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
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 best year out of the last 20! Finally, we’ve made a massive investment in marketing CFIB in a more significant way, including radio ads in several markets.
I really appreciate the feedback and wish you nothing but success on your next endeavour.
Dan Kelly, President and CEO less
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
President and CEO
Thanks for the feedback from your time at CFIB. I’m glad you identify with CFIB’s mission of helping small businesses. After our giant campaign against the federal tax changes, small businesses are recognizing more than ever that they need an advocacy organization that has their backs. We’re certainly seeing a nice uptick in membership as a result.
You are right that there is a lot of time on your own in the District Manager position. I know it wasn’t for you, but for many others, the independence of the position is one of the attractive features of working at the federation. While you note the initial support you received, we are working harder than ever to provide more ongoing support and coaching. Of course, we do count on our employees to let us know when additional support is needed. To be in a position to offer ongoing support to our 200 District Managers across Canada, we do need to have a fairly large group of strong managers. In fact, we just added a few new talented managers to ensure we can improve the help we can provide to our new District Managers.
We’ve also made significant changes to our commission, bonus and expense allowances based on feedback from District Managers. I’m sorry the position wasn’t for you, but we work hard every day to make CFIB a terrific place for our staff to build a meaningful career.
Dan Kelly, President and CEO
Thanks for sharing this feedback on your new role at CFIB. I hope we had a chance to meet at a recent orientation session. One of the parts of my job that I like the best is getting to meet with all our new District Managers when we bring them to Toronto or Montreal for their initial training session. It is a major expense for us, but I find the investment we are making in new colleagues is really paying off in superior performance, as you noted. You are quite right, while we offer a salary, benefit and expense component to our total compensation, commissions and bonuses are a big part of our overall pay structure. We do review this regularly and I’d be pleased to have you share any feedback with me directly. Thanks again for posting this helpful comment.
Dan Kelly, President and CEO
Comment – 1 June 2016
We take feedback from our current and former employees very seriously. We also know that the District Manager role is challenging and is not the right fit for everyone. We admire the work our 200+ District Managers around the country do for CFIB every day, their belief in our mission to support independent business in Canada and commitment to success. We thank you for your contribution while you worked for us and wish you all the best of success with your future career choices.
Comment – 14 March 2016
Thank you for posting your experience at CFIB. I’m happy you’ve noted your support of the basic mission of CFIB in serving independent business owners. I agree completely.
I take all feedback on jobs at CFIB very seriously. As you know, the minimum pay structure is just that – a minimum that is there to support District Managers until they get into the groove of the job. Very few of our colleagues earn that minimum beyond the first few weeks. In fact, our turnover rates were down nearly 30% in 2015 following a focus on recruitment and recent changes to the compensation system. However, it isn’t a job for everyone. Those that like independence, defending a group of entrepreneurs who have few others in their corner and no upward cap on their earning potential do very well. Our employee survey had an over 80% completion rate and we had strong results in most areas of sales compensation (and we are looking carefully at some areas where we need to do more).
I’m sorry that the role didn’t meet your expectations and am happy to have you contact me directly if there is any specific feedback you’d like to share. With 109,000 members across Canada and nearly 400 employees, I like to hold myself accountable to our members and colleagues and would be pleased to follow-up directly. Also, I wish you the absolute best on your future career efforts.
Dan Kelly, President and CEO.