CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
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CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS Employee Reviews

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Winter season is dreadful. You get paid what you are worth. Time and effort = $. Great outings and sense of belonging. Can be tough to stay motivated as you work on your own beside no one else
Pros
A good cause
Cons
Winter season
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
3 October 2020
Thank you so much for the positive feedback on your time at CFIB. While I agree that our work in supporting small business owners is a good cause at all times, the team's efforts during COVID have been incredible. We've taken 60,000 calls from members so far this year to provide assistance on all the major support programs and so many other issues.Working to visit business owners in the winter can be a bit tougher, but I'm from Winnipeg originally so I guess I'm used to it. I know Edmonton winters can be cold too.The job does offer a lot of independence and autonomy, but it can be lonely if one doesn't reach out to our colleagues in the region and across the country. I'm glad you found the role offered the financial rewards commensurate with one's efforts. Our new compensation system was designed to do just that.Again, thanks again for writing. Wishing you the best.Dan Kelly, President and CEO
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A great place to work if you are a motivated and have great time management. Immersing yourself in the business community and meeting new businesses and people everyday was definitely a highlight. The organization is the reason we have small business in this country and your work helps to support that. Flexible schedule as the role is performance based and if you are a go-getter and can get the job done, you will succeed. Great opportunity to move throughout the organization and the country if you want as well.
Pros
Unlimited income potential
Cons
Cold calling
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
13 November 2020
Thanks very much for the positive feedback. I certainly agree that the mission of CFIB is incredibly important – particularly this year as we have been instrumental in calling for and fixing the various COVID support programs. I’m also very proud that our team has taken 65,000 calls from small business owners to provide individual help through the pandemic. The District Manager role is not always easy, but is incredibly important. Our team has brought on 12,000 new CFIB members this year – in the middle of a pandemic! This has helped us ensure we can provide service to small business owners who really need our support more than ever. I also entirely agree that this is a great place to work for those who are motivated by our mission and have good time management skills. We are lucky to have so many colleagues who proudly serve our members (and future members) every day. Thanks for writing.Dan KellyPresident and CEO
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Door-to-door sales to business owners (almost all business owners today HATE sales people bugging them without appointments) Fully scripted sales pitch - This didn't work all that well in the '70s or '80s and certainly is not the best strategy now No room for and no support of any originality - just want trained monkeys out doing the same thing door after door, day after day, month after month... just looking for those who are already brain dead or that have no objection to becoming numb.
Pros
CFIB is a very worthwhile organization - doing great things for independent business owners
Cons
As a sales organization they are completely stagnant, even have a high cancellation rate that they have no idea how to fix that works against reps
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
13 November 2020
Thanks for sharing your perspective on things at CFIB. I am happy that you recognize the importance of the mission of the Federation and our good work in serving small business owners. It isn’t clear to me if you were a recent employee or one who worked for us 20 years ago. What I can tell you is that we have made massive changes to our approaches to membership sales over the past few years. While we have kept a standardized presentation to ensure consistency and integrity across the country, the requirement to memorize pages of text has been eliminated. We encourage our District Managers to present the critical elements of our mission in their own words.And while cold-calling on small business owners is a part of the job, the most successful District Managers rely heavily on referrals they generate from our existing members. In 2020, our massive media profile (we’ve appeared over 50,000 times in news publications this year alone) has led to over 10,000 business owners calling us for support and inquiries about CFIB membership. It is also true that COVID-19 has meant we are struggling with member retention more than normal. That is why we made the decision not to cancel any business owner’s membership if they cannot pay our fee at the moment.I’m very proud of our team of District Managers. We were able to hang on to the vast majority of our team through the pandemic, implement new technology to allow our team to serve members remotely (including membership sales or renewals by phone) and have brought on 12,000 new businesses this year alone.Whether it was recent - more...
