Topic: Employee Recognition


CIBC Makes Recognition Moments That Matter

North America




recognition champions


say manager gives recognition for a job well done


higher recognition scores than industry benchmark

‍*CIBC Won the 2022 Influence Greatness Breakthrough Award for Unified Recognition

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution committed to creating enduring value for its stakeholders – clients, team, communities and shareholders. The bank’s 45,000 purpose-driven employees are dedicated to helping make your ambition a reality. A fundamental component of CIBC’s approach is investing in its team and recognizing employees for bringing its purpose to life for clients.


CIBC previously had a long-standing quarterly awards program to formally recognize employees for great work, as well as a career milestone program to recognize years of service. The bank wanted to modernize how they recognize employees. While recognition was well-engrained in their culture, the programs and processes to recognize needed updating.

They were looking for a purpose-aligned, automated, and easy-to-use platform that could track recognition and make it more visible across the organization. They wanted more options for day-to-day recognition, clearer criteria, an updated award offering that was more relevant to a diverse workforce, and a better, more sustainable nomination process. Employees also desired a points-based program that provided personalized, timely, peer-to-peer recognition.


CIBC searched for a new recognition partner to help them modernize their programs and selected O.C. Tanner because of their flexible platform, the tech-enabled social recognition, and their Yearbook solution.

O.C. Tanner worked with CIBC to create the MomentMakers program through the Culture Cloud platform.

CIBC MomentMakers Recognition Program
“MomentMakers is proof of our culture of caring. It is intertwined with our purpose and leadership capabilities, and we’ve built it into the fibre of our organization.”
—Jackie Goldman, Senior Vice President, Rewards, Recognition & Performance

MomentMakers includes eCards for all employees to recognize day-to-day great work, and an easier, more automated nomination process to recognize above-and-beyond accomplishments through Purpose Awards. There’s also an internal social wall where recognition is shared in real-time so others can see the great work team members are doing and add to the appreciation.

CIBC Annual Achievers Award

eCards and Purpose Awards bring CIBC’s purpose and brand to life, at the employees’ fingertips. “We can take the most important element of our culture—our purpose—and have it be visible throughout the platform,” explains Jackie Goldman, Senior Vice President, Rewards, Recognition & Performance. The Wall of Fame provides the recognition visibility employees needed. “I love the Wall of Fame and reading the comments about why people were recognized. It’s a fantastic feature,” says Hela Asaria, Director, Recognition & Performance Enablement.

Better tracking of recognition and the ability to copy leaders when recognition is given has also helped employees see their own and others’ great work. “Now we have a program where you can send an eCard or send a Purpose Award and it’s all captured in one system. You can look back at your history and see the great work you did and the recognition you received for it,” says Justin Zelnicker, Senior Analyst, Recognition & Performance Enablement.

CIBC Service Anniversaries Program

CIBC also updated their career milestone program with a customized, personalized Yearbook solution that allows leaders and colleagues to add comments, photos, and memories to celebrate an employee’s years of service. They updated the award selection with an expanded offering to include brand-name items and more modern awards. To make the career recognition even more personal, CIBC gives employees a custom lapel pin that showcases their milestone years of service. Employees proudly wear their pins at work.

Journey to Success

CIBC launched MomentMakers during the global pandemic in October 2020. CIBC gave every employee 200 points to introduce the program. The bank created a video training series for leaders and built an extensive network of 150 recognition champions across the bank to share information and updates about MomentMakers with executives and leaders in their business units. Champions help with planning recognition events and budgeting, and answer questions about the program. Many champions serve on other committees in their business units, like Employee Experience, so recognition is aligned with other people initiatives across the bank.

Screenshot from MomentMakers training videos

The launch of MomentMakers was an immediate success. Employees logged in right away to start giving recognition. MomentMakers empowers employees who, previously, had to go through layers of approval to formally recognize their colleagues. Now, MomentMakers enables them to recognize directly, whenever they see great work happening.

