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The NEW colleague experience
By Tina Robinet
• Sep. 1, 2023
SVP, Next Evolution of Work (NEW) Transformation
TD Bank Group

Expect – and welcome – the unexpected.

That's what I've learned leading one of the biggest transformations in TD history.

In 2021 we introduced something we call the Next Evolution of Work, or NEW. It might sound like corporate jargon, but it's truly an acronym with heft. It refers to a new operating model, anchored by Agile principles, allowing us to move at market speed to help meet and exceed customer expectations.

Organizations like TD are massive, and often, colleagues work in silos. With NEW, we bring colleagues from many disciplines together to iterate and solve problems in a highly efficient way.

Take for example what happened when we learned international students were having trouble navigating the financial system in Canada. Thanks to NEW, we were able to work quickly to address this need by bringing together a super-team of colleagues, including investment specialists, risk analysts, lawyers and more to create an International Student Banking Package in a fraction of the time it would have previously taken.

We expected NEW to benefit our customers by empowering our colleagues to deliver faster outcomes. What's been particularly interesting to watch is how NEW is benefiting the colleague experience even beyond our high expectations. We thought NEW would be beneficial for colleagues; what we didn’t fully appreciate was the number of ways NEW would transform the employee experience. It’s been an unexpected, wonderful surprise.

Recent data from our team shows 82% of NEW team members surveyed after an internal conference this year agreed that they are excited to be part of NEW.

What's driving this positive sentiment?

Narrowing the gap between corporate colleagues and customers

While colleagues in non-customer-facing roles can often feel far removed from customers, NEW teams working in these roles actually feel closer to the customers who will ultimately benefit from their work. This happens because NEW teams are empowered to own their products and projects and make decisions quickly, especially compared to previous work models.

A recent example of this comes from the Payments & Rewards Journey and Servicing Platform colleagues within NEW – teams who were supporting customers activating credit cards.

In early 2023, the team uncovered a gap where customers could only activate a reissued credit card by calling the Bank. When a customer called in, they could either attempt to activate their card using the TD Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system or be redirected to speak directly with a Contact Centre Representative. No problem, right? Wrong.

Among the 40% of callers who chose to activate their card using IVR also had to speak with an agent. The experience was negative, and the team began hearing about it from customers.

Thanks to their NEW team structure, which had colleagues from multiple backgrounds and business lines (such as developers, lawyers, risk experts and more), the group was able to work quickly towards fixing this pain point.

Ultimately, they implemented a new feature called Activation on First Use. This enables personal credit card customers to activate their reissued cards by making an in-store purchase using their existing PIN.

The team expected this enhancement to reduce customer calls by 210,000 within the first year of the launch. In the first 90 days alone, 130,000 customers activated their reissued credit cards using this new feature. Team feedback on the NEW process has been positive, strengthening the group's resolve as to what customer irritants they can proactively solve for next.

Colleague creativity is unlocking career opportunities for teammates

Through NEW, colleagues have continuous learning and upskilling opportunities via both informal and formal training. Whether a colleague is a new grad in their first corporate job or has been in their role for decades, everyone on a NEW team has the chance learn from one another to develop and grow in their careers.

Take for example Scrum Masters within NEW's Agile @ Scale Practice Talent Incubator program. This program was designed by colleagues, for colleagues to train, coach, mentor and upskill internal teammates to become Agile Coaches supporting NEW.

Participating colleagues engaged in an immersive training curriculum that included instructor-led training, role simulations, assignments and more. The first cohort graduated recently, with participants voicing positive feedback on the experience. “This program offered the right skillset, tools and knowledge on industry-best practices that ensured a smooth transition from a Scrum Master role to the highly sought-after Agile coach role,” said new grad Sharan Bharat, Agile Coach, Credit Platform, Agile@Scale Practice.

"I am someone with a background that ranges over multiple lines of businesses, and it may not be the most conventional background for many people in this role. The Talent Incubator program enabled me to go from someone who didn't meet every criteria in a generic Agile Coach posting, and allowed me to prove my abilities and obtain a role that may not have usually be available," said another new grad, Awais Saleem, Agile Coach, Payments & Rewards Journey, Agile@Scale Practice.

What's next for NEW? Continuing to expect the unexpected

The wins are many, but NEW is far from a job done. Just two years in, and already, we’ve seen unexpected benefit as corporate colleagues feel more empowered by owning their projects and products to better serve customers and having tangible opportunities for learning and career growth.

While there have been some growing pains – adapting to a completely new way of working is never easy – I’m proud of how far our teams have come in just 24-months.

As we move forward, I have high expectations – and can’t wait to continue to be pleasantly surprised by the unexpected.

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