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How Questrade Is Taking the Bureaucracy out of Finance


"We have a strong mission and vision, and great culture. The business is rapidly growing, and we have the agility and entrepreneurial spirit of a start-up, but with the benefit of a proven track record of success over several years."
How Questrade Is Taking the Bureaucracy out of Finance

by Melissa Ramos

8 months ago


Emma Horgan works at Questrade, Canada's leading non-bank online brokerage.

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Can you tell me a little about your role as Chief People Officer at Questrade?

My role involves developing our People Strategy and associated tactics and priorities to support delivery of our overall business strategy, and leading a team of HR and Office Operations professionals to deliver on those priorities. Ultimately, as a team we are highly focused on ensuring we have the right culture and right talent who are motivated to perform at their best to deliver great business results. This includes pursuing the delivery of exceptional employee experiences to support driving exceptional customer experiences.

What does culture mean at Questrade?

Our Culture is about what we value, who we are and how we act. Our Culture is defined by our Values which also describe who we are; we are Innovative, Curious & Optimistic, Team Oriented, Entrepreneurial and Agile, Customer Centric, and Honest with Integrity.

How would you compare Questrade’s internal culture to other, more traditional organizations in the finance industry?

I would say that we are less hierarchical and less bureaucratic, what comes with that is being more nimble and agile, and better able to empower people to really make a personal impact and contribution. We also place a lot of emphasis on fun!!

Do you have any techniques for keeping employees engaged and feeling like their opinion still matter as Questrade scales?

Part of it is cultural, being that we are not bureaucratic or hierarchical means employees can interact with ease with peers and leaders to share ideas and opinions. We use agile methodology, so inherent in that is team members being empowered to share ideas and act on decisions.

On joining the organization in February 2017, one of the first things I did was facilitate focus groups with people across the organization. I wanted to meet people and hear directly from them what was on their minds, what was important to them, what ideas they had to make things better. This lead to a series of action items that we have implemented based on their feedback. In the past we have used engagement surveys also as a mechanism to collect feedback; and we will be looking to use again in the future. 

In addition, we have more systemic mechanisms like our intranet, email’s with updates in important matters and matters of interest, and regular Town Halls with senior leaders where employees hear business updates and have an opportunity to ask questions and offer ideas.

What’s your favourite thing about working at Questrade?

There are lots of great things about working at Questrade… it is too hard to pick just one! We have a strong mission and vision, and great culture. The business is rapidly growing, and we have the agility and entrepreneurial spirit of a start-up, but with the benefit of a proven track record of success over several years. Last but definitely not least, the people are great – highly talented and a pleasure to work with!

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