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BMO Named Amongst the BEST in the World for Use of Employee Training and Development to Achieve Enterprise Success

2011 Annual ASTD BEST Awards recognize organizations that leverage learning function as a strategic business tool

- BMO is the only Canadian bank to be named amongst the 2011 ASTD BEST Awards recipients

TORONTO, ONTARIO and CHICAGO, ILLINOIS--(Marketwire - Oct. 6, 2011) - BMO Financial Group has been recognized as one of the BEST organizations in the world for its strategic use of learning to achieve enterprise-wide success. The bank was honoured by the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) in a ceremony held today in Washington, D.C., at the Pavilion in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center.

The ASTD BEST Awards, one of the profession's most rigorous awards programs, recognize organizations that create, support and champion a learning culture and that leverage the learning function as a strategic business tool to achieve enterprise-wide success.

BMO's strategic approach to learning is founded upon three fundamental principles:

1) The bank's Learning Group has a direct seat at the table with executive management, which helps to ensure training and talent-management strategies align with enterprise-wide business priorities;
2) Learning is melded with the requirement to advance business issues and opportunities;
3) There is a direct and positive correlation between training & development and performance results which is good for both the business and for employees.

"Learning continually contributes to productivity improvement at BMO and is critical to every aspect of our success," said Barbara Dirks, Chief Learning Officer, BMO Financial Group. "By implementing learning initiatives that support company strategy, demonstrate our commitment to customers and reinforce individual and business results, we have consistently introduced new and relevant ways to elevate both individual and company performance each year."

  • In 2010, BMO implemented a program to ensure all personal banking employees have the customer-focused skills and approach required to provide a great customer experience. The training has had a direct and positive impact on sales performance and productivity, doubling sales and boosting performance improvements for individuals who have completed the program as well as instilling a greater comfort level discussing more complex products.
  • In the bank's U.S. locations, surveys of customer satisfaction and loyalty demonstrate continuous growth. A specific driver in the surveys asks the respondents to rate if the employees are resourceful and if they have the ability to solve problems effectively. Training programs and program enhancements have supported the steady improvement of the score. One customer segment saw an increase of the score by 9% between 2008 and 2010.
  • BMO undertakes annual 'talent roundtables' in which all people managers are reviewed and for whom development plans are designed. This often means enrolling in one of BMO's flagship programs, speaking at a leadership conference and working on a key company issue or projects.

About ASTD

"ASTD's mission is to empower professionals to develop knowledge and skills successfully," said Kristen Fyfe, Senior Manager of Communications for ASTD. "That is why we offer BEST Award winners the opportunity to share their best practices with each other and the broader community of learning executives. Our Learn from the BEST conference is one of the most content-rich learning events offered – due simply to the excellent efforts of our BEST Award winning organizations."

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 and based in Canada, BMO Financial Group serves more than 10 million personal, commercial, corporate and institutional customers in North America and internationally. Our operating groups – Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal in Canada and Harris in the United States; Private Client Group, our wealth management business; and BMO Capital Markets – share one vision: to be the bank that defines great customer experience.

For further information:
For Media Enquiries:
Ralph Marranca, Toronto
(416) 867-3996

Sarah Bensadoun, Montreal
(514) 877-8224

Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596

Jim Kappel, Chicago
(312) 461-2478