both companies will use websites like Workopolis, CP3, and official university sites to advertise positions. September seems to be the time of year when financial institutions like TD and Mackenzie do a great deal of hiring (Monster, 2012). This is especially true for TD as many Customer Service Representatives either reduces work hours, or leave entirely to return to school. Many new candidates are interviewed for entry-level jobs like Customer Service Representative (CSR) and existing employees are considered for promotions or transfers. External hiring in large numbers can be costly when the associated costs are tallied so TD tends to first look inside for promotable candidates (HRMA, 2012). It should be noted however, that entry-level jobs such as a Customer Service Representative (CSR) are externally hired. The same is true for Mackenzie and their quest to fill openings in the call centre.As this too is a starting position, public postings are created. Both organizations also hire from corporate schools that are connected to them through co-op programs at several Canadian universities. While not necessarily available in all departments within an organization, a popular tool for talent acquisition is the “co-op” program. This enables a university or college student to get on- the-job experience with a company in their field of study. The goal is to familiarize the student with the organization, its environment and culture while at the same time allowing the company to develop and train the individual for possible permanent employment later (go2hr, 2012). In the case of TD Canada Trust, opportunities would not be offered at branches but instead at TD Securities and TD Waterhouse; as positions at these locations are likely to be career-based jobs. Alternatively, Mackenzie Financial offers the program in their Management and Finance departments. According to the Family Firm Institute, family businesses create 78% of new jobs and 60% of the employment in the United States (p. 146 Business Management reference 23). It is of no surprise then that nepotism is and has always been a problem for companies around the world and that most companies have guidelines and policies in place to prevent this type of favoritism (ELL, 2008). TD and Mackenzie Financial include policies in their Code of Conduct, where they outline the terms and conditions of family members and friends employment. Generally, the most important rule for any company is that there is not a direct reporting relationship amongst the employees at hand, and usually they are not allowed to work in the same department (Lakshminarasimhan, 2011). The dilemma of filling a job opening with an existing employee or the public is always and issue for a corporation. When this decision is made, many different circumstances and factors should be considered, such as what type of job, what skills and experiences are required and the urgency to fill the position. Larger companies that are both stable and developed tend to have their own pool of qualified employees (Articlebase,2012). Worker retention is partially enabled as this ‘promotion promise’is used as a tool to keep employees committed to their work (Croteau, P. 2012). TD follows suit by starting with an internal search and postings to fill new vacancies. Every district has a trainee base where they continuously develop employees to give them the skills needed to take on new or higher-level roles. Promoting from within is less expensive than external hiring because it cuts down training costs and the time spent to train that person, and resignation is less likely as the employee already fits into the corporate culture and they have a good understanding of the institution’s objectives (HRMA, 2012). If a company finds that they are in shortage of good employees, or if they define a new vision or direction, they tend to look externally for recruits (Croteau, P. 2012). For entry-level positions, TD will begin by filling posts with external recruits, and for most of them it would be their starting point to move up. Mackenzie Financial Hires similarly for their call centers. For executive level positions, TD and Mackenzie may also consider hiring an external member, usually from another financial institution, who already has the skills and expertise to perform the job. This person also brings a wealth of new knowledge that may further the success of the company. Companies must balance their internal and external hiring as too much internal movement does not allow for new people to bring new skills and ideas, and too much external recruitment can be costly and ineffective (Articlebase,2012). On the topic of internal versus external recruiting, Mackenzie Financial uses some different processes than what others do in the industry because they are not as large in size, and therefore the same practices may not apply. When a job opportunity arises, they first assess the specific needs of the job in question. If it requires skills that most people would not have they may recruit a specific person within the firm to move to that position, otherwise they post the job internally for a week. If an employee does not apply within the week, they lose their opportunity for that job. TD and Mackenzie Financial take different approaches when it comes to hiring within or outside the company, each effective in their own way, and to a certain degree. TD must continue to keep their trainee bases up-to-date with the most relevant skills and knowledge so that their internal pool is useful, and to give them a good chance to grow within their career. Mackenzie Financial should consider maintaining a balance of internal and external hiring to ensure they continue to bring new talent and fresh ideas to the firm rather than stunt its growth. When faced with the question of the importance of experience over a degree, both TD and Mackenzie believe that it depends on the job requirements. Positions such as an