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Top employer: Julia McDonald, director of recruitment UK at CGI

Posted on from Changeboard

What makes a top employer? We put CGI under the spotlight as we catch up with their director of recruitment UK, Julia McDonald.

Introducing: Julia McDonald

I have overall responsibility for CGI’s recruitment strategy in the UK ensuring it is aligned to our growth strategy and workforce plan. 

I joined CGI back in January and enjoying working here, mainly because of the focus to hire the right people at all levels. 

We offer apprentice and sponsored degree programmes as well as graduate and industrial placements. Our market, and needs, are constantly changing which ensures my role remains challenging and interesting.

What makes your organisation a top employer?

We're really proud that for the third year running, CGI received a Top Employer Europe certification.

CGI is a global business with 65,000 professionals in 40 countries across the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe who provide end-to-end IT and business process services that facilitate the ongoing evolution of our clients’ businesses.

With 40 years of experience we are in a great position to deliver innovative services to some of the UK’s biggest and best brands across the commercial and public sectors. 

We welcome the annual international research undertaken by the Top Employers Institute. They recognise leading employers around the world; those that provide excellent employee conditions, nurture and develop their talent at all levels of the organisation, and those that strive to continuously improve their employment practices. 

We believe CGI earned the Top Employer certification because of our employee offerings surpassing the international standards. The criteria covered was:

  • Talent strategy 
  • Workforce planning
  • On-boarding
  • Learning & development
  • Performance management
  • Leadership development
  • Career & succession management
  • Compensation & benefits
  • Culture

What initiatives do you have in place?

Our employees, who we refer to as ‘members’, are encouraged to become shareholders in CGI so that they can be part of and share in our future success. We pride ourselves in creating a work environment in which our members are fully engaged. We have fun at work, and CGI supports members through talent management programmes that encourage career progression at all levels. The growth of our business also means that we are busy recruiting at all levels of the organisation this year.  

For me personally, speaking as a member, what makes CGI a great place to work, is the  breadth of activities and support CGI  offers including those more traditional initiatives, such as performance, talent management, development, as well as emphasis on health and overall well-being.

We have a health and wellbeing programme called ‘Oxygen’ with its own dedicated health expert in the UK. For example, in the last two months we have run seminars on mindfulness and shared insights on how  to support members with dyslexia – we provided free health checks for all our members and held a live webinar with Nick Anderton, Team GB running coach, on ‘how to train for a run’ as part of our “inspiration” programme.   

CGI are also sponsors of Team England, Wales and Scotland in the run up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games – so there are many events coming up with this theme in mind. The social activities are not all fitness related – our sports and social club also run things like the highly famed pub quiz events. We also support national events, such as the park-run challenge (April 2016) and Mental Health Awareness Week (May 2016).

What tips would you give to your peers?

Being open, transparent, and having effective processes in place, with a strong people plan that enables the business to run effectively is important.

Moreover, for me, the culture and values of an organisation are equally as important – as are the teams you work with – and I see our people committed to the CGI dream, and living our values each day.    

CGI genuinely takes an interest in its’ members, and this has a huge impact on how I feel every day. Members feel accountable and know that they can to make a difference.

What are you working on now?

At CGI we have a huge mix of clients and work across so many sectors, and right now, we have big growth ambitions in the next few years. 

Digital and cyber are two particular areas in which we are seeing  growth in our business and our people plan internally supports this, as well as our talent acquisition strategy.

I feel that it’s important for CGI to continue to support the development and career progression of all its members. We are working with our business unit leaders and individual members to ensure that everyone has a clear and defined approach to their development, and that this is fully supported. If our people grow, then our business will grow!

About Top Employers Institute

The Top Employers Institute globally certifies excellence in the conditions that employers create for their people. Optimal employee conditions ensure that people develop themselves personally and professionally. This in turn enables companies to grow and to develop, always.

Find out more about the Top Employers Institute and their certification here.

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