Our employees: Our driving force

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Committed to our stakeholders

Our employees: Our driving force

We offer our employees a healthy, stimulating and respectful workplace that supports their commitment to put their talents to work for our members and clients.

In 2012, Desjardins Group earned a number of nominations for the quality of our work environment:

  • One of Canada's Top 100 Employers (Mediacorp Canada Inc.)
  • One of Canada's Top Family-Friendly Employers (Mediacorp Canada Inc.)
  • One of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures (Waterston Human Capital)
  • One of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (Mediacorp Canada Inc.)
  • One of the Top Employers for Canadians Over 40 (Mediacorp Canada Inc.)

When you build a career with Desjardins, you:

  • have access to positions in a variety of interesting job fields throughout Quebec, in several Canadian provinces and even abroad
  • enjoy excellent benefits and competitive compensation
  • grow a workplace that encourages a healthy work-life balance
  • have access to professional development to develop job-related skills

Desjardins is looking for enthusiastic people who love a challenge and have exceptional team spirit. The possibilities are endless:

  • Nnearly 2,000 new employees earned a permanent position with Desjardins.
  • Nearly 7,000 existing managers and employees have changed jobs, illustrating the many career opportunities Desjardins Group has to offer.
Pay equity policy

Our pay practices are equitable, competitive and motivating. We apply the "equal pay for equal work" principle.

  • Desjardins practices pay equity as required by Quebec's Pay Equity Act. From the time they are hired, all employees, both men and women, holding equivalent positions fall into the same job level or class and the same salary scale.
  • Salaries subsequently change based on experience, skills and performance, as part of incentive and performance programs.
  • At Desjardins, the minimum salary of an employee in the lowest employment category is 1.3 times higher than the current minimum wage in Quebec1 and is the same across regions.

In 2012, we completed work to maintain pay equity under the Pay Equity Act and did the necessary follow-up to the letters of understanding respecting pay equity in our collective agreements.

  1. The minimum wage in Quebec was $9.90 on May 1, 2012.
Working conditions and competitive programs

Desjardins offers all regular, full- and part-time employees the following:

  • Life insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Drug, dental and vision coverage
  • Favourable working conditions when life events occur (e.g., maternity, paternity and adoption leave)
  • Various measures to promote well-being:
    • Reimbursement of physical activity fees
    • Annual initiatives to foster healthy lifestyle habits
    • Flu vaccines
  • Measures to facilitate work-life balance:
    • Flexible work arrangements (compressed work week, telework, etc.)
    • Various forms of leave, such as staggered compensation, which makes it possible to carry out longer term projects
  • A personalized health platform with web and phone service to meet individual health needs
  • Access to group RRSPs with a wide range of investment solutions and reduced fees
  • A defined benefit pension plan under which plan members and Desjardins Group respectively share the risks at a ratio of 35% to 65%

Part-time employees enjoy most of these benefits in proportion to the time they work.

Employee notice

When major changes are made to the organizational structure, Desjardins Group recommends its employers inform affected employees within a reasonable time frame:

  • 1 month minimum
  • 3 months maximum
The right of association

In Canada, the right of association is set out in various labour laws with which Desjardins complies. Across Desjardins Group, the following percentage of employees is covered by a collective agreement:

  • 21.6%, or
  • 27.5%, if we take into account only the caisse network, which also includes the Desjardins Business Centres and administrative centres

Before taking any action or implementing any initiative, we consider the legal context in our plans. We therefore treat the rights of association and negotiated working conditions with the utmost respect, abiding by established rules.

Total number and distribution of employees

Managing diversity in human resources is a key issue for Desjardins Group since it is a way to:

  • respond to the current and future needs of our members and clients
  • ensure our members and clients can identify with a financial institution that is representative of their community
Distribution of employees 2012 2011 2010
By sector
Business sectors and Desjardins Group support functions 21,454 20,206 17,556
Caisse network 23,488 24,439 25,085
By province
Quebec 40,373 40,433 39,757
Ontario 2,639 2,521 2,684
Other provinces 1,840 1,610 139
Outside Canada 90 81 61
By status2
Regular 89.4% 89.2% 89.1%
Temporary 10.6% 10.8% 10.9%
By job category2
Senior management 1.2% 1.2% 1.2%
Management (excludes senior management) 7.2% 7.1% 7.0%
Non-management 91.6% 91.7% 91.8%
Total number of employees 44,942 44,645 42,641

Senior management team members— the Chair of the Board, President and CEO as well as senior vice-presidents—are appointed from the various regions where Desjardins operates.

