Recognized as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Dec 6, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Manulife was selected as one of Greater Toronto's Top Employers (2019):
- Manulife focuses its charitable efforts on empowering individuals to live healthier and more financially secure lives -- the company provides paid time off to volunteer (donating over 23,000 volunteer hours on company time in the past year) and matches employee donations (to a maximum of $5,000 each year)
- As part of Manulife's "Wellness Matters" initiative, the company provides resources and services to support the physical and mental well-being of employees, including information on mental health, nutrition, fitness and personalized wellness programming -- Manulife also employs Wellness Consultants and a Wellness Champions Network to increase employee participation in related events
- Manulife encourages employees to adopt an ownership mentality through a share purchase plan (available to all employees) and offers a full suite of financial incentives, including signing bonuses for some, year-end bonuses for all, and generous referral bonuses of up to $5,000 for successful hires
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 8, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Manulife was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2018):
- Manulife maintains an extensive co-op program, providing students with opportunities to participate in a variety of activities, including job shadowing, exposure to the company's executive team, and a practical co-op project which involves the creation of a real business tool or analysis of a current business problem -- additionally, the program includes a paid day off to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and a monthly series on topics such as LinkedIn and career paths
- In the past year, Manulife created a new data science development program to recruit recent computer science graduates -- the 24-month program is geared towards individuals with advanced or predictive analytics experience and features various rotations (internal and international), and senior-level mentorship
- Manulife nurtures student talent through a Canada-wide internship program, which offers a broad range of opportunities in finance, risk and accounting, human resources, information systems, operations, marketing and communications, and legal disciplines
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 1, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Manulife was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2018):
- For the second consecutive year, Manulife participated in Disabilities Mentoring Day, pairing 10 employees with persons with disabilities in order to better understand their everyday experience
- Manulife's Toronto office manages Women@Manulife, which offers networking events, discussion groups and speaker presentations -- and also creates smaller forums for women from all levels to connect with leaders such as "Lunch with a Leader" or "An Evening with Our CEO"
- In 2016, Manulife increased mental health coverage to $10,000 per annum for employees and their dependents, and is also exploring a partnership with Progress Place to offer internships to individuals who have overcome mental illness and are looking to reintegrate into the workplace
"You hear unconscious bias and that can stir up some emotions, and I'm not sure anyone likes to think of themselves as having a bias toward a colleague. Through the training, we could connect directly with other Leaders across the organization and apply course learnings to real life examples [...] This course allowed me not only to uncover biases, but create a connection with another Leader who was open and equally motivated to uncover their own. The lasting impact is being enlightened to these biases and knowing that all of us carry these predispositions, the task we are left with is, what are we going to do about it?" Sarah S., Inside Insurance Sales Director
Diversity at Manulife starts 'at the top of the house'
It all started with a lunch in February, 2017 to coincide with Black History Month. Malaika Gonzalez, an Administrative Coordinator in the downtown Toronto office of Manulife, arranged the outing with a group of like-minded colleagues. By June, they were up and running as VIBE -- Valuing the Inclusion of Black Employees -- one of seven Manulife employee resource groups that boast over 7,000 members across North America as well as in Asia.
"The employee resource groups support Manulife's culture of diversity and inclusion," says Gonzalez. "They boost morale. Employees take pride in participating in ERG events."
The ERGs are just one component of Manulife's commitment to diversity and inclusion. That commitment starts "at the top of the house," as Stephani Kingsmill, who served many years as Manulife's Executive Vice-President Human Resources, puts it.
"Our board of directors expects to get regular updates from senior management on progress against various diversity initiatives," says Kingsmill, now Senior Advisor to the President. "Last year, our President and Chief Executive Officer Roy Gori asked his direct reports to come up with plans to further improve diversity within their respective organizations."
Gori chairs Manulife's Diversity Council, which includes executives at various levels of the organization and from various areas of the company. The council works directly with the human resources team to develop the diversity strategy, execute specific initiatives and ensure that the various business groups remain committed to a diverse and inclusive corporate culture.
"Manulife has built a culture where diversity is encouraged and embraced," says Kingsmill. "We are committed to setting tone at the top, providing people with the opportunity to learn from and about one another, and importantly, creating an environment where all people can be themselves."
Manulife has developed several initiatives to put principles into practice. Manulife's Work Smart program, for example, which recognizes that employees often deal with challenges ranging from childcare to elder care, allows employees to work from home or adopt flexible hours of work.
"We've put in place technology to support flexible work arrangements," Kingsmill adds. "Twenty-eight per cent of our North American workforce is on a flexible plan. It's a core part of our value proposition to employees."
Manulife is also attempting to break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues by introducing one of the most generous benefits plans in the financial services industry. Employees, as well as family members, are entitled to up to $10,000 per year per person to cover counselling or other forms of treatment.
Kingsmill notes that Manulife supports people with disabilities through a mentoring program. In April and October last year, individuals with disabilities came in for a day of job shadowing at company offices in the Greater Boston area and the Greater Toronto Area. Employees were encouraged to speak about living with disabilities and a number of them shared educational pieces and personal perspectives and stories on internal social channels.
Employee resource groups may begin as grassroots initiatives, but they, too, receive plenty of support from "the top of the house." In addition to VIBE, the groups include Professionals Reaching Out for Unity and Diversity (PROUD) for LGBTQ employees, the Global Women's Alliance (GWA), and the Pan-Asian Community for Employee Success (PACES). Each group has an executive sponsor and the company makes available a pool of funds that are distributed to the groups each year based on the size of the employee base in the region and the activities planned.
VIBE, one of the newest groups, grew quickly to 175 members from a variety of cultural backgrounds, including Caribbean, West Indian and African. And they've kept themselves busy. They had a booth at last year's Employee Experience Fair, held lunch time meet-and-greets, and organized holiday pot lucks. The run-up to Black History Month is perhaps the busiest time of the year for the group. "We have so many ideas," Gonzalez says. "It's a big project for us."