How CGI Designed a Culture Built to Grow & Last

Today we’re exploring how CGI – a leading IT and business process services provider – established a culture more than 40 years ago that still appeals to younger generations and helps CGI adapt over time.

Bernard Labelle is Senior Vice-President of Global Human Resources at CGI. He shares that CGI was founded on the belief in its people, how it balances the needs of its professionals, clients and shareholders, and why ethics and respect for diversity matter just as much today as they did to CGI’s founders in 1976.

The CGI Constitution is the heart of CGI’s people-based culture. While most companies have a mission, a vision, and values, CGI sets itself apart with the CGI Dream: “To create an environment in which we enjoy working together and, as owners, contribute to building a company we can be proud of.”

There are three key components to this dream that make CGI such a great place to work (and helped earn them a Top Employer certification):

  • In professional services, you work hard and spend a lot of time with clients. A welcoming and enjoyable environment creates a sense of belonging.
  • At CGI, there are no employees – only members. Every member of the company can be an owner by participating in a share purchase plan, and 80 percent of members do. This encourages members to contribute to the company and make a difference not only in the services that they are delivering to a given client but also in building the company, developing the business, and exploring innovative solutions.
  • They want to make sure that every member has the opportunity to take pride in the company’s success and share in the results of their investment of time and talents.

At CGI, being a member means taking ownership and responsibility in the success of the company. The dream is a promise that members have the opportunity to do more than simply work for a company; they are also participating in a collective project.

Through the very nature of the company, CGI encourages and fosters an entrepreneurial spirit within its members, even though it is a large company spanning 40 countries and these concepts were established more than 40 years ago.

This visionary dream really hits home with millennials and Gen Z’s, who are drawn to businesses that offer intrapreneurial opportunities.

To be successful, CGI has its Management Foundation and maintains equilibrium between the needs of its three stakeholders: members, clients, and shareholders. CGI’s maintains this equilibrium through measurement. For each of their three stakeholders, they have developed key performance indicators to track progress via the Client Satisfaction Assessment Program, Member Satisfaction Assessment Program, and Shareholder Satisfaction Assessment Program.

On a quarterly basis, every business unit reports on the same set of metrics, which adds consistency across the board and helps the company plan actions that effectively track and  continuously drive performance.

Three Things To Discuss With Your Team:

  1. Work ethically and work hard. Measure your results. Never be afraid to measure and assess. It's better to know sooner than later so that you can build action and execute on a solution.
  2. Value diversity and inclusion. Diversity is a richness that should be embraced as an opportunity.
  3. Learn and evolve always, as individuals and as an organization. Don't be afraid to explore new opportunities.

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Develop. Always.



Production & Development for Top Employers Institute’s Talent is Transforming by Podcast Masters