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Case study: How IGM promotes employee development

IGM Financial Inc. is a leading wealth and asset management company that supports financial advisors and the clients they serve in Canada and institutional investors across North America, Europe and Asia. IGM is committed to empowering its people to build their careers with confidence  Tweet This!, offering them vibrant development opportunities in an environment where people look out for each other, ask the best of each other, and deliver their finest work.

This case study is based on the 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report by IGM published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Learning opportunities for employees at IGM include formal training, feedback and coaching, along with on-the-job experience both for IGM’s own employees and for the financial advisors IGM works with. In order to promote employee development IGM took action to:

  • implement the Leading Performance programme
  • launch LEADing at IGM
  • introduce IG University

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report IGM identified a range of material issues, such as client experience, responsible investment, diversity and inclusion, community support, privacy and information security, environmental footprint. Among these, promoting employee development stands out as a key material issue for IGM.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups IGM engages with:

To identify and prioritise material topics IGM engaged with its stakeholders through the following channels:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement



·      Annual client and advisor surveys

·      Client service call centres

·      Advisory panels and focus groups

·      In person and virtual communications

Shareholders ·      Annual Meeting

·      Quarterly earnings calls

·      Five sell-side conferences, four road shows

·      Over 75 investor/analyst meetings, ad hoc communications

·      ESG Rating firm responses and discussions

·      Board engagement mechanism

Employees ·      Annual & ad-hoc surveys, focus groups

·      Employee forums, intranets

·      Performance & development discussions

·      Employee volunteer groups

Financial advisors


·      Surveys, meetings, focus groups

·      Client service teams & call centres

·      Conferences, training, webinars

·      Online collaboration platforms

Industry partners




·      Memberships on regulatory committees and industry bodies

·      Participation on regulatory roundtables, public submissions, industry working groups and technical committees

·      Meetings, conferences and events




·      Community partnership meetings, events

·      Financial confidence workshops

·      Focus groups, sustainability networks

What actions were taken by IGM to promote employee development?

In its 2019 Corporate Responsibility Report IGM reports that it took the following actions for promoting employee development:

  • Implementing the Leading Performance programme
  • Through an IGM programme called Leading Performance: Building Careers, IGM is enhancing its approach to developing people and fostering high levels of performance. The programme focuses on setting clear expectations on behaviours and performance objectives, providing ongoing coaching and feedback, and implementing personal development plans for all employees. Employees’ annual objectives are aligned with company strategy, and leaders are required to hold quarterly meetings to review progress. 2019 Performance management highlights included:
    • Adding a people-centric objective to leaders’ annual performance plans. Weighted at 25%, the objective holds leaders accountable for communicating strategic priorities and implementing a robust performance review process that includes establishing development plans, setting high-quality objectives and assessing leadership behaviours.
    • Creating a new framework that aligns jobs across IG Wealth Management and Mackenzie Investments, giving employees better insight into opportunities for growth and development, supporting career path mobility across IGM companies, and improving understanding of how jobs contribute to the business.
  • Launching LEADing at IGM
  • Launched in 2011, LEADing at IGM (LEAD) is IGM’s hallmark programme for high-potential leaders, which features experience-based development through work on real projects. It was designed to develop IGM’s top talent into top leaders with a high capacity for productivity, collaboration and creativity. Initially a Mackenzie Investments’ programme, the programme was expanded in 2019 to include IG Wealth Management. In December 2019, 15 individuals graduated from the eighth cohort, for a total of 131 graduates since the programme began.
  • Introducing IG University
  • IG University is IG Wealth Management’s enhanced learning institute for advisors. Programming is anchored to the core pillars of financial planning, practice management, professional responsibility, products and leadership development, and segmented from a fundamental to expert level. Programmes, training and resources include more than 1,900 hours of continuing education accredited content. Many programmes are delivered in partnership with leading business schools. Within the first year of IG University, 53,788 courses were completed by IG Wealth Management Consultants. Additionally, Mackenzie Investments has a dedicated practice management team that works with advisors to support them in managing and growing their business. The team offers advisors workshops, keynotes, tools and resources on topics such as leadership, marketing, branding, technology, process and self-management. In 2019, the practice management team delivered more than 230 presentations nationally.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs

2) Disclosure 404-3 Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews


Disclosure 404-2 Programs for upgrading employee skills and transition assistance programs corresponds to:

Disclosure 404-3 Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews corresponds to:


80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.

FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP



1) This case study is based on published information by IGM, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:


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