Vancity employees and members at a community outdoor movie event
Chosen as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers, Canada's Top Family-Friendly Employers and British Columbia's Top Employers for 2013:
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors
(Oct 9, 2012)
Some of the reasons why Vancity
was selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2013
- offers fertility drug treatments through its health benefits plan and provides generous maternity and parental leave top-up payments for new mothers (to 85% of salary for 50 weeks)
- also supports employees who are new fathers and adoptive parents with parental leave top-up payments (to 85% of salary for 35 weeks)
- is the largest employer in Canada to become a "Living Wage Employer", which is more than a simple minimum wage but a program that recognizes the social and economic benefits of paying a real living wage for all its employees and service providers
- encourages ongoing employee development with generous tuition subsidies (to $2,400 each year) as well as a variety of in-house and on-line training programs
- helps employees save for retirement with contributions to a defined benefit pension plan as well as a matching RSP contribution plan -- and helps employees keep more of their money along the way through a number of great financial benefits, including low-interest home loans as well as no fee bank accounts and credit cards
- employees have easy access to a unique head office that literally straddles the city's expanded LRT system, and features solar hot water panels on the roof to pre-warm all of the hot water used in the buildings kitchens, bathrooms and showers
- with a focus on environmental sustainability, the credit union established a target to reduce office waste by 60 percent in 2010 -- and employees recently beat that goal by reducing office waste by an average of 79 percent through aggressive recycling and composting programs
- in addition, the head office building features a rooftop garden (called the Sky Garden) that's managed entirely by a group of volunteer employees
- an important member of the community, the credit union manages the "Vancity Community Foundation", which has distributed financial grants to deserving community organizations for almost two decades
Vancouver City Savings Credit Union (Vancity) is a member-owned co-operative credit union, providing a range of financial products and services to members across the province.
As Canada's largest community-based credit union, Vancity offers a variety of financial products and services including loans, mortgages, credit cards, deposits, investments, and insurance. Along with the familiar Vancity branch locations, the credit union also serves its membership through four primary subsidiaries, including: the Citizens Bank of Canada; Vancity Life Insurance Services Ltd.; Vancity Investment Management; and the Vancity Community Foundation (which distributes grants to community organizations across the province). Established in 1946, the credit union today serves over 479,000 members through 59 branches and continues to be defined by not only its focus on financial success but also to environmental and social sustainability of the communities where it operates
Industry: Credit Unions.
Major Canadian hiring locations: Vancouver BC, Victoria BC, Squamish BC.
Revenues: $411 million.
Full-time employees in Canada: 1,836.
New jobs created in Canada last year: 58.
Part-time employees in Canada: 409.
Workforce engaged on a contract basis: 5%.
Average age of all employees: 40.1.
Longest serving employee: 40.8 years.
Vancity's physical workplace is rated as above-average. The credit union's head office is within minutes of downtown Vancouver, situated at the tip of False Creek Seawall. The Seawall extends to Stanley Park and Kitsilano, and enables employees to bike, jog, or rollerblade during breaks. Built prior to LEED guidelines, the office has won Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) awards for environmentally friendly operation. Low E glass was used in the construction of the building's exterior, minimizing seasonal heat loss and gain. In addition, Vancity installed solar panels onto the roof of the building, allowing them to heat 100% of the hot water used in kitchens, bathrooms and showers with solar energy. Inside, the head office features an onsite fitness facility (with instructor-led pilates, yoga, and kick boxing classes); employee lounge (with comfortable seating and television); fully-equipped kitchen areas with free coffee and tea; a top floor lunchroom; nap room; secure bicycle parking; transit subsidies; free parking; walking access to the SkyTrain. The office is also close to Creekside Community Recreation Centre, Chinatown, and Science World.
Work Atmosphere & Communications
Vancity's work atmosphere is rated as average. Vancity employees enjoy casual dress Fridays; concierge services available. The credit union hosts the unique "V After Dark" social at a downtown hotel for employees and their spouses. Over 2,000 employees gathered for the event that featured a silent auction supporting emerging artists, a slam poet, youth hip hop dancers, dance students, an alt-celtic punk group and a local cover band. Vancity also organizes a variety of additional social events during the year, including and employee Recognition Night, family discounts to the Pacific National Exhibition and a day at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The credit union keeps employees up-to-date through a corporate intranet site.
Financial Benefits & Compensation
Vancity's financial benefits are rated as above-average. To keep salaries competitive the company participates in outside salary surveys every 6 months. Individual salaries are reviewed every 12 months. In addition to salary surveys, Vancity provides profit-sharing plan for all employees; signing bonuses for some employees; defined benefit pension with employer contributions (up to 15.5% of salary); new employee referral bonuses (to $800 for some positions); low-interest home loans; and discounted company products including no fee bank accounts, no credit card fees, discounted consumer loans, and discounted foreign exchange rates.
Health & Family-Friendly Benefits
Vancity's health and family benefits are rated as above-average. Vancity's flexible health benefis plan offer three levels of coverage and is managed by Pacific Blue Cross. As part of the health plan, the employer pays 70% of the premiums. The health plan is a flexible plan with adjustable premiums and coverage levels. Employees who work 18 hours per week receive coverage. The maximum waiting period for new employees is 90 days. The basic plan includes routine dental; restorative dental; orthodontics; eyecare ($270 every 2 years); traditional medicine coverage; alternative medicine coverage; fertility treatment medications; employee assistance (EAP) plan; medical equipment and supplies; massage therapy; homecare; travel insurance. As part of the flexible plan, retired employees can also take advantage of continuing enrollment in the health benefits plan. Vancity's family-friendly benefits include; maternity top-up payments (to 85% of salary for 52 weeks); parental leave top-up for new fathers (to 85% of salary for 35 weeks); parental leave top-up