RBC's apology a classic piece of crisis management - Macleans.ca

RBC’s apology a classic piece of crisis management

Tease the day: Gord Nixon’s “open letter to Canadians” seeks to smooth things over with customers


Jeff McIntosh/CP

It may have taken the Royal Bank of Canada a few days, but they finally decided to manage the crisis that’s rocked its image. Ever since it came to light that an outsourcing firm, iGate, hired 45 temporary foreign workers to replace Canadian employees at RBC, the bank’s been on the defensive. Reporters have dug into the profitable relationship between iGate and RBC, and even Prime Minister Stephen Harper signalled his intent yesterday to reform the temporary foreign workers program.

This morning, RBC ran full-page ads in each national newspaper that apologized effusively for its mistakes, and pledging that all affected Canadian employees will find work elsewhere in the company. The disarming letter features all the hallmarks of classic crisis management: admit to an error, even if you followed the rules; explain that you meant no harm; emphasize that you’re listening to customers; apologize; and say it’ll never happen again. Finally, stand up for the good work your business has done since it opened its doors—oh, and thank all the good work your people do every day.

Here’s the letter, in full.

RBC has been in the news this week in a way no company ever wants to be.

The recent debate about an outsourcing arrangement for some technology services has raised important questions.

While we are compliant with the regulations, the debate has been about something else. The question for many people is not about doing only what the rules require – it’s about doing what employees, clients, shareholders and Canadians expect of RBC. And that’s something we take very much to heart.

Despite our best efforts, we don’t always meet everyone’s expectations, and when we get it wrong you are quick to tell us. You have my assurance that I’m listening and we are making the following commitments.

First, I want to apologize to the employees affected by this outsourcing arrangement as we should have been more sensitive and helpful to them. All will be offered comparable job opportunities within the bank.

Second, we are reviewing our supplier arrangements and policies with a continued focus on Canadian jobs and prosperity, balancing our desire to be both a successful business and a leading corporate citizen.

Third, our Canadian client call centres are located in Canada and support our domestic and our U.S. business, and they will remain in Canada.

Fourth, we are preparing a new initiative aimed at helping young people gain an important first work experience in our company, which we will announce in the weeks ahead.

RBC proudly employs over 57,000 people in Canada. Over the last four years, despite a challenging global economy, we added almost 3,000 full-time jobs in Canada. We also hire over 2,000 youth in Canada each year and we support thousands more jobs through the purchases we make from Canadian suppliers. As we continue to grow, so will the number of jobs for Canadians.

RBC opened for business in 1864 and we have worked hard since then to earn the confidence and support of the community. Today, we remain every bit as committed to earning the right to be our clients’ first choice, providing rewarding careers for our employees, delivering returns to shareholders who invest with us, and supporting the communities in which we are privileged to operate.

I’d like to close by thanking our employees, clients, shareholders and community partners for your input and continued support.

What’s above the fold this morning?

The Globe and Mail leads with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s pledge to reform Canada’s temporary foreign workers program. The National Post fronts NDP Leader Tom Mulcair’s attempt to remove socialist rhetoric from the party constitution. The Toronto Star goes above the fold with the “handgun pipeline,” a corridor that sees handguns smuggled into Canada. The Ottawa Citizen leads with the Public Service Alliance of Canada’s anti-Harper campaign that backfired online. iPolitics fronts the mixed reaction in Justin Trudeau’s riding to his potential future as prime minister. CBC.ca leads with a report that “cause of death” errors occur too frequently in Canadian hospitals. National Newswatch showcases a poll that has the federal Liberals leading the Conservatives and NDP.

Stories that will be (mostly) missed

1. Fracking. Environment Canada’s former deputy minister wanted industry to voluntarily disclose the potion of chemicals its members use when they undertake hydraulic fracturing to extract gas. 2. Parole. The Supreme Court will hear the case of three men who believe that, since they were sentenced before stricter parole rules came into effect, they should be eligible under old parole rules.
3. Harmful doctor. A physician in northern B.C. who was praised for unconventional attempts to save a woman’s life is being accused of harming other patients using unapproved methods. 4. Hells Angels. Quebec’s Court of Appeal upheld the release of 31 Hells Angels members whose trials would have taken too long to process. They faced gangsterism and drug trafficking charges.

