RBC Employee Resource Group - NextGen

"We don’t want to lose talent. NextGen helps to bridge that gap and help employees feel valued.”  - Michael Parcon, RBC

Hiring young talent is one piece of the puzzle, helping them build their careers in Halifax is another.

RBC’s NextGen Employee Resource Group was developed for this very purpose.

NextGen is a group within RBC for employees in their twenties and thirties with three goals: to grow careers, engage in the community and make connections.

“When you’re able to touch on these three areas, you get more engaged employees,” says Jeff Pond Co-Chair for the Atlantic Next Gen RBC Chapter. “It’s about facilitating a sense of engagement.”

Starting as a group of employees in Toronto who wanted to get together and do more with community outreach, the Employee Resource Group has grown into much more.

Launched in Halifax in September of 2014, NextGen is an internal social media of sorts that offers RBC employees the opportunity to access e-mentoring opportunities, volunteer in the community, plan and attend local events, and represent the needs of RBC’s younger workforce.

“The e-mentorship especially provides an opportunity to bridge business lines,” says Pond, “It’s a forum for staff across the country and departments to explore other roles and plan their careers with RBC.”

Some interesting features of the NextGen Employee Resource Group include:

  • Expert blogs
  • Ability to follow other people on the internal site
  • Sign up to volunteer with the community
“It’s a great way to coordinate across the country, “says Michael Parcon, Co-Chair for the Atlantic NextGen RBC Chapter. “RBC is a large and moving machine with limitless options for career path, tools like this help employee figure out where they see themselves and how they can get there.”

Justine Colley-Leger joined RBC in May 2014 as a recent graduate. For Justine, the NextGen has allowed her to get more involved with the community.

“I have been asked to join the Community Investment Committee within RBC, which supports the Atlantic Community with donations and scholarships from RBC,” says Justine. “Being a part of this group has opened up opportunities that I believe I would not have had the opportunity to participate in.”

“RBC is a large company…the NextGen group allows the young professionals within the Halifax area to stay connected and form networks within our company,” says Justine, “It is also a great opportunity to receive support, mentorship and advice from more experience members of NextGen.”

“NextGen is an outlet for someone who doesn’t know where to start, it helps to facilitate a connection,” says Pond. “We don’t want to lose talent. NextGen helps to bridge that gap and help employees feel valued.”

“Building towards the future it’s important that we help retain our employees and set them up for moving towards different roles within the company and growing their careers,” says Parcon. 

Tips for increasing employee engagement:

  1. Don’t overlook potential
    “There is a huge wave of talent coming into the workforce,” says Pond, “They come with ideas and they are willing to seize any opportunities that come their way-give them those opportunities.”

  2. Invest in the future
    “It’s easy to have a narrow focus, but long term strategic planning should include planning for current talent to develop their own trajectory, “says Parcon.

    “Have a recruit and develop mentality,” says Parcon, “These young hires will play a role in adding future value, which NextGen is an example of.”

  3. Give the next generation some leadership experience
    Give employees the opportunity to lead a project.

    “Let them get their feet wet,” say Pond, “It’s important to engage them and help them build on what they are working on in the organization.”

    “It doesn’t need to be as formal as RBC’s NextGen, but start something that helps represent future talent and employee enablement,” says Pond.