HR manager or a director of marketing require precise certifications with a coherent degree. In contrast, clerical aids (HR assistant and Marketing assistant) do not require a degree; instead a level of experience in related applications. Ahigher level of education is an asset but if it is not listed as a requirement, it will not necessarily win the position. Investopedia defines the term “employee poaching” as an action that takes place when a company hires a candidate from one of their competitors (Retention definition, Financial business institutions prevent poaching with regulations to promote fair competition. These policies are listed under the company’s code of ethics and specify under what conditions a person formerly employed by a competitor can be hired. For Mackenzie and TD, there is a grace period of at least six months where the individual is ‘un-touchable.’Instead of looking within a competitor’s employee roster, companies look for new employees in places like job fairs. TD holds conferences at corporate schools such as the University of Toronto, Western, and Queens to attract employees to fill summer positions at head office. Mackenzie follows the same suit by holding these same functions every few years. Both companies do their own due diligence of non- solicitation by making their employees sign contracts upon hire. This contract binds the employee to uphold company standards by preventing the solicitation or enticement of any competitor to accept another employment or business opportunity. The rule also applies to students whom have other entitlement, such as co-op, with any other competitors. Both TD and Mackenzie prohibit poaching strictly based on the fact that they do not want company information shared. However for TD, movement between banks is allowed, as they have no policies restricting that set in place. Institutions can regulate certain policies while the Canadian Charter of Human Rights governs others. One aspect of the Canadian Charter of Human Rights is the right to employment equity. In accordance to the Employment EquityAct S.C. 1995, c. 44 The act signifies the right to;Achieve equality in the workplace so that no one is denied employment opportunities or benefits for any reasons that is unrelated to the ability, and in the fulfillment of that goal, to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities by giving effect to the principle that employment equity means more than treating persons in the same way but also requires special measures and the accommodation of differences. Under this employers with over 100 employees are required to set annual plans to “remove employment barriers and promote equality” within the corporation (Employment EquityAct S.C. 1995, c. 44). TD financial Group abides by this by offering courses on diversity to promote awareness in the workplace. In addition to quarterly exams, new hires are requested to sign an employment equity agreement form. Mackenzie Financial has a similar form upon which it is mandatory for employees to attend workshops based on employment equity. The Canadian Human Rights Commission encourages businesses to adopt ‘employment equity programs’(p. 163 of textbook) to align with the Employment EquityAct. Among other things, these programs are designed to help employers to analyze their workforce for underutilization or concentration. Both of the Human Resources representatives we interviewed mentioned that they had initiated at least some type of program to scan their workforce. Mackenzie employs the use of statistics on the ratio of female to male workers and TD uses employment equity surveys to routinely collect and keep up-to-date on the status of their own workforce. The rapid change in Canada’s demographic has caused all organizations to make at least some changes to their hiring practices. Mackenzie updates procedures as government legislation requires them to. They also see bilinguals, those who speak English as well as French, and tri- linguals, English, Cantonese, and Mandarin as great assets. As TD has hundreds of branches across Canada, managers analyse the local demographic and try their best to support these communities; whether it be Mandarin or Cantonese-speaking locations, celebration of religious events or the installation of all-access areas. Both institutions have set up programs in an effort to accommodate potential and existing employees. In accordance with the ‘duty to accommodate,’each company will allow employees to take leave for religious holidays and have even set up separate areas to pray. TD makes a their locations wheelchair accessible for both entrance and banking needs and Mackenzie trains all employees to comply withAODA,Accessibility for Ontarian with Disabilities Act and has separate evacuation procedures for those with disabilities. ‘Human resources’has become a major issue in today’s economy and most companies will focus in some way on internal employee development. Career opportunities within TD as well as Mackenzie are posted internally to allow employees to apply for advancement. Each also has an online space dedicated to internal career progression. On these sites, employees can see various career paths and managers, looking to fill a position can see those who have the current skills to potentially fit the job description. When our group interviewed both HR representatives it was mentioned that a great number of executives within the organization began at entry-level positions. Akey difference between TD and Mackenzie Financial is that TD has many branches across all communities in Canada whereas Mackenzie only has one in downtown Toronto. As TD prides itself as being a part of the community, they value employees that do as well. It is in the job description and specification that a candidate should hold volunteer experience. While Mackenzie may see this background as an asset, it is not some
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