HR Star: Nancy Nazer

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Nancy Nazer
VP Human Resources

TD Bank Group

Main business
TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves approximately 21.5 million customers in key financial centres around the globe.

Number of employees
More than 85,000 at TD; 62 in my team

Years in HR
15 years

Your first job in HR
My first official job was a senior associate director of organization development at Bell. Before that I was working at University of Toronto where I completed my PhD.

The most outrageous (and best) company perks you’ve experienced 
A flashmob! It happened last year during TD’s Annual Employee Appreciation week, where managers thank their teams in a number of creative ways, like eating ice cream in the office, day trips to amusement parks, massages in the branch or fun group activities. In this case, 50 TD employees danced in a flashmob at the corner of King and Bay streets in Toronto; everyone had a blast learning the dance and putting on the show for unsuspecting customers and pedestrians!

Your best candidate interview story   
The best interviews are when you spend quality time with candidates to really get to know them. When people get a chance to tell you their stories – especially people who are different than you are – you learn what they can bring to the table. We need to avoid just hiring people like ourselves; the more diverse candidates are the better chance we have of finding the best talent.

Weirdest thing that ever happened to you at work:   
My team held a surprise party for me and ordered a cake that had my picture on it! It was really sweet, but felt a bit surreal cutting the cake and eating it.

What inspires you:   
The environment at TD. We have a culture where leaders really ‘walk the talk’ to show employees what our leadership profile means. Leaders who are transparent, make an impact and build for the future really set the standard for their teams and show the kind of behaviour that gets rewarded at TD.  It makes our work in learning, development and diversity really meaningful because everyone believes all three areas are important to being a winning organization. We have strong examples to draw upon every day, so I can focus on building capabilities to support future growth and development as opposed to ‘selling’ our values.  Working in an organization that makes it possible for all employees to achieve their full potential is incredibly inspiring.

The best thing about working in HR   
I often hear that HR professionals deal with the soft side of the business but the soft stuff is sometimes the really hard stuff to impact. I love working on the softer stuff when it’s really taken seriously. At TD we work closely with business leaders who understand how important people are to the bottom line. Research shows that a positive employee experience directly impacts the customer experience, so it makes sense to focus on engaging and developing your people. When the top of the house takes ownership, the people strategy really takes root in an organization. Working in a company like TD where HR is valued means that we can really make a difference and move the people strategy forward.

The worst  
The stigma around HR – people think it’s all about hiring and firing, but really, it’s so much more.

Does HR have a place at the boardroom table
Yes – an important one. Our board spends a significant amount of time on our people strategy, ensuring we have the right talent and capabilities in place to win today and in the future.

What are the biggest challenges facing HR?    
I think the war for talent is our biggest challenge and it’s not going away any time soon. Having the right talent that is going to differentiate you and your strategy is key to success. It drives your culture, and having the right talent will help you attract and develop future talent.  

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