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CFIB is a place where everyone works towards supporting the local economy. It provides Purpose to your routine. There are people of all ages and there is no time to be lazy. Everyone rolls up their sleeves. The President and CEO is very personable and approachable. For those bilingual, it's a great place to be to use your French as a large number of employees are bilingual.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
17 July 2020
Thanks for the very nice message. Yes, I hear the President is quite personable too (ha!)I appreciate your support of the team and cause. We really do have an awesome group of people working at CFIB and it is a big part of why we have so many staff with 10, 20, 30 and, in a few cases, 40 years of service at the Federation. It is also great to work in a bilingual environment in Toronto and across the country. I am so impressed with how many of our colleagues speak both French and English fluently, especially as I continue to push myself to use French more every day. Wishing you nothing but the best in the future.Dan Kelly, President and CEO
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Interview process and management are the most open and honest in an organization I have been with. They tell you exactly what to expect in the field, the ratios of success and how to get there. This job requires "pulling" on 30 doors a day of businesses in person, rain, shine, snow, cold etc... I don't think sales experience is a must at all, you need to be able to do a repetitive script all day long with most people saying no. If you can handle constant rejection and can enjoy the few victories each week then you can do this job. If you don't like rejection, repetitiveness and working alone then this isn't for you. They have reps who absolutely love this job and do very well at it, the only way to really know is to try, but seriously think about what I said and who you really are not who you think you can be.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
6 January 2020
Thank you very much for taking the time to share your thoughts on your time at CFIB. I am really pleased that you recognized our open and transparent management style. As you noted, a career at CFIB isn’t for everyone and we try to be as upfront as possible about the wonderful and sometimes challenging parts of each position. It is absolutely true that prospecting independent business owners is an important part of the District Manager job and an element of rejection comes with it. While we have an impressive 110,000 business owners as members, the even better news is that there are 1.1 million small business owners across Canada, and millions more self-employed Canadians who are eligible to become members of CFIB.In addition to encouraging our District Managers to visit prospects on their own, we are working hard to provide more and better quality leads from our various partners and create ways to encourage more referrals from existing members. Our Business Counselling services completed 40,000 calls from members last year with a 95% satisfaction rating. We are looking to leverage these results to ask members for the names of other business owners who may benefit from learning more about this key service.As you note, we have many staff who love this role and do very well at it. Those who do best are typically those who are motivated by meaningful work. Supporting small business owners in having a greater voice in the policies that affect them does not just help our members directly. It also improves the country by helping small business owners focus on growing - more...
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Lot's of rejection with a scripted, generic offer. Reciting a script ver batim with no room for deviation. Some members are welcoming but many are simply suspect
Pros
set your own schedule
Cons
Income potential
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
6 January 2020
Thank you very much for providing this feedback. I’m pleased you found the flexibility to set your own schedule as a positive while you were with CFIB. More and more Canadians are looking for workplace flexibility to help balance work and family life, and we work hard to ensure this is part of the job at CFIB. Usually, the only time this starts to limit income potential is when someone mistakes flexibility for part-time work. Our District Manager roles are full-time positions and need to be treated as such.It is true that we provide a scripted presentation, but we’ve recently made major changes to ensure that District Managers can get the message across in various ways. We have taken the feedback we’ve received on Indeed and directly from our staff seriously. While it is critical that we get our key values across in a consistent way, our District Managers can use their own words in much of the presentation with members and prospects. With over 200 District Managers across Canada and 110,000 members, it is important to protect the integrity of the organization by ensuring everyone hears a consistent message.While many of our most successful District Managers continue to use cold-calling as an effective method of connecting with business owners, it is far from the only approach we use at CFIB. We are focused on providing more and better quality leads to our staff directly from our partners and marketing efforts. And satisfied members remain our best sources of referrals for new members. Our District Managers do a combination of renewing existing members and prospecting - more...
