Our workplaces were dramatically transformed over the past year. When the Province first enacted public health measures in March of 2020, many Albertans, including ATB team members, quickly transitioned to working from home and many of us wondered how we could possibly continue to collaborate and work effectively in this new reality. We soon discovered that, while COVID-19 had changed the workplace, it hadn’t changed our commitment to our clients or to each other. Although it was not always possible to work face to face, we were still connected. Our leadership team made it a priority to stay in touch through initiatives like “Daily Download” emails and “Fridays in 30” livestream videos from our President and CEO, Curtis Stange. Team members found innovative ways to collaborate and support each other—championing initiatives relating to mental health, celebrating achievements, and participating in volunteer activities.
Our team members are a priority for us, which has led to ATB being named the third-best place to work in Canada by Great Place to Work®—the fifth time ATB has been recognized since 2016. ATB is the only financial institution to make the list’s top 10. We were proud to receive eight awards from Great Places to Work, including Best Workplaces for Giving Back and Best Workplaces for Women. That’s why creating supportive workplaces, even in the midst of a pandemic, is one of our key facets of corporate social responsibility.
In the early days of the pandemic, when Alberta first declared a public health emergency, our immediate focus was on the health and safety of our team members. Those who could work at home were supported in making the transition and we did our best to accommodate team members’ individual circumstances and concerns—particularly those who found themselves working at home with children who needed their attention and reassurance.
For our team members who needed to remain on the front lines in our branches, we created processes that would protect them while they continued meeting the needs of our clients. Processes and resources such as FAQs and internal team member “channels” were created to keep people informed and to answer the questions we all had.
Along with our physical safety, we needed to address our mental health. As an organization, we introduced a new employee and family assistance program and digital resiliency tools, and we added additional wellness days for our team members to disconnect and recharge.
We conducted a series of pulse-check surveys to assess the mental health and wellness of team members, their concerns about COVID-19, and their satisfaction with ATB’s workforce response to the pandemic. While team member well-being was lowest and team member concern about COVID-19 was highest in March 2020, subsequent pulse checks indicated that around 9 out of 10 team members consistently rated themselves on the positive end of the mental health continuum (from “healthy” to “reacting”). We also checked in about plans around returning to the office and confidence in leadership. This data was shared throughout ATB.
ATB’s commitment to helping Albertans deal with the challenges created by the pandemic drove most of our activities and initiatives over the past year. In addition to client relief programs offered through ATB, our team members worked closely with clients who were facing unique situations or dealing with urgent concerns. We even helped people learn to better use existing technology and platforms so they could feel comfortable banking anytime and anywhere.
This past December, when we couldn’t get together for in-person celebrations, we used the budget that would have been spent on holiday parties for team members to support Alberta charities and local businesses. Every team member was given $50 to donate or to support local businesses. More than 2,600 ATB team members put their gift to work, contributing $67,700 to local food banks, $35,650 to mental health, and $30,500 to support local businesses through ATB Marketplace (an online shopping platform featuring Alberta businesses and their products).
While ATB has been looking out for Albertans for more than 80 years, undeniable trends are quickly changing the environment in which we operate. We recognized that, to continue to be relevant to Albertans and help our province thrive, we needed to look further out in our planning. To do this, in late 2019, we crafted a bold 10-year strategic plan to inform where we invest our time, energy, and resources. We embrace the future and the exciting challenges and opportunities it presents: the increasing and evolving expectations of our clients, the shifting economy, and the unprecedented pace of technological innovation—including the rise of artificial intelligence—to name just a few.
Our strategic plan could not have come at a better time. The thinking and intentionality behind our plan allowed us to quickly adapt our processes and build relief programs that helped address the most urgent needs of Albertans in the earliest days of the pandemic. It gave us a framework for accelerating technological change and innovation that should have taken years but was developed and implemented within days. Although the plan was developed to help drive change and growth that would lead us on our Path to 2030, it became a mechanism for providing the support and hope our clients needed right now.
Every ATB team member deserves the health services they need to live their best life. That includes mental health services, which too often carry an unwarranted stigma, despite the knowledge that mental illness can impact lives, families, and communities just like any physical illness can.
We launched Inkblot, a platform that can be accessed anywhere and at any time for virtual therapy and coaching, as our new employee and family assistance provider. The platform offers an app-based resilience coach called headversity to encourage proactive and preventative measures for mental health.
To help reduce the stigma associated with mental health and increase support in our workplace, we joined in two big national campaigns, National Depression Screening and Mental Health Awareness Week, which both promote mental health awareness.
We adopted the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s best-in-class workplace mental health training called The Working Mind. ATB’s internally certified trainers delivered more than 50 sessions to ATB leaders, a pilot program for team members, and customized follow-up. Surveys indicated an increase in resilience, a decrease in stigma, and tangible behaviour change.
We’ve continued to grow two grassroots internal ATB teams, the Mental Health Action Team and the Wellness Leadership Committee. We also moved Wellness Wednesdays—our monthly video series led by our President and CEO that focuses on improving our own well-being—to a livestream format that grew to an average of 1,000 viewers per segment.
All ATB team members have access to Degreed, an adaptive system that anticipates a team member’s needs and focuses on helping them build relevant skills while connecting them to other team members to learn and grow together. In 2020, engagement rose by 120% for viewed items and 150% for completed items, and the skills that were highest rated by team members (based on number of ratings) included leadership, growth mindset, public speaking, business development, account management, design thinking, entrepreneurship, change management, data analytics, and adaptability.
This past year, ATB continued its Helping Hands program, which donates $500 to the cause of choice of any team member who volunteers at least 40 hours in a year. If the volunteering involves fundraising, ATB chips in 20% of their goal, up to $500. In spite of restrictions due to the pandemic, we still saw team members donate 13,632 hours of their time to causes they care about, resulting in $42,173 in donations.
ATB also launched a pilot program in February 2021 to curate volunteer opportunities (currently only virtual) that align with our three Greater Good strategic priorities. For every hour a team member volunteers through these opportunities, ATB donates an additional $10 to the charity they volunteered for. We plan to grow this program in the next year.
Our internal recognition program, Everyday Heroes, gives ATB team members an easy way to share meaningful kudos in the workplace. This ranges from team members giving each other virtual ’high fives’ and Everyday Heroes points, which can be redeemed for everything from gift cards to gadgets to nominating each other for quarterly awards, which are presented along with bonus points. Quarterly award winners are then eligible for induction into the President’s League, which involves a personal reception with the executive team, monthly surprise-and-delight gifts, and ongoing opportunities for internal experiential bursts, networking, and learning.
ATB 101 was created to offer meaningful employment opportunities to Alberta post-secondary students. While the in-person element of ATB 101 wasn’t possible this past year, we adapted the program to work in a virtual environment by using our already existing suite of Google tools and our Degreed learning platform to support our ATB 101 students’ experience. One other unique change for this year was that, instead of the traditional ATB 101 capstone project, students were connected with our Goodness Grows team with a focus on finding creative ways to uplift Albertans during the pandemic.
|Metric||FY2020||FY2021||FY2022 target||Action plan|
|Cultural Health Index(1)||n/a||78%||78%||Continue to be the place to work, where team members are "ALL IN."|
|Percentage of ATB team members who responded positively to the statement: “I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.”||95%||89%||89%||Raise awareness among team members and give them opportunities to get involved in the Greater Good strategy.|
|Percentage of ATB team members who responded positively to the statement: “I am offered training or development to further myself professionally.”||84%||81%||81%||Implement our new performance system.|
|Absenteeism (2)||8.2 days||5.5 days||≤ 6 days|