HRDTV - Best Places to Work 2023 - Fidelity Investments

Diana Godfrey, Senior Vice President, Human Resources at Fidelity Canada, on what makes their culture so 'one of a kind'

HRDTV sits down with Diana Godfrey to discuss their culture of listening, client-led success and navigating the choppy waters of COVID.

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Stephanie Falcons  09:44:16 

Hello, my name is Stephanie Falcons. With us on this special episode of HRDTV is Diana Godfrey, senior vice president human resources and corporate affairs at Fidelity Canada who have recently been crowned one of the best places to work by HRD, to start things off, having been named one of the best places to work, what do you believe makes a standout place to work? 


Diana Godfrey  09:44:41 

You know, there, there are so many things to be honest. And I think for us, it's our people in our culture. And really, our people are responsible for the culture. So we're right back to it, the people. And I think it's the experiences they have at work. And it's the experiences that they bring to work. And it's the effort that they make. And I think the reality is, it changes the way people behave, you know, we have what we see to be a culture of listening, which empowers an employee to speak up. And somebody very wise said to me years ago in my career, and it was good advice for me, listening isn't waiting for your turn to speak. And so when you use that as the backdrop to all your conversations, it puts a different perspective on what somebody's saying, and you actually take the time to listen to them and hear what they say. I think we demonstrate our commitment to listening through, you know, our voice of the employee program, which you know, is an employee recommendation program or suggestion program, if you will. We do surveys. Upon survey, sometimes it seems like it's too many surveys. But I think in the absence of doing the surveys, we don't necessarily give people the same opportunity. So we do wellness surveys, we do engagement surveys. This year, for the first time, we did a Mind Manager survey. And it was one where the employees were providing feedback to their managers in a environment that was very safe. And it wasn't shared with the more senior managers in the groups. So it allowed an employee and a manager to have very, you know, direct feedback, and conversations perhaps if somebody so chose, it's so chooses. And I think those things create an environment where it becomes safe to speak up. And I think we have training programs that encourage learning and development and a commitment to our employees. And I think that in and of itself creates an environment where your culture continues to improve because opportunities about and so a lot of different things listening, training, development commitment to a workplace, that's exceptional, I think really makes it happen. 


Stephanie Falcons  09:47:35 

Thanks, Diana. Excellent. And what's your proudest achievement at Fidelity over the past year? 


Diana Godfrey  09:47:42 

From a people perspective, I'm assuming you mean and so, you know, the last year has been a real evolution for us, we've just come out of, you know, arguably come out of COVID. We, organizationally prospered during that time. I don't know that that's really the right word. But our employees prospered in that we continued to grow organizationally, and our workforce continued to adapt and grow. And I think that's really made a difference for us. We stayed committed to development, we stayed committed to putting our employees and our clients first. You know, we went home at the beginning of COVID. On a Friday, say, or on a Thursday night saying we're going to test working from home on Friday, and called everybody but for a handful of employees and said don't come back. We need to work from home thinking it would be weeks or months and of course it was years. I think the unintended positive consequence of COVID because that's how I choose to look at it is that we came to understand that we could be a flexible work organization that we could give employees more flexibility and still be a six cessful organization that put its clients first. And that's what I meant when I was saying prosper. And so coming out of COVID, we now participate in a program called dynamic working, we're part of a larger fidelity organization, we all call it dynamic working. And it's a little bit different in every country. But what it's allowed us to do is create flexibility for employees in a hybrid work environment. And that is the unintended positive consequence. So I think that's a piece that makes me proud is that we took what could have been very negative, and turned it into a really positive long term experience. 


Stephanie Falcons  09:49:55 

Turning a negative into a positive. Awesome. Thanks for sharing that, Diana. And could you please share with us what initiatives have you been working on over the past 12 months. 


