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Gone are the days, if they ever truly existed, when an organization could afford to pursue corporate strategy without consideration for the "people" side of the equation, including employees only as an afterthought. And long gone are the days when human resources departments could afford to introduce programs or initiatives without being entirely in sync with, and in support of, the corporate strategy.
That's especially true for companies whose only real product is service. At Bank of Montreal, a highly diversified financial services institution, we do not build anything tangible, except customer wealth. Customers don't walk away with anything but a good or bad experience. And it's our people who create that experience, whether by serving our customers at the front line in our more than 1,100 branches, managing relationships with corporate clients, designing the technology to make us competitive, or serving clients through mbanx, our new virtual bank. For that reason, we have integrated our human resources strategy with our business strategy at every level of the company.
These may sound like motherhood statements, but to Bank of Montreal they are very real. The past seven years have been transformational for us. We have put into place an array of HR programs and initiatives that have the bank's corporate strategy as their starting point. Our strategy for human resources is to seamlessly integrate each business unit or operating group's strategy with the bank's overall human resources strategy. A Human Resources Management Committee - our internal board - and a set of codified HR principles facilitates this and holds it together. The other key to our HR strategy is our passion for continually introducing best-in-class initiatives.
Some background: We rank as one of the 10 largest banks in North America, with average assets of …