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RBC’s apology a classic piece of crisis management

  1. Apology not accepted! Canadians need to boycott companies using TFWs.

    • Guess that means no Timmys for you, then.

      Also, what RBC is doing is outsourcing, not using Temporary Foreign Workers. A TFW is someone coming to Canada on a short term work assignment, not someone coming to Canada to learn how to do the job, then going back to their own country to do the job permanently.

      • Nope, no more timmys for me.

        Maybe you should go look at the list of companies using TFWs. rbc is on the list.

      • Strangely you may actually be right – the crux of the matter being that what RBC did becomes an illegal ABUSE of the temporary workers program, designed to facilitate their legal (if unconscionable)outsourcing

      • You get paid to write this stuff, right? It would not be the first time it has happened and it won’t be the last.

  2. How long until we experience a RBS/Natwest scale outage with a major bank in Canada? All of our banks are following RBS’s lead on outsourcing IT services.

    • I hope it’s soon :)

      Maybe this will be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

  3. In other countries, xenophobic white people complaining about foreigners stealing jobs would be a problem but here in Canada it is encouraged. Making companies publicly ‘apologize’ for their behaviour is very left wing, reeducation through labour, why should RBC feel bad for spreading Canada’s wealth beyond our borders?

    • Because it’s putting Canadians out of work, and driving down wages for the rest.

      • When did RBC become an employment agency? Here I thought they were a bank, but apparently in Canada if you’re a bank, you must also be an IT firm. It’s not like RBC is the first company in Canada to outsource it’s IT needs.

        • You’re entitled to your opinion. But so is everyone else who is now outraged to learn that a Canadian bank would rather hire TFWs instead of Canadians and actually help boost the economy, not hurt it. This in turn will lead people to not use rbc’s services. Now how do you think that is going to effect their bottom line? I can tell you, their stocks are on a downward turn.

          If a business can’t provide a service they way the consumer wants, that business will not do well. And Canadians are sick of dealing with companies that bring in TFWs and outsource jobs!

          • Um, actually their stock is UP since this “story” broke. Closed at $58.65 last Friday, presently sitting at $60.50. But thank you for speaking for all Canadians.

          • I watched it yesterday and am continuing to watch it today and it’s down. You’re not a Canadian, rick, you’re a traitor who would help facilitate companies bringing in TFWs and outsourcing jobs. How does it feel to bankrupt middle class Canada? So what a few shareholders can hog all the money?

          • The story came out on Sunday. The stock then proceeded to go up 2 dollars in the next 3 days, and then down 20 cents in the next 2 days… and your conclusion is that the stock is on a “downward turn” since the story broke? Remind me not to take investment advice from you.

            Please explain to me how lower banking fees for Canadians will result in a “bankrupt middle class”. Seems to me that paying above market rate for services would be more likely to bankrupt the middle class. Which is exactly what you and your ilk are proposing. It’s not like these 45 people are going to be unemployed for long. They work in IT, there’s tonnes of demand for their skills.

            But what do I know, I’m just a “traitor” LOL.

          • Since people have started voicing anger with the company, closing accounts and demanding action from politicians, who have said they are going to investigate, I think things are going to continue to go down, numb nuts.

          • Ya, I’m going to be taking investment advice from a teenager who’s “debating skills” amount to calling someone numb nuts.

            I suggest you try getting through life without doing business with anybody who works with foreign companies. See how that works out for you, genius.

            Oh, and btw the stock is still up!

          • I’m 30 thank you, and technically self employed.

            I’m doing pretty good, but I was on this trip, long before this story broke. The only things I can’t seem to buy made at least in the States. is my computer gear. Even the sake (rice wine) I drink is made in Toronto :)

            It’s really not hard to do, you just can’t be a tight ass about it. But you cons are so tight ass, a lump a coal would turn into a diamond, after only a couple of days, up you know where.

          • By changing laws so TFW’s can replace Canadian workers, wages are being forced down. So, with wages dropping and inflation increasing, more household banqruptcies are a given. As for your assertion that bank fees will be lowered, the overall trend has been toward higher fees, even as bank profits increase.