Diana Godfrey  09:50:06 

We're very proud of the new series of videos that we've produced the share, they're called Money Gains, and our money gains video series is about advancing financial literacy and young people, and specifically aimed at high school students. And that's a very different area of expertise for us. We've produced these videos, not only in English, but also in French, so that we ensure that we're meeting the needs of the French speaking public in Canada as well. And this is something that isn't about fidelity. It's really about filling a void in financial literacy and in education. And our hope is that through these videos, we reach young people and help them understand the importance of investing, compounding interest, etc. We have a new series of videos that we're working on this year, and we hope to have 10 More out. But what's really exciting about them is the opportunity that it's provided for employees as well, because the talent are our young people. And so it's young people talking to young people about financial literacy and explaining concepts in ways that are easily relatable. And we're thrilled to be embarking on this endeavor. And we're just starting to partner with some of the organizations, the high school organizations and disk high school districts now, and getting the videos into the classroom. So it's not just on our website, it's not just on YouTube, but it's now starting to find its way into the classrooms. 


Stephanie Falcons  09:51:43 

Many games sounds awesome. COVID has changed how we work massively. How has it impacted the way you work over at fidelity? 


Diana Godfrey  09:51:53 

Oh, it's been too. You know, we talked about dynamic working already and the hybrid work environment that we have. But it's new to us, you know, we're coming out of COVID. Now there are, you know, more people in the office. And so we're having to find ways to make our interaction special when we're in. The last thing we want is everybody coming into the office to do exactly what they do at home sitting on a zoom camera. So that means we need new space, we need more collaboration space, we need to create environments that encourage collaboration, celebrations, interactions, and so our space looks different. And the things that we do in the office look different to everything from having a barista, where people are chatting in line waiting for their coffee, to a library if you want some quiet time, to recreational activities, but spaces where people can sit and work together. And technology in meeting rooms that enable people to be in the office and at home, and feel like they're participating in a meeting together. So we're trying to find reasons to celebrate as well. So by doing that, we bring more people into the office for an experience that they can't have at home. So it's all about creating experiences. But the underpinning and all of it is ensuring that our client's needs are met. So it's it's a challenge, but it's a challenge we're happy to take on. And it's a challenge that seems to be working, but we're really going to continue to tweak the program to make sure we're getting the most out of it for everybody. 


Stephanie Falcons  09:53:38 

And finally, as if you don't sound busy enough, what plans do you have for your people in 2023? 


Diana Godfrey  09:53:44 

Well, that's interesting. We have a lot of different things going on in 2023. We're continuing to work on our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. You know, it's well and good to have a diversity policy or program but if it's not put into play, it really doesn't matter. So we continue to work with our employees to understand dammed how they see themselves and create an environment where they can bring their, their whole selves to work, if you will. We're focusing on wellness and mental health, coming through COVID. I think there's a new and newer understanding or a better understanding of the impact of mental health on our employees, not only at work, but at home too. We put some programs in place and COVID to help them we've kept those programs in place. But we're continuing those conversations so that there's no stigma attached to mental health, you know, if you have a cold, nobody thinks twice. If you're challenged any other way. You know, we need people to say it's something that can be addressed as well. So we're putting those programs into play. I think just creating an environment of collaboration is something that you know, will continue to be important. partnered with our employee resource groups, we can do all of those things, we can improve our diversity initiatives, we can help with mental health awareness, we can create environments that encourage collaboration with groups that don't traditionally work together. And our ERGs or employee resource groups are really part of the underpinning of our culture that I talked about earlier. So all of those things help. We've expanded our peer to peer networking. This year, and we want to do more. So we have a manager peer network, we have a director peer network, we've introduced a new group called vibe check. And that's our Gen Z community. They're new, you know, they're new to the workforce, and they joined the workforce at a time that was very challenging. We need to find a way for them to feel part of the organization. So a pure networking group is a great way to do that. So we want to focus on all of these things. We want to focus on the employee experience. We want to focus on doing the right things, and having conversations about them. So I think you know, this year holds lots of promise and lots of opportunity for ongoing change, and I'm just really excited about it. 


Stephanie Falcons  09:56:38 

Diana, you have been awesome. Thank you so much for sharing with us. 


Diana Godfrey  09:56:42 

I really appreciated the opportunity to share our story. 


Stephanie Falcons  09:56:46 

You are very welcome. And thank you for watching HRDTV