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A wonderful and supportive work environment for anyone interested in Outside sales. I found it to be a very rewarding opportunity! If you like to have a sense of fulfillment from your job then you will love working for the cfib.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
1 October 2019
Thanks so much for the positive comment. I’m so glad that you, like me, get a sense of fulfillment of your work at CFIB. More and more Canadians are looking for a job that allows them to make a difference in society in addition to earning a good living to support themselves and their families. With all the many battles we’ve fought and won for our 110,000 small business owner members, it really feels good. Small business owners just don’t get as much respect as they deserve. When we help fight off a new tax, reduce their costs of key business services or help them get an answer instead of being bounced around 10 different bureaucrats, we really do help business owners grow their firms and create jobs for other Canadians.I am also pleased to hear you’ve found our management team to be supportive. We work really hard to make this a terrific place to work, and while we are not always perfect, we are committed to staying open and listening to all compliments and constructive criticism. Thanks again for writing. Please don’t be shy to share any feedback directly with me on an ongoing basis. –Dan Kelly, President and CEO
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Working for a company with such a great philosophy and a great team work environment is the reason why CFIB is in my opinion the best place to work at. As a recruiter i was really happy with the office environment and the amazing management. EVERYONE, is very supportive and happy, it brought some great experience and knowledge to myself. After moving on from my position, i would go back to CFIB in a heartbeat! GO CFIB
Pros
free coffee, donuts, cookies, great teams, happy environment, minimal stress
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
13 May 2019
Thank you very much for the encouraging words. I just celebrated my 25th anniversary with CFIB and I agree that the mission and corporate culture are hard to beat. Our Toronto office is filled with committed professionals who help serve our 110,000 members and 400 employees. I really appreciate the time you took to write and wish you the best in your new role. As you likely know, we have many colleagues that return to CFIB after gaining experience elsewhere and we’re always happy to have strong performers come back in the future.Dan Kelly, President and CEO
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Speaking as an office worker, CFIB is an excellent place to work. Management is caring and will listen and deal with any complaint you may have. If you want to advance there's nothing to stop you but yourself. You are encouraged to take classes/courses if it will help you advance in your career. We are a not-for-profit business fully funded by our members. Membership is what keeps us going and we're now up to over 110,000 members and growing. I have the pleasure of speaking to our members on a daily basis. We deal with all types of inquiries and our Business Resource team is there to tackle any questions our members may have. We make life easier for the independent business. All they have to do is join CFIB as a member then they can sit back and focus on growing their business. When CRA comes calling and they don't know what to do, we step in an help them cut through the red tape and put their minds at ease. Professional, courteous sincere and eager to help. To me that what CFIB stands for.
Pros
Flexible working hours
Cons
Benefits are a little costly
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
10 April 2019
Wow! What a nice summary of what we do to serve our members. I really appreciate your feedback on the culture we’ve created and I’m pleased you see our management team as caring people. As a non-profit, CFIB is not a place to work where one can get rich, but we do try to ensure it is a place where strong performers can build meaningful careers. More and more Canadians are looking for some meaning and value in their working lives, and we certainly can deliver on that at the Federation. Thanks again for the lovely note – it made my day!Dan Kelly, President and CEO
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The management skills ongoing training was excellent. The culture is defined by the organization's goal to improve the work place life of entrepreneurs.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
10 April 2019
Thanks very much for the positive comments on our management skills training. We’ve made significant investments in providing training opportunities for our staff and managers – it is good news that you saw this as worthwhile. We want to make sure our sales managers have all they need to provide support to our team to help grow and serve our members. I’m really glad you enjoyed your time at CFIB and wish you nothing but the best in the future. Dan Kelly, President and CEO
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CFIB is a not-for-profit lobby organization that focuses on lobbying both the Federal and each Provincial governments to make / change / maintain policy that is favourable to Small Independently owned businesses who are their fee paying membership. A BDM position for any not-for-profit is a difficult position to maintain. Particularly since there aren’t a lot of funds available to compensate the position very well. Leaving the Federation with the ill-conceived marketing strategy of utilizing commission based compensation for BDM based on new member sales. The biggest problem they have created for themselves is that most of there sales come from repeat customers (members) for which they don’t compensate their BDM's very well at all to maintain. As such, they face a significant amount attrition since the primary focuses of there representatives is forced into prospecting for new potential business, and little attention is giving to maintaining their existing cliental. Creating a dismal spiral of seeking to manage the attrition they have spawned in their existing customers by chasing down new customer growth. So without being able to provide consistent representation to their members, which they struggle to maintain without a proper compensation structure, they delve deeper and deeper into that spiral every time they have to hire a new BDM in any given district. Making it a forgone conclusion that inevitably they will exhaust the prospective new business available to approach in any given district and they end up repeatedly calling on the same businesses over and over, much - more...
