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Driving success through people, learning, and innovation

Supporting employees to be the best versions of themselves is nothing new to BDO.

For the third year in a row, MediaCorp has named BDO one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers. We continue to invest in providing and delivering best-in-class programs and initiatives across the firm. Our culture supports people, learning, and innovation—each of which MediaCorp says are key differentiators in the job market.


The keys to success

Developing and maintaining an environment where our people can thrive is where it all begins. Our programs promote diversity, enable physical and mental well-being, and support collaboration.


BDO has a long-term commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), creating an environment where people feel encouraged to show up as their authentic selves and eliminating barriers to engagement, productivity, or innovation.

“We bring together diverse people from small and large offices across Canada with different backgrounds and geographies,” says Kerri Plexman, Managing Partner, Talent & Culture. “We’re very fortunate to have such a diverse group of people at the firm so we can tap into their unique experiences and perspectives.”

We also want to mirror the rich diversity of the clients and communities we serve, so our DEI priorities include employment equity and proactively eliminating barriers employees may face. Our leadership team is committed to ensuring that diversity plays a key role in everything we do—from recruiting to team building, it’s always top of mind.

Education plays a crucial role in keeping our people informed about emerging opportunities and providing them with the skills they need to succeed. 

BDO employees marching in a Pride parade and waving a pride flag.


Our people’s well-being is a priority. We believe that advocating for our people’s overall wellness has a positive influence on every part of their day-to-day lives, including the work environment.

To support this, BDO has introduced generous paid time off, flexible work policies, access to mental health services, and competitive benefit programs. Our Do What You Love program that provides financial reimbursement for specific activities is thriving, and Plexman says the feedback is incredible. 

“So many people send me pictures of what they did with the funds,” says Plexman. “They are grateful for the opportunity to experience new things.”


Our culture of collaboration begins with the systems that make it possible. “Our technology allows our people to embrace flexible work styles without compromising collaboration or client services,” says Sonia Edmonds, Managing Partner, Innovation & Change. “And we think a lot about purpose: the balance between in-person learning in a team environment and flexibility as an individual contributor,” explains Plexman.

Three employees, two women and one man sitting together and chatting at a table in an office setting.


Personal and professional advancement

To empower our workforce with the skills they need to succeed, we introduced a comprehensive learning and development strategy, and hired a Chief Learning & Development Officer, Dr. Keith Keating. 

As BDO’s first CLDO, Keating will advance the firm’s Talent and Culture strategy, focusing on unlocking and nurturing the growth of our people, both personally and professionally. His vision and leadership are key to BDO’s commitment to continuous learning and innovation.  

BDO’s Accelerated Development Program is designed to help employees improve their leadership skills so they can be client-ready in a short amount of time. After a successful pilot, the program is rolling out to the entire firm in 2024. Plexman says it’s an interesting combination of skills. “It isn’t all technical, the program also introduces soft skills people need to know, especially when handling difficult situations.”

Other ways to expand learning include:
A group of people sitting in a large room watching a presentation.

Coaching and mentoring

Coaching and mentorship are key components of the learning program, with monthly sessions (some for women only) that focus on career planning, work-life balance, job satisfaction, and more. Through these sessions, employees can build their networks, share real-time knowledge, and connect with other inspiring team members.

What sets these apart is the access to members of the executive and senior leadership teams that run each meeting. “The sessions fill up quickly every month, and we can see the demand is very high across the firm for these type of sessions, so we’re continuing to explore how to expand these offerings,” says Edmonds.

We are responding to the desire for more coaching and mentorship opportunities. “We launched a cascade program in 2023 where we provided the opportunity for our people to learn how to be a coach,” says Plexman. “They are provided with hands-on experience, they role play, they really get the lived experience of what it’s like to coach someone.” The pilot launched in the Montreal office in 2023, and by the end of 2024, anyone who is a manager level or above in the firm will have the opportunity to take part in the coaching program to improve their leadership skills. 


Investing in our people

Being a market leader begins with investing in our people. Through our innovation strategy, we set every employee up to be creative and do their best work. Plexman says ideas come from across the firm, not just from the top. “We strongly encourage people from all levels including people who haven’t been at the firm long, to bring forward their ideas. We want to dig into everyone’s knowledge, experiences, and creativity.


BDO’s ideation platform gathers ideas from across the firm and aligns them with business challenges we’ve set out to solve. “The people who submit the ideas which we advance forward participate in developing the innovative solution.” 

In just three months, the Ideation Centre has been visited over 800 times, a clear sign of employees’ interest in innovation. It’s about more than coming up with ideas: it also introduces people to new skills and new tools. 

Five employees sitting at a table and engaging in a discussion in a work setting.

Strategy and execution

One of BDO’s most valued strategic alliance is with Microsoft. BDO and has won many significant awards such as the 2023 AI Impact Award and the 2023 Security Partner of the Year Award.  

The alliance sees our people leveraging Microsoft Cloud to accelerate digital services for clients, in addition to applying AI in new ways to deliver positive societal and business impacts. “We have been investing in innovation for years,” says Edmonds. “That is what has primed us for being a frontrunner for Microsoft. We’re demonstrating real solutions that our employees and our clients are actually using today.” 

Everyday efficiency

At BDO, our innovative solutions include:

“As part of our strategic relationship with Microsoft, we had access to Microsoft Copilot before it was commercially available,” says Edmonds. “We released it to 300 people across the firm to capture the best possible areas of value and productivity gains with the use of this technology.” It’s imperative for the firm to unlock value with new technology across all service lines and departments so that we can enable employees to boost efficiency.

Looking into the future

Receiving this recognition for three years in a row is a clear signal that we’re on the right track. 

“The first word that comes to mind is pride,” says Plexman. “We have invested a lot of time and effort into building a unique talent experience, and it’s something that we really believe in and will continue to invest in.”

Trois femmes souriantes marchent ensemble dans un bureau moderne.

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