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‘This is probably the biggest war for talent most of us have seen’

She said one important learning, post-pandemic, is acknowledging that “it’s not a one-size-fits-all model”. During the pandemic, BMO had 15,000 people working from the office and 30,000 working from home, but it’s still offering flexibility. While young parents or those working in a more rural location may be opting to work from home, others are engaging a hybrid model. She also noted that while millennials want more flexibility, BMO’s older staff is returning to work and in-person contact, and said staff attraction and retention now is about more than jobs.

“When you think about the commoditized nature of jobs in the world now, particularly given that many people can work anywhere, the talent’s really in the driver’s seat. But what we have, being a big bank, is not only the jobs people want, but a culture where people feel they can do more than just have a career. We want to help our customers build a financial future, but it goes beyond that.

“So, our employees can contribute to their community. They can spend time with their families. They can think about a net-zero world, an inclusive society, a sustainable future, and a thriving economy. As head of talent at BMO, I’m particularly proud that we have a special recipe that makes people really feel supported by our culture.”

BMO has also been taking other measures. It recently scaled up its talent acquisition team and started making offers quickly before others could scoop up candidates. It has announced a pay increase for its lower-graded employees and is increasing its online learning so staff can keep their professional credentials fresh as well as develop new skills, especially in technology.

“It’s making sure that the people we hire feel like their careers are being well supported at BMO,” said Collins. “That’s really making sure that, once you make the investment to bring people into your company, you’re doing all the things to make them feel cared for, valued, and recognized.”



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