          • That you most certainly are, is a Traitor. You would never dared to say that, to our young Canadian boys, during WW11. You would have never got out, out of your foxhole alive.

            Loyalty to our country and our own people comes first. However. Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation Party of 1989. Many say? That is where Harper’s abusive dictatorship stems from.

            Be careful for what you wish for. Be very careful.

          • Lower banking fees? BS; they are raising them as of June 1. Got my notice last week.

          • Actually. RBC is terrified, for good reason. Thousands of Canadians are pulling their funds, out of RBC. I took my funds out of my own Bank, just in case.
            However. It is very kind of you, to offer your job to a cheap foreign worker. Good for you.

        • Of course not. RBC did this because, Harper said they could. Harper permitted all corporations, to hire cheap foreign labor. However, Canadians have loyalty to their country, that comes first. We have been woken up. This country is not our Canada anymore. Harper took that away from us. Guess that is why, there is chatter about Provinces, getting out of Harper’s Canada. No-one wants, to be given to Communist China.

          Loyal Canadians detest, Dictatorship, Communism and Fascism. Our young Canadian boys were shot and blown into fragments in WW11, so we wouldn’t have such as Harper governing this country.

          • Yes, because nothing is more threatening to a free society than a democratically elected government! And of course before Harper came around, no company in Canada ever outsourced anything, there was no TFW’s, and we all hugged and sang koombaya all day long. Immigrants were given only jobs as cab drivers and ditch diggers, as they should, because only 3rd and 4th generation Canadians should have good paying jobs, regardless of how lazy and entitled they are.

            Welcome to La-La land.

          • Not like undre harpo. The program has ballooned over 300%. Mostly since the one omnibus budget bill which lowered TFW pay and made it easier for companies to abuse the system.

            Did you know during the depression, all immigration was stopped? Gotta ask yourself how good for the economy is harpo, especially when national debt is rising?

    • Um… this is a free market response. If a company does something that its customers do not approve of, then bad publicity and boycotts are a perfectly rational and desirable market response, because it sends a market signal to the company (and to other companies) about what it is that their customers want of them. This in turn leads to the companies being able to provide better services to their customers. The classic “left wing” response would be for people to demand that government pass laws or create regulation to effect the same outcome (ironically, this particular move by RBC was caused by a short-sighted law to begin with, but that’s neither here nor there).

      • Bravo for that reply.

      • “The classic “left wing” response would be for people to demand that government pass laws …. ”

        Globe/Mail Apr 12 2013:
        Stephen Harper is putting Canadian employers on notice that the temporary foreign worker program has grown too large, forcing Ottawa to bring in new rules to ensure it is only used to fill the country’s most acute labour shortages.

        • This government often flirts with left-wing policies when it is politically expedient for them to do so.

        • Of course? What were we thinking? After all? Harper is the enabler of all corporations, to hire cheap foreign labor. Tar sands, mines and all. Chinese resource workers, earn $800 per month.

          Trust Harper? Not on your Nelly. He is trying to pass the buck onto RBC for using Harper’s permission, to hire cheap foreign labor, in the first place.

          Harper had damned well put himself on notice, absolutely first. He is bringing over, thousands of Chinese resource workers.

    • Exactly. Why should we care, Harper is giving our resources and resource jobs to China. After all, Chinese resource oil workers earn, $800 per month. Harper’s very wonderful Omnibus Bill gives China permission to sue any Canadians, that block China’s way into Canada. 300 BC miners applied for the 200 BC mine jobs, Harper gave to, China’s $800 per month miners. There are 2000 more Chinese miners on their way.

      Good for you. If you are volunteering to give your job to any foreign worker? Please let Harper know. This could save a Canadians job. Sadly most Canadians, just can’t live on $800 per month. Canada has the highest cost of living, in all of the America’s.

    • They aren’t “spreading weath”. They’re exploiting the poor. And they’re forcing down the pay of Canadian’s while they do it. And standing up for these workers isn’t xenophobic, it’s compassionate.