  1. Approximately 5% of employees—primarily from Western Financial Group Inc.—are missing from this data set.
Building employee loyalty

Our employees appreciate what has been done to give them a high-energy, inspiring workplace, as demonstrated by the following data:

Loyalty rate – regular managers and employees3 2012 2011 2010
Total employees loyal to Desjardins 95.7% 95.1% 94.9%
Manager and employee promotion rate 7.0% 6.1% 6.5%
  1. Average number of regular employees during the period minus the number of regular employee resignations over the previous 12 months, divided by the average number of regular employees during the period, or 100% minus the rate of regular employee resignations. Approximately 5% of employees are missing from this data set, primarily from Western Financial Group Inc.

Our commitment to diversity is reflected in our policies, especially our staffing policy, which states that applicants must be selected on the basis of their skills and knowledge. We evaluate skills and behaviours based on:

  • rigorous selection tests
  • criteria that do not discriminate with regard to gender, age or culture

According to the latest diversity survey at Desjardins Group in 2008–2009, the representation rate of cultural communities among employees was 5.07%. On December 31, 2012, the rate was 9.6% in the Greater Montreal area, according to updated caisse network data.

Representation of cultural communities 2012 2011 2010
Caisse network in Greater Montreal 9.6% 9.9% 9.5%

To enrich our human capital, we therefore focus on:

  • young people
  • an increased presence of women in decision-making positions
  • increased representation of cultural, aboriginal and English-speaking communities
Representation of employees by age4 2012 2011 2010
Under 30 16.3% 16.7% 16.9%
30 to 45 38.5% 35.3% 35.2%
Over 45 45.2% 48.0% 47.9%
  1. Approximately 5% of employees— primarily from Western Financial Group Inc—are missing from this data set. Data includes managers.
Women at Desjardins

In 2006, Desjardins created a committee on gender equity, tasked with the following objectives:

  • Foster the promotion of women to senior management positions
  • Increase the representation of women in senior management positions
  • Consolidate Desjardins's reputation as a major player in the recruitment, retention, development and advancement of women in management positions
  • Work with the next generation across all management levels and at the Board of Directors level to prepare future women executives
Representation of women 2012 2011 2010
Senior management 23.1% 22.3% 20.7%
Management 58.6% 57.2% 58.3%
Non-management 75.9% 76.7% 77.7%

According to a survey conducted in 2012, 85% of employees believe men and women have an equal opportunity for career advancement at Desjardins Group.

Desjardins is also a member of the following organizations:

  • Catalyst
  • Canadian Board Diversity Council (CBDC)
  • Table des partenaires influents (influential partner roundtable), whose mission is to encourage Quebec companies to increase the number of women on their boards of directors

Every year, Desjardins makes a significant investment in employee health and well-being. In 2012, approximately $6 million was spent on illness prevention and health promotion programs and initiatives.

Some representative initiatives are as follows:

  • Employees on disability leave benefit from a personalized support program, the result of a partnership involving the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, Desjardins Financial Security and various rehabilitation companies.
  • Desjardins Group employees and retirees can find answers to their health questions as well as information about preventing and treating illnesses on the Health is Cool 360° website.

The short- and long-term financial security of our employees and their families is a key concern at Desjardins Group. This value is reflected in the various types of coverage available under Desjardins Group's insurance plan for employees and retirees:

  • Our group insurance plan sets itself apart with a lump sum critical illness benefit that helps insured individuals suffering from covered illnesses handle expenses incurred due to their condition.
  • Employees on long-term disability leave are eligible for an automatic indexation of their disability insurance benefits and a waiver of premiums and Desjardins Group Pension Plan contributions.
  • A health spending account provides an annual amount that employees can use as they see fit for healthcare not included in their health coverage.

We organize many activities to encourage healthy lifestyle habits. In 2012:

  • 20% of employees participated in the flu shot campaign
  • 31.4% of employees took advantage of the physical activity fees reimbursement program
  • 25% of managers received a complete medical checkup at specialized companies
  • 11,112 individuals (employees, officers and members of their families) participated in the 5/30 Health and Wellness Challenge

Occupational health and safety

Under the Act respecting occupational health and safety, Desjardins is not required to form joint health and safety committees. However, it is committed to following occupational health and safety best practices:

  • Desjardins Group offers a variety of support measures for employees who have experienced a traumatic event, regardless of whether it is related to the nature of their work. Compensation mechanisms for people needing time off work following this kind of event are set out in labour conditions.
  • Employees also have access to an assistance program for victims of violent acts (e.g., robbery, death threats and hostage taking) occurring within the context of their job.

Health promotion

Our goal with respect to health is to take leadership through a preventive and proactive approach that meets:

  • our business challenges
  • our employees' needs

By promoting the adoption and maintenance of healthy lifestyle habits, we help take some pressure off the healthcare system, and all of society benefits in the end.