Pros
100% free to make and maintian your own scheudle, Evaluated only on perfomance expectaions and absoutly no micro-managing
Cons
Extensive, Non-reimbuseabled, Out-of-pocket expenses significnatly erode the modest salary and minimal commissions earned.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
26 November 2018
Wow! Thanks for taking the time to provide such detailed advice. I was very pleased to see that you identified strongly with the mission and work of CFIB. I agree with you that our organization and the services that we provide to small business owners are incredibly important to our members and our country. The main reason we have dozens of staff who have been with CFIB for 20, 30 and now even 40 years is that they identify with our mission and find great meaning in their work. I also agree with your comments about the flexibility that the District Manager position offers and the absence of micro-management. All very true.As for your constructive criticism of our sales approaches, you raise some important points. As I’m not sure when you left us, I thought I should share that we are weeks away from launching our new District Manager compensation plan. This plan is largely based on the feedback that we’ve had from our team. The new plan includes a starting salary, commissions on both membership renewals and new business sales and significant performance-based bonuses. We’ve added a monthly and per-visit expense allowance and maintained a very good benefits package, even expanding our RRSP matching. We are working hard to ensure CFIB is a great place to find meaningful work with a very good income to support yourself and your family. On the management side, you are absolutely right that a top sales rep does not always make a top manager. We take great care in selecting and continuously developing our sales managers and I’m happy to say 2018 is shaping up to be our - more...
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A 48 sentence, 6 page script that has to be memorized word-for-word and used on every single sales call is a bit too much. The secret to sales is listening, not talking. Most potential clients do not want to listen to half the presentation. If you understood this, the membership numbers would not be stagnant at the 110,000 level over the past 5 years.
Pros
Good cause
Cons
Outdated sales mentality and approach.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
5 November 2018
Thanks for the feedback on the cause and our approach. I am really happy you identified with the cause that we represent at CFIB. It sounds like you share the view that small business owners don’t get anywhere near the degree of respect that they deserve. Our work to improve the odds of business owners’ success not only helps the business owner him or herself, but also helps grow the Canadian economy. If someone is looking for work with meaning, we can deliver on that in spades.I also appreciate your comments about our sales script. I am happy to report that we are currently working on an updated, much simpler and shorter approach to presenting the great things we do to members and prospective members. This is, in part, based on feedback that we’ve received from our team. I continue to support the importance of a consistently delivered sales presentation as we have over 200 District Managers who work with a high degree of autonomy. I take very seriously our obligations to work with high integrity and, as a result, want to ensure that our members from coast to coast are left with a solid understanding of the many things we do on their behalf, and also what we don’t do.But I agree that we can find a better way to present this to the public and we have already made significant progress on making this happen. More will be shared with our team in the weeks ahead. Thanks again for sharing your constructive advice. Dan Kelly, President and CEO.
