Knowledge Center

RBC—Client First Transformation: Achieving Business Results and Cultural Revitalization Through Diversity

RBC’s initiative, Client First Transformation: Achieving Business Results and Cultural Revitalization Through Diversity, embeds diversity and inclusion (D&I) principles into its approach with employees, clients, and communities, contributing to a more client-focused business strategy while revitalizing its corporate culture. A diverse employee population, inclusive of women, visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, helps build institutional knowledge and understanding about important cultural markets in Canada and around the globe. Since 2005, the company has focused on increasing the representation of women and other diverse employees in executive and pipeline positions, developing programs and highly integrated talent management practices to accelerate growth and enable individual and organizational success.

The initiative includes many components to ensure employee success, including targeted recruitment strategies in which recruiters go through cross-cultural training, and specific programs designed to reach newcomers to Canada and people with disabilities. A women’s market strategy targeted to women business owners includes a dedicated public website and internal positions where women serve as experts for this market segment. Additionally, an Aboriginal banking effort includes a public action plan and offers full service and remote banking on many Aboriginal reserves. RBC’s strong mentoring culture includes programs such as Diversity Dialogues, in which executives partner with women and visible minority employees to learn about diversity while providing their mentees with career development advice. A robust succession planning approach ensures diversity in succession pools, while staffing goals include women in one of every two positions at both the senior manager and executive levels, and for visible minorities, one in four positions at the senior manager level and one in five at the executive level. The process also includes coaching and development plans provided for women and visible minorities who were on staffing lists but did not get promoted. Employees are held accountable through cascading performance goals and multiple scorecards that track progress and guide compensation and promotion decisions.

Among other significant business benefits, the Client First Transformation initiative continues to generate solid increases for women across the company: building on a strong base, women in executive roles (executive vice presidents, senior vice presidents, and vice presidents) increased from 35 percent to 39 percent from 2005 to 2009, and women’s representation as corporate officers (senior vice president level and above) has grown from 27 percent to more than 30 percent during that same time period. Women in the high-potential talent pool increased from 31 percent to 43 percent, with 21 percent being visible minority women.