Innovative Tool Capitalizes on Skills-Building Potential of Volunteer
OTTAWA, June 23, 2011 /CNW/ - Research about the changing landscape of
volunteerism in Canada identifies comprehensive Employee Volunteer
Programs as critical to effective community building. A new tool helps
employees give back while developing essential skills to advance their
To capitalize on skills-building potential, Volunteer Canada and
Manulife Financial developed a new tool, titled Skills Plus. The tool identifies hard skills required for certain occupations (e.g.
creating financial statements or managing meetings), as well as the
core competencies that enable people to be highly effective employees.
Skills Plus matches the experience gained from a variety of volunteer opportunities
with key competencies required in a range of occupations. Employees and
managers can use the tool to assess the career-development benefits of
volunteering. Voluntary organizations can use it to design their
volunteer opportunities with real skill development lens.
"Corporations that have a robust corporate citizenship strategy which
goes beyond community investment and donating dollars but integrates
community involvement by actively supporting their employees' desire to
participate in community are setting the tone for more innovative
volunteer engagement in Canada where all parties can benefit," said
Ruth MacKenzie, President & CEO, Volunteer Canada.
Manulife Financial is an example of corporate leadership when it comes
to employer-supported volunteers. Today marks an important milestone
for the company, which is celebrating the one-year anniversary of a
partnership with Volunteer Canada to help advance the corporation's
official adoption of volunteering as its signature cause.
Manulife employees across Canada are supported in their volunteer
efforts through a number of initiatives, including the Community Spirit
Day program and Habitat for Humanity home sponsorship, that give
employees a day off to volunteer and grant programs that support
charities where employees volunteer their time.
"Since announcing our commitment to volunteerism last year, we've seen
an incredible increase in awareness and participation in Manulife
programs that support employee engagement," said Nicole Boivin, Senior
Vice-President, HR and Communications, Manulife Financial.
"Our commitment is to continue to build on our existing employee
programs and also develop new and innovative initiatives that keep up
with employee enthusiasm for volunteering and support the not for
profit sector in its ability to deliver and manage great volunteer
programs - we see it as a two-way street."
Responding to findings in the Bridging the Gap research report, Manulife plans to develop new employee volunteer
strategies by working closely with employees to better understand their
volunteering styles, what they're looking for in a volunteer
experience, and how they hope to make a difference in their local
communities across Canada.
Results of the pan-Canadian research study, Bridging the Gap, commissioned by Manulife Financial in partnership with Volunteer
Canada, provides the most current national data about the changing
culture of volunteering in Canada, including information specific to
employer-supported volunteers. The study notes, among many of its key
findings, the benefits of a common trend among some of Canada's most
successful companies to establish Employee Volunteer Programs. These
programs are rooted in the philosophy that community volunteer work is
also a matter of corporate concern and should be another measure of a
company's social responsibility.
"Formal employee volunteer programs and other forms of support for
employees who are looking for meaningful volunteer experiences are
having a positive impact on the communities in which they work as well
as workforce morale, productivity, job satisfaction, employee
retention, and staff development," said MacKenzie.
Media Note: Visit www.volunteer.ca/study for details on all other campaign components including the Bridging the Gap research summary report and research fact sheets as well as details
about Getvolunteering.ca, a powerful volunteer Matching tool, and a 'Get Volunteering' Facebook
page and application.
Building the Bridge Campaign
In December 2010, Volunteer Canada and Manulife Financial unveiled Bridging the Gap, a pan-Canada research study identifying gaps between what Canadians
look for when they consider volunteering and how organizations engage
The research gathered practical information organizations can use to
engage volunteers in four distinct demographic groups: youth, family,
baby boomers, and employer-supported volunteers. Volunteer Canada and
Manulife are currently focused on filling these gaps through their Building the Bridge campaign launched in March 2011.
This multi-faceted effort includes a suite of digital components
including: the new Skills Plus tool; the Volunteer Quiz (VQ); a 'Get Volunteering' web portal, Facebook page and application; a volunteer matching tool, at the recently enhanced Getinvolved.ca, sponsored by Manulife Financial; a digital ad campaign; and the new Action Bénévole. New tools and resources will continue to roll out throughout 2011.
Volunteer Canada - The National Voice for Volunteerism in Canada
With more than 30 years of passionate commitment to the cause of
volunteering and civic participation, Volunteer Canada inspires Canadians to be engaged from coast to coast to coast.
Volunteer Canada develops programs, leads national initiatives, creates
tools, and conducts vital research for the non-profit sector.
Focused on influencing social policy and developing valuable resources
around volunteerism, the organization helps non-profits and businesses
build capacity for the changing culture of volunteerism.
It recognizes the impact of Canada's 12.5 million volunteers through
national campaigns and works with its Corporate Council on Volunteering
to catalyze conversations about corporate community involvement.
Volunteer Canada works collaboratively with volunteer centres,
business, and non-profit organizations to support volunteerism and the
ultimate agents of social change, Canada's volunteers.
Manulife's Commitment to Volunteerism
Preparing for the future is something Manulife gets behind every day. The Manulife Volunteer Commitment focuses on
helping Canadians build a better future on three important levels: by
inspiring Canadians to want to get involved and give back; by
supporting initiatives that help Canadians match their unique skills
and talents with meaningful volunteer opportunities; and by engaging
Canadians in the idea of volunteerism and its value to the future of
SOURCE Manulife Financial
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