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door to door selling of advocacy. daily you will walk a neighborhood, typically called a 30 door day. you approach all businesses the same, with a script to be followed. typically you will sell 1 new membership for every 90 doors you 'pass'. usually you will present the script 1 - 3 times per day. the hardest part is the continued rejection and push to NOT see you .... owners are busy and do not have time to hear our pitch and when they do ...many like what we do but do not join. Remuneration is ok but if you are willing to sacrifice a lot of your time you can make a 'good' salary.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
26 November 2018
Thanks you very much for the positive rating and kind words about your role at CFIB. I wholeheartedly agree that the work as a District Manager is rewarding and, at times, can be challenging. For those who, like you, are motivated by the potential to earn a good salary while doing important and meaningful work, this is a great job. It does offer a great deal of flexibility and autonomy, but requires each District Manager to put in a full week’s work, as it appears you are doing. One of the things I’m very excited about in our 2019 plans is our work to help provide our District Managers with more high quality leads. We hope to fill the funnel with even more business owners who have expressed an interest in learning more about CFIB or who come to us from one of our many partners, such as Chase, Scotiabank or Payworks.I’m glad you are enjoying your time at CFIB so far. Please don’t be shy to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or advice on how to further improve the work of our District Manager position.Dan Kelly, President and CEO
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A fantastic organization that listens to its people, takes their views and opinions into consideration before making final decisions. If you can work in a very isolated role with little to no pier communication, this is the place for you. The pay structure and work/life balance is second to none. Managers are there if you need them, but not on your back as long as you are hitting your targets, which are incredibly realistic, you will love this job. If you need more social interaction with colleagues and can't take a lot of no's, reconsider. This is a sales role and it takes knocking on doors to hit your targets. Again, this can be accomplished, but if you don't go out every day and cold call, you won't make the money.
Pros
Work/life balance and pay structure
Cons
Sales with a lot of rejection and time on your own.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
7 November 2018
Thanks very much for the positive comments. I think you accurately describe the many wonderful (and challenging) parts of the job. We try hard to ensure we create roles with good work/life balance and the flexibility the District Manager job allows helps us attract many great people. You are right that the job isn’t for everyone, but those who are looking for a solid income while doing work with great meaning find a terrific home at CFIB. That is why we are proud to have dozens of employees with 25, 30 and now even 40 years of employment at CFIB (I will celebrate my 25th anniversary next spring). Thanks again for writing and please don’t be shy about sharing any advice with me directly on an ongoing basis.Dan Kelly, President and CEO
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1 star
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CFIB offers a smart, fast paced work environment. They are very passionate about lobbying for small business and are effective in achieving results. The company has an energetic culture that fosters personal growth. It was a pleasure working for them!
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
4 September 2018
Thanks very much for the very positive note. I'm very pleased you enjoyed your time at CFIB and hope we've added to your career. You are certainly right that it is a fast paced environment. With many governments acting roadblocks in the way of small business owners, there really is no shortage of work for us. I wish you nothing but the best for the future. Dan Kelly, President and CEO.
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As a district manager you must have a strong drive to self motivate yourself. It allows the ability to establish your own work schedule, which will dictate your level of success and income. You must be willing to spend a lot of time travelling to many locations in a single day and have the will to walk through new business doors to deliver the CFIB advantages to business owners. They offer a solid compensation package and treat their employees well.
Pros
Great place for a strong independent, self motivator with strong communication skills.
