Your Connection to Canada’s Volunteering Community

Newly released Canadian data confirms companies need an employee volunteer program to attract and retain talent

Jun 27, 2017

Companies must facilitate and support employee choice in community service

Ottawa, ON – According to a study by Volunteer Canada and Investors Group, 68 percent of Canadians polled by IPSOS Public Affairs said that, given the choice, they would choose a job with a company that has a strong volunteering culture over one that does not. Further, Canadians are looking to their employer to help them volunteer: 60 percent of Canadians would volunteer more if it was organized by an employer.

However, simply offering employees time off to volunteer for a non-profit organization may not be enough. The poll also showed Canadians are involved in a wide range of activities that improve their community such as donating used clothing or raising awareness of an issue through social media. Volunteer Canada believes this points to a need for companies to reconsider traditional employee community engagement program parameters and expand their definition of what constitutes volunteering.

“Human Resources professionals agree that successful recruitment and retention requires a ‘whole person’ approach that supports not only the employee’s work but their passions, values and family life,” says Elizabeth Dove, Director of Corporate Citizenship with Volunteer Canada. “Employer-supported volunteering (ESV) must transcend traditional concepts of volunteerism and encourage the employee’s sense of ‘individual social responsibility (ISR)’ by supporting them to choose from a wider array of cause and participation opportunities than ever before. This could include the company giving time off to support an elderly neighbour or a manager commending an employee for organizing an event in their neighbourhood.”

The members of Volunteer Canada’s national Corporate Council on Volunteering (CCOV), like Investors Group, Cenovus Energy, and Accenture, are leaders in ESV in Canada and are paying attention to this new trend:

“By encouraging and supporting employee volunteerism through a variety of programs that allow employees to access support in ways that are convenient, meaningful and relevant to them we hope to attract and retain top talent while making a positive difference in the communities we serve,” says Trevor Krahn, Director of Community Investment at Investors Group. “We fully appreciate that employees entering the workforce today not only desire these opportunities; they expect them. We also understand that the definition of volunteerism is evolving, and as such we have been evolving our programs in turn to recognize this shift.”

“When employees know that the organizations and causes that are important to them are important to Cenovus, we’re able to make a positive difference in the community while at the same time helping ensure that Cenovus is a great place to work,” says Megan Marshall, Cenovus Senior Community Programs Advisor.

“Through myGivingCanada, our volunteering and giving platform, we offer employees choice to work on the volunteer projects they are most passionate about, driving positive change for our charity partners, and giving our people a strong sense of pride and satisfaction,” says Deborah Swartz, Corporate Citizenship lead for Canada with Accenture.

Volunteer Canada and the CCOV are committed to examining the implications of the research findings for employers and communities as more than one third of Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers say that they receive some sort of support from their employers, as reported in the Statistics Canada 2013 General Social Survey. Workplaces are also playing an increasingly important role for employee families and for retirees.

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Volunteer Canada is the national voice for volunteerism in Canada committed to increasing and supporting volunteerism and civic participation. The companies of the Corporate Council on Volunteering collectively work to showcase and promote proven and promising practices in ESV and corporate-community relations. Volunteer.ca

For more information:
Laura Allardyce, Manager of Communications and Marketing
Volunteer Canada
LAllardyce@volunteer.ca / 613-231-4371 ext. 245

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