  4. Mean while back at the ranch, the shareholders ( your average investor ) is cheering until their company follows suit. When are citizens going to wise up and stop feeding these monsters. Gee, our over-educated children can’t find a sustaining future. What a crock of dung

  5. Is RBC not a partial shareholder in iGate? I keep hearing this in the financial circles.

    • How dare you use such a tragedy to try and deflect from the story at hand. You should be ashamed!

      • LOL ya, how DARE I post a story that will be missed by all Canadian MSM, in a “story” about articles that will be missed by the MSM. The faux outrage really is hilarious though.

        • You are one sick monster. You should immigrate to North Korea or China. They put no value on Human Rights either. Especially no value on the poor in their countries. That’s exactly how Dictatorships work.

          You have no right to live in this country, what-so-ever.

          • Yes, rick please leave Canada, you’re no longer welcome :)

  6. So when your ‘spin’ on Monday didn’t work – you finally apologized!. You claimed you ‘listened’, is it when you realized you we have the power because we hold the purse? You finally ‘see-though’ – is it because the piles of deposits, investments and businesses had been withdrawn? (Yes, I’ve taken my hard earned CANADIAN MONIES from RBC and Royal Dominion). Don’t ever bite the hands that feed you! We will keep an eye on you and other companies like you – directly benefiting from the Canadian masses’ monies.
    The Canadians (all, including immigrants) patriotism and sensibilities has awaken and we will forever vigilant – even if the man in the Parliament is asleep. Yes RBC is not the first company that outsourced jobs but you are first to rub it in the Canadians noses! You have shown your arrogance, bankrupt social conscience and lack of social obligations to Canada and its people (Yes, those same people that lines your pockets).
    With the rising digital crime, I cringe to think how safe warehousing personal and financial information floating outside Canadian soil. Sure digital crime can be committed anywhere but I trust the laws in this side of the ocean better.
    Again, thank you for awakening Canadians to realize that we come first – and must come first. Just imagine if majority fall victim (I hear we are getting there) to the outsourcing scheme, the domino effect would be like this: no jobs – no money – no deposits/investments = no bank business / no millions bonus; and for Canada: no taxes, no pension / benefits = another bankrupt country.
    Contrary to Mr. Corcoran (Financial Post), Canadians are victims not of HYSTERIA but of corporate greed! But no more. Canadians will not let this happen. Together we build! (I have done my part, what have you done for our Canada Mr. Corcoran?)

    • Canadian people tend to think, loyalty to our country comes first. Loyalty to our enlisted military. We are very loyal to, our old and young War Veterans. What offends them, offends us. We have always been proud of our military. However. Harper wants to throw them, in the garbage pit. Send your military to war, and then refuse to pay them for danger and look after them, when they are maimed? What kind of a monster does that?

      We tend to believe, Canadian jobs, are for Canadians. We believe in, Democracy, Civil Rights and Liberties, Freedom of Speech and our Human Rights. Harper doesn’t believe in Canada, what-so-ever. Harper will sell his own people out, to the lowest foreign bidder.

  7. I think Harper should read over his, Omnibus Bill again. He gave China permission to sue any Canadians, blocking China’s way into Canada. Harper has permitted China, to set up shop on our Canadian soil, at the tar sands. China refused to pay Canadian wages. Harper gave China permission to bring over their, $800 per month resource oil workers. All corporations want to hire that cheap labor.

    China sued in BC, to take BC mine jobs. 300 BC miners applied for the 200 BC mine jobs, Harper gave to China’s, cheap $800 per month miners.

    Harper is bringing China into, the rich resources of the High Arctic. There are nine mines and mine expansions, going into Northern BC. Just who will Harper give, all of those jobs to?

    Why did Harper give the wealthiest corporations, another $60 billion in tax reductions?

    Sorry doesn’t cut it RBC. I moved my accounts out of my own Bank, just in case. The bottom line is, Harper is the enabler of all cheap foreign labor. That a very great number of Canadians, won’t forgive nor forget.

  8. The Canadian Banks already make huge profits. So to wring out even more profit, Canadians lose their jobs to foreigners. Shame. Don’t tell me Canada has no IT workers. What about the ones they are laying off?