Leaders use MomentMakers in a variety of ways: to welcome new hires to the team, to recognize employees in real time when they hear great work happening, or by displaying the recognition their team received in shared areas at branch locations. “I make MomentMakers the cornerstone of everything we do around recognition and appreciation,” says one manager.

CIBC New Hire Brochure

And recognition isn’t just top-down. MomentMakers empowers colleagues to recognize one another when they do great work or lend a hand. “It’s now recognition in the moment. You don’t have to save it up for quarter-end, go through layers of approval, or have a committee vote on it. When someone does something great, you just recognize them,” says Joanne Parti, Senior Director Recognition and Performance Enablement.

eCards enable employees to easily say thank you in a hybrid work environment. “It’s so quick to give something as small as an eCard, but it means the world to employees. In the past it was a lengthy nomination process that you could only do once a quarter. Now we can send an eCard to any of our peers, any time of the day. It makes a difference to frontline colleagues in terms of their productivity,” adds Stephanie Commodari, one of CIBC’s recognition champions.  

CIBC Celebration at the Office


CIBC has seen the impact of MomentMakers happen almost immediately. Leaders are taking ownership and giving recognition proactively. Employees are now being recognized for their daily efforts and great work, big and small, instead of having to wait for quarterly awards or be limited in how many awards they could give and receive.

“Our CEO is a big sponsor of the MomentMakers program,” explains Goldman. “He engages with it, holds leaders accountable for recognizing, and is a strong advocate for the program. His support helps make MomentMakers so successful in creating a culture of belonging, inclusivity, and caring at CIBC.”

Only 12 months after launch, the bank had not only seen high engagement and usage of the program, but also a shift in its recognition culture:

  • Over 215,000 recognition moments happened in 2021.
  • Over 70% of employees received individual recognition in the first year.
  • 88% of employees have logged into the system.
  • eCard usage increased 5x compared to the previous program.
  • Award nominations increased 9x compared to the previous program.
  • 90% of employees say, “My manager gives me recognition for a job well done”, which is 6% higher than the industry benchmark and an increase of 7% from the previous year.
  • 85% of employees feel “My personal contributions are recognized,” which is 8% higher than the industry benchmark.
Before and After Comparison Chart of Results from MomentMakers Program

Recognition is building team camaraderie and strengthening connection. Peer-to-peer recognition helps employees feel a sense of belonging on their teams. Bernadette Mesina, HR Director, recently celebrated her 15-year anniversary with CIBC. Her team set up a virtual recognition celebration, complete with a customized virtual background and a cake delivered to her home. Leaders and peers spent time talking about her career and added comments and photos to her online Yearbook. “Being remote, you would have thought it wouldn’t have felt so special. But bringing the group together made a huge difference. And to hear the impact I’ve had over the past 15 years was so powerful.”

CIBC Backpack for every employee

These types of celebrations connect employees and help them hear about the great work happening around CIBC and how they can also make a difference for their teams and clients.

Parti’s team has already made enhancements and changes based on employee feedback to make MomentMakers even better. “Employees know that they own this program. It belongs to them. It’s not owned by HR,” says Parti. Onboarding and retirement recognition were not part of the original program but were added after employees said they wanted to be recognized at these important milestones. Now new employees are welcomed with a custom CIBC backpack, lapel pin, and MomentMakers points, and our retirees get a personalized Yearbook and gift to commemorate their career at CIBC.

At CIBC, MomentMakers recognizes the entire employee lifecycle, from onboarding to daily great work, major accomplishments to career milestones, and retirement. Recognition has become an integrated part of the entire employee experience and CIBC culture. “The wonderful thing about MomentMakers is that it enables us to do day-to-day recognition. It is absolutely fundamental to us executing on our overall talent management strategy,” says Goldman.

Outcomes are everything
We’d love to share what we’ve helped CIBC and thousands of other clients achieve. Reach out to us to start your employee recognition journey.

related Resources

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