Our health philosophy and practices have a direct impact on the following indicators:

Occupational health and safety5 2012 2011 2010
Incidence rate – short-term disability insurance6 10.3% 10.4% 10.2%
Average duration of absences longer than 10 days (in days) 79.2 76.0 76.3
Deaths attributable to work-related injuries or illnesses 0 0 0
  1. This data does not show regional disparities since they have no impact on the organization.
  2. Number of short-term disability claimants divided by the number of individuals covered by disability insurance.

Quebec's Act to promote workforce skills development and recognition, also called the "1% Law," encourages businesses to invest at least 1% of their payroll in staff training.

In 2012, through the Desjardins Cooperative Institute—Desjardins Group's corporate university—we invested $62.7 million, or 2.46% of our payroll, in employee training and development activities.

Professional development programs

Desjardins provides its officers, managers and employees with a continuous learning environment where they are offered:

  • ongoing training based on their changing needs
  • traditional and online employment training programs
  • language training
  • interactive professional development activities
  • collaborative tools (social media, blogs, discussion forums, team websites, etc.)
  • financial support and leave for staff who want to pursue career-related studies
Study at recognized institutions

Employees who wish to study at recognized educational institutions can take advantage of a series of measures to ensure their success, including:

  • work schedule accommodation
  • 100% paid training when training is a job requirement and 50% paid training when training is necessary for the development of persons identified as succession candidates
  • reimbursement of registration fees upon successful completion of courses and reimbursement of required books and documents
  • monetary recognition for additional education
  • unpaid leave for up to 12 months to enable employees to complete their study program
Career development

Management and thinking tools support managers and employees in their career development process. Regular meetings are als held between employees and managers.

In June 2012, 62% of employees indicated that they had had a meeting about their career with their manager in the previous 12 months.

We also have a senior management development and succession program. In 2012, over 710 managers were registered for the program.

Preparing the new generation and future retirees

With the caisses' support, Desjardins offers paid internship programs to college and university graduates. These programs are an opportunity for interns to acquire knowledge and skills related to the financial sector.

In 2012, Desjardins accepted 274 interns into its internship program. Whether in the caisse network, business sectors or support functions, qualified interns received further training and gained experience under this program, in addition to helping work teams carry out their assignments.

Employees age 50 and over who participate in the Desjardins Group Pension Plan, as well as their spouses, can take part in an intensive retirement preparation session. In 2012, 1,048 participants signed up for these sessions.

Focusing on performance

Performance is crucial to our organization's growth. At Desjardins, performance management practices are significant tools for employee development and motivation, which is why managers hold regular meetings with their employees to discuss performance.

These meetings provide an opportunity for managers and employees to:

  • talk about desired behaviour and attitudes
  • create conditions that foster success in employees' roles and careers
  • discuss sector issues and priorities

In June 2012, 95% of employees indicated that they had had a formal meeting with their manager in the previous 12 months.

Coaching and mentoring

In addition to the training program that has been designed for them, caisse network managers have access to coaching support to help them integrate into their roles and continue developing skills.

Cooperation and social responsibility training

Since 2011, our employees have been able to sign up for the Desjardins online training module on cooperation and social responsibility, entitled Desjardins: Sustainable prosperity through cooperation. In addition to familiarizing employees with Desjardins Group's mission and values, the training demonstrates how our cooperative difference and social responsibility are put into action every day.

The training fosters a better understanding of:

  • the various cooperative business models
  • their strengths in connection with social responsibility
  • Desjardins's role in the cooperative world

Number of employees who completed parts 1 and 2 of the Desjardins: Sustainable prosperity through cooperation training

Part 1 – Proud to Be Part of a Distinctive Organization!: Over 18,000 employees

Part 2 – Cooperation in action!: Nearly 17,000 employees

The Desjardins Cooperative Institute
Desjardins Cooperative Institute training offices are equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the most effective transfer of knowledge.

The Desjardins Cooperative Institute (DCI)—Desjardins Group's corporate university—is dedicated to the development of Desjardins officers, managers and employees.

The DCI offers programs focusing on Desjardins Group's priority issues and needs. It is therefore not only the nerve centre for the training and development of people, but also the premier centre for transmitting knowledge on cooperation and education.

Through the DCI, Desjardins provides its officers, managers and employees with a continuous learning environment where they are offered:

  • ongoing training based on their changing needs
  • job-specific training programs
  • language training
  • e-learning activities
  • collaborative tools

In 2012 the DCI launched an initiative together with Conseil québécois de la coopération et de la mutualité that focuses on hands-on teaching of the cooperative model at universities. And, for the first time, the DCI welcomed executives from other cooperatives to its programs.