  9. I read in another article today … “”“Mr. Nixon is an intelligent individual and no doubt came to appreciate quite quickly that maintaining the line was actually damaging the reputation of the bank.”””

    Erm … um .. Newsflash – Any Joe Canadian could have told him that on SUNDAY – when his HR chief spokes-robot Zabeen Hirji was absolutely eviscerated on CBC…. *what WAS she doing with her hands, anyway?*

    What type of gilded cage are these executives living in? ZERO concept that people can see right through weasely corp. speak, in an instant.

    Boggles. the. mind.

    • Harper is the enabler. RBC is taking advantage of what, Harper permitted them to do. Harper is permitting China to take the tar sands and the resource jobs too.

      If you remember? CSIS even warned of China’s huge inroads into Canada. BC was specifically mentioned because, ex BC Liberal Premier gave BC to China long ago. It is common knowledge, Campbell works for Harper. Campbell was rewarded by Harper, the post of High Commissioner to England, for doing Harper’s dirty work for him. The sell-out of Canada to China began in BC, back in Campbell’s reign of terror.

      Harper’s Omnibus Bill even permits Communist China, to sue any Canadians who block China’s invasion into Canada. Therefore China sued in BC, to take the 200 mine jobs 300 BC miners applied for.

      China’s resource workers at the tar sand and in mines earn $800 per month.

      Harper’s treachery to Canadians and Canada, will cost him the election.

  10. Oops! We got caught screwing Canada and Canadians. We are sorry we got caught. When you are not looking we will do it again. I am so tired of mega outfits screwing this country. The hard working Canuck takes it up the back side again.
    This apology is so patently false that it is almost laughable.
    Fire this POS and get a real Canadian in to take his place.

  11. There’s an article in the Star today more fully exploring the banks’ outsourcing strategies — more media coverage might shame these highly profitable companies into ceasing this rape of the ecomomy

  12. One fact that I notice no one has mentioned, is the loss of money to our economy. The wages that are paid to the “overseas” workers go overseas to be spent in other countries. These dollars are removed from our economy for good. Canada’s economic loss.

    Although we need to open the doors to immigrants to keep Canada’s population growing and lower paying jobs filled, a lot of the immigrants send a large portion of their monthly cheque to the families they left behind in their home countries. I admire them for doing so, but this also is a loss of economic support for Canada and a boost for the countries receiving this money.

    Although I have no way of identifying how much money leaves this country, I am aware that these dollars leave this country and are gone for good – our economy suffers.

    Should our government and large companies (RBC) not have some sort of responsibility to limit the amount of funds leaving our country and encourage the dollars to remain in circulating in the country?

  13. So much [justified] outrage and yet so many are eager for governments to privatize and outsource administration of highly personal information (birth certificates, drivers licences, etc.). Can anyone truly believe that the end result would be different from what’s in the news now?

  14. Follow the money.
    The Conservative Government of Canada makes $BILLIONS from the TFW’s.
    TFW permit, Visa permit, new this budget an employer permit fee, 1.88% E.I. premiums (non refundable AND not collectible), 10% Income Tax withholding on wages paid charged for EVERY TFW, multiply $5000. in fees for the 338,000 TFW’s let in in 2012.
    World Vision stated “for every person who is trafficked in the sex trade, NINE are trafficked for labour”…..I just expected better of Canadians.

  15. Join a credit union. Provincially regulated and owned by their members with one vote per member no matter the size of your account.

  16. RBC made more than 2 billion dollars in one quarter, how much more do they want to make so that they can so easily hire non-Canadians, legally or not, to take the jobs of their Canadian workers? Gord Nixon made more than 12 million dollars in one year, how much of that came from getting rid of Canadians and hiring lower paid non-Canadians? How can executives like him look at themselves without getting sick? And what I find even more revolting is that they make their Canadian workers teach and train those who’ll end up with their jobs! This letter of apology was written only because he was shamed into writing it, and his words like “offered comparable job opportunities within the bank” do sound more self-serving than sincere and “compliant with the regulations” should be regulations stretched almost to the breaking point by their corporate greed. I think I read somewhere some words “legal but not moral”, and to that I add “well said” indeed.