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Dec 23, 2020

Not just another employer

Often a job is viewed as a means to an end; a way to provide for and support oneself or a family. And truthfully, this is enough for many. But it’s not the only way to work.

Sandip Nijjar, Senior Cash Management Officer at Canadian Western Bank (CWB), describes her career with ease: “As the bank grew, I also grew.”

For years, CWB has worked hard to foster a culture that allows employees to thrive. And it’s this mindset that keeps #TeamTeal members like Sandip encouraged and engaged. What started as a part-time cashier job to help get her foot in the door of the financial world has turned into a 14-year career path to success.

“After three months of working full-time I not only passed probation, but I was also offered a promotion,” she recalls. “At the time, a leader took a chance on me and thought I was a good candidate. I felt and still feel challenged and eager to learn now.”

Always growing together 

This growth mindset is intrinsic to CWB as an organization overall. Patrick Remo, an Organizational Change Management Advisor at CWB, also appreciates how the bank is constantly striving to improve and grow.

“I need to have that in an environment,” he says. “I need a place where I can fail and make mistakes because being creative and innovative comes with being vulnerable and understanding that it’s not always going to work, but you’re going to try anyways. The culture at CWB not only embraces but rewards that. You can try things that are new and learn from the experience.”

This mindset, in Patrick’s words, has been “transformative” for his career. 

Sandip has had a similar experience. “Even though I started on a junior level, the bank itself was still small and you could pick up the phone and speak to your clients,” she explains. “As the bank grew, I felt I was growing along with them. There was always a very cohesive environment and overall the bank has been great at putting its people first.”

Open transparency from the top down

There can be several small qualities embedded into the DNA of a company that fosters a culture that employees find refreshing and engaging. But what enables this to be a foundational tenet instead of a corporate songbook is the transparency, accessibility and vulnerability of the bank’s leadership.

“CWB is very real,” says Patrick. “There’s something about the honesty and candidness that everyone in the organization possesses that really helps move the needle on achieving the goals that we have as a company.” 

Sandip agrees. “I always felt like there was a very open door policy with leadership. No one is dismissive, and they really listen and take your suggestions into consideration,” she says.

One example of this in action is the Ask an Executive platform, which Patrick has managed in the past. “In previous companies where I’ve worked, there were tough questions that executives wouldn’t want to answer,” he recalls. “But here at CWB, the willingness to say we don’t know or we’ll work on this together — there’s something to say about that. Most companies try to be a perfect organization instead of acknowledging that there are areas we can grow in.”

This approachability encourages all of us to work together towards the same goal. As the company grows, so too does the ability and confidence of its employees.

Feeling supported and safe leads to great confidence

“I felt like my manager and colleagues were super supportive, and over the years I feel like I have developed the knowledge and confidence I have now,” says Sandip. “With great leadership I know that when challenges are thrown our way, they have my back. If you have a good foundation — like I feel like I was given — the confidence boost is huge.”

“I think the difference is that there’s a sense of psychological safety in working with my colleagues or executives knowing that it’s okay to have that learning moment, especially if you’re new to the job,” Patrick adds. “There’s that effort for people to get to know you and understand the diversity in thought you bring to the table. That doesn’t always happen in other organizations. This is the first company I’ve truly seen that come into play.”

There’s much to be said about working at CWB, but so much of what makes it a Great Place to Work has nothing to do with the nuts and bolts of any given working day. It’s the heart and passion that each and every team member brings with them to the job, and a culture that everyone contributes in cultivating as they grow together.