Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 8, 2015)
Here are some of the reasons why Manulife was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2016):
- In an effort to encourage ongoing employee health and wellness, Manulife created the "Wellness Matters" initiative -- the program provides resources and services to support the physical and mental well-being of employees, including information on nutrition, fitness and personalized wellness programming and consultation
- Manulife provides support to employees who want to start a family with maternity leave top-up payments and a generous subsidy for in vitro fertilization (IVF) if needed (up to $15,000)
- Manulife helps employees prepare for life after work with retirement planning assistance and phased-in work options, and also manages "Alumni Connect", an online community to keep retirees and former employees connected
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016)
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 10, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Manulife was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2016):
- Manulife maintains an extensive co-op program, providing students with opportunities to participate in a variety of activities and events including job-shadowing in different departments, events with the executive team and a practical co-op project, which often results in the creation of an actual business tool or analysis of a real business problem
- Manulife's co-op programs may also include international assignments and monthly student events are hosted by the company's campus team, such as workshops on resume writing, interview skills and social media
- Individuals completing their Masters programs can gain experience through Manulife's Financial Risk Management Internship or a dedicated leadership development program to help fast-track high potential MBA grads
Manulife offers a new culture focused on innovation
Over the past five years, Manulife has reshaped its corporate culture to emphasize innovation, accountability, empowerment, diversity and collaboration. Even suits and ties at the Toronto-based global financial services company have been traded for business casual attire.
"That is huge," says Kristin Ezekiel, Director, Campus Recruitment & Strategic Sourcing - North America. "With an increased focus on our customers, we're continuously looking for ways to improve what we do and how we do it, so we're pushing outside our comfort zone, and we didn't always do that."
More than ever, the company is eager for new ideas and new energy. "Manulife is a company where young people can make a great impact," says President and Chief Executive Officer Donald Arthur Guloien. "We value their input and ideas and we invest in their development through mentorship, networking, practical experience and global opportunities."
The organization's changing face is due in part to a shifting employee demographic. "Today, 41 per cent of all our employees are under the age of 35," notes Guloien. "Many of them are socially conscious and appreciate that our business, at its core, makes a contribution to society by offering great products and advice which helps people attain their personal goals.
Manulife gives its young employees the flexibility, freedom and support to own their futures, says Ezekiel. "We want employees to feel empowered," she says. "We really have a commitment to our young people because many of them will go on to be our leaders of tomorrow."
Through its extensive co-op program, Manulife offers exciting opportunities to students even prior to graduation. Co-op students participate in a variety of activities, including job shadowing in different departments, special events involving company executives, and a practical co-op project, which often results in the creation of an actual business tool or the analysis of a real business problem.
For new graduates, the company offers fast-track development programs in areas such as actuarial, finance, investments and information systems. Entry-level opportunities are also available across a broad range of disciplines, including human resources, information techno- logy, operations, legal, marketing and communications.
Innovation is not just a buzzword at Manulife, and its Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT) in Toronto and the RED Lab in Kitchener-Waterloo embody the company's new focus on creativity and idea generation. LOFT Toronto launched in December 2015 with a "hackathon" (@innovateforward) that brought together 140 employees and external participants, who pitched new product and service ideas to a Dragon's Den-style panel, all vying for a top prize of $10,000. The LOFT brings together a diverse group to work on innovative solutions for Manulife's customers.
Wenwen Gao, Actuary, Group Risk, says it's a great time for young professionals to work at Manulife. "Young people are really encouraged to try new things, to question existing ways and improve how we do things," says the 27-year-old actuary, who began working in the company's Toronto head office in December 2013. "They don't stifle suggestions."
Gao, who studied actuarial science and computer science at the University of Toronto, also appreciates Manulife's actuarial rotation program, which allows employees to transition to new roles every two or three years. "That's something that really attracted me," she says, "because it enables me to broaden my horizons and gives me wide exposure to different areas of the company."
With operations in North America and 11 countries in Asia, Gao says she was drawn, too, by the potential to pursue international opportunities. It helps, she adds, that Manulife managers support career growth. That growth is aided by a multitude of networking events, professional development activities, mentorship programs and education subsidies. Taken together, they create an environment where challenging and diverse career paths are possible.
"As young people grow," says Gao, "managers entrust them to take owner- ship of what they do. This encourages me to take on increased responsibilities and makes me feel motivated and challenged."
This article appeared in the magazine announcing this year's Canada's Top Employers for Young People winners, published January 11, 2016 in The Globe and Mail. This article was prepared with the financial support of the employer, which did not write or edit its contents.