Cons
No base salary and can be very emotionally draining.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
7 May 2018
Thanks very much for the positive review. You accurately note many of the benefits (and responsibilities) of a career as a District Manager at CFIB. You are quite right, given the independence of the job, those who do best are self-motivated and have strong communication skills. I am pleased that you felt that we treated our employees well and offered a solid compensation package. Speaking of compensation, for newer District Managers (those hired in 2017 and later), we now offer a base salary, in addition to commissions and bonuses, and a small expense allowance. Thanks again for sharing your perspective on your CFIB career. I wish you nothing but the best in your future. Dan Kelly, President and CEO
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Lots of freedom to manage your own schedule. Very little sales team culture due to geography and a lack a funding for sales meetings / sales gatherings. Amazing resources and benefits for small business owneres
Pros
Freedom
Cons
Compensation is not anywhere near what is promised.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
13 February 2018
Thanks for the feedback, particularly about the terrific cause that drives us at CFIB. I completely agree that the resources and benefits for members are second to none and I know our District Managers take great pride in sharing our victories and battles with members. You also noted the benefit of the freedom the job allows. This is certainly one of many benefits of working at CFIB, but it should be noted that the degree of freedom can create challenges for those who do not treat the District Manager role as a full-time job. Our new compensation plan delivers on our promises to staff, but only when team members ensure they are holding up their end of the commitment. As for sales meetings, we have made many recent investments in training and coaching our team members. In fact, early today, I spent an hour with 4 new recruits taking on District Manager roles in various parts of Canada. Obviously, as a non-profit association, we don’t have unlimited funds, but our training and coaching is at a higher level than ever, including paid DM orientation in Toronto and regional meetings across the county. Feel free to share any other thoughts directly with me anytime. Again, thanks for your helpful comments. Dan Kelly, President and CEO.
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it was a very results oriented organization with opportunity for training and growth for those that wanted to put the effort forth. It was very driven to success.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
13 February 2018
I really appreciate you taking the time to provide your feedback on your time at CFIB. I agree that we have created an organization very committed to success – both for our members and staff. Everything we do is intended to help set up a business owner for success. Your note also confirms for me that the investments that we’ve made in improving our training and career building are beginning to pay off. I am really proud of the fact that we’ve found the resources to bring all our new District Managers to spend several days in Toronto for an in-depth orientation. With nearly 200 District Managers across the country, this is not a small investment, but it has really been paying off. We had one of the best years of membership growth in decades and I believe the work we’ve done in improving our hiring and training processes has a lot to do with it. Thanks for your time spent growing CFIB’s membership and influence. I wish you the best. Dan Kelly, President and CEO.
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Great and supportive working environment. The staff are excellent and you really feel like you're making a difference in business owners lives going to work here every day
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
13 February 2018
Thanks very much for your comments on the people, culture and cause at CFIB. You’ve certainly identified the main reasons we have such a large number of employees who have been with the Federation for 20, 30 and in a couple of cases, 40+ years. We’ve worked hard to make CFIB a great place for strong performers to have meaningful careers. Whether or not our colleagues start off with a small business background, most can very quickly get behind the cause of supporting small business owners (especially after the many curve balls our federal and provincial governments have thrown at entrepreneurs). We have a terrific team and I’m very happy you appear to be enjoying your career so far. In addition to your helpful post, please don’t be shy to reach out to me directly for feedback (positive or otherwise) and your ideas. Thanks again. Dan Kelly, President and CEO.
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This job required A LOT of energy for extremely little payoff. The pay structure is confusing, frustrating and full of technicalities that will prevent you from making commissions and bonuses. Management is tuned out and unresponsive.
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Official response from CFIB- CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
24 November 2017
Sorry to hear your CFIB experience wasn’t a positive one. We do work very hard to be clear about both the wonderful and challenging things that come along with working at CFIB. It isn’t clear in your review when you started with us, but I imagine it was before we launched our new compensation system for District Managers. Our new system is much simpler than our earlier version, and includes a base salary, commissions for renewals and new business sales and a solid bonus structure for strong performance. We’ve also added an allowance to cover some expenses – all based on feedback that we’ve had from our colleagues. The job isn’t for everyone and is really suited to self-starters who respect that it is a full-time job. But as the guy who reviews all the pay and bonus cheques, I can assure you that solid workers earn a very good living to support themselves and their families. It is one of the reasons we are proud to have many employees who have been with CFIB for many years. Just this week, I recognized two colleagues – one with 20 and another with 30 years of experience. As for management, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a management team more plugged in and responsive. I take great pride in personally meeting every one of our 400 employees every year, regardless of where they live in Canada. All of our management team does the same. Even though you have moved on, I’d welcome any other feedback you may have. Feel free to contact me directly.Thanks again. Dan KellyPresident and CEO