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Interview

Diversity is more than race and gender, so we’re running a disability confidence course for all recruiters in the business to ensure they are better able to coach both potential employees and management during the recruitment process.

Introduce yourself and tell us about your organisation  

I’ve been Vice President of HR at CGI UK for the past eleven months, and during that time have been lucky enough to work on some incredibly exciting projects. The organisation is made up of over 5,500 employees who serve clients across commercial and government sectors. We employee some amazing, highly specialist and exceptionally bright individuals who work on complex and sophisticated client facing programmes. We’re always looking to create a more inclusive environment in which to develop our employees’ sense of belonging and engagement.

What do you think defines an organisation as a top employer today?  

Inclusivity! We work very hard at CGI to create an inclusive environment where everyone is considered to be a valued member of the team and can work in a space where their voices can be heard, and experiences shared. We operate a series of employee engagement tools that enable our members to share their feedback and suggestions and to let us know how they are feeling.  I’m very aware that our business, like most others, is multi-generational. As such, we work hard to communicate clearly across levels and in ways that will appeal to all. . To thrive, businesses need to make sure employees are engaged and we implemented a multi-channel approach. This allows us to reach all colleagues through their preferred methods like snapshot videos and downloadable podcasts, along with more traditional all-employee calls and online communications.

Tell us about a recent initiative that you have instigated within your organisation that you are most proud of?  

That’s a tough one. In my opinion personal achievements aren’t as important as team achievements. The HR team are an exceptional bunch of individuals who work in close  partnership with the business proactively responding to both commercial and members needs. We try to foster the importance of team achievements across the business through our employee share purchase plan. . The share plan has been a facet of our global benefits package since we were founded 42 years ago. By June 2019, over 93% had joined the scheme. As a result, we like to call our employees members, as it better identifies them as critical stakeholders in the business and shows we’re as invested in them as they are with us.

What is the next objective in your organisation's journey to keep improving the employee experience?  

A significant objective for us at CGI is the continuation of our quarterly member satisfaction survey, internally known as MSAP . It consists of two parts, a one-to-one hour-long meeting between member and manager is followed up with an anonymous online survey.  In 2019’s second quarter, 90% of those asked to participate in the survey said they valued the face-to-face meeting. The reason this is such a big focus for the organisation links back to what I was saying about communication. A big part of effective communication is listening to members; after all, it’s hardly a dialogue if we’re the only ones talking. This process allows us to obtain more in-depth feedback and learn what we’re doing well and what we could do better. It enables us to listen and engage with our members in a way we haven’t before. 

What is the biggest challenge facing your organisation today and how are you planning to overcome it?  

IT is a very hot market, and people have a lot of choice regarding employment. As such, we work hard to create a competitive compensation  package which offers  a great incentive to stay with CGI. Our flexible benefits ensures the package  we offer is relevant and suitable to our members no matter their lifestyle. The 24 benefits we provide are split across five categories – pension, ownership, finance, health and lifestyle. We are currently in the process of introducing two new exciting benefits which were suggested by our members in a recent benefits survey.  Keeping close to what our members want and being proactive and responsive is key.

How will your organisation have to adapt to meet the changing future workplace?  

The future workplace will be and should be a diverse one. We’ve invested considerable resource into practical initiatives to help get us there faster but also to make sure we’re ready for it. For instance, CGI provides unconscious bias training for management and we are employing technology to ensure the language we use in job specifications is gender-neutral. Creating a diverse workforce requires a considered approach which our HR team, supported by the wider business, understand and deliver on an ongoing basis.

Diversity is more than race and gender, so we’re running a disability confidence course for all recruiters in the business to ensure they are better able to coach both potential employees and management during the recruitment process. More recently, we hosted a webinar on the importance of diversity in the workplace, recognising when members are facing barriers which make work, and sometimes daily living, a struggle.

Our members are the heart of our organisation and we need to ensure we look after them.

 

This interviewee was kindly introduced to us by ‘Top Employers Institute – the global authority on certifying excellence in employee conditions.’ Their organisation is certified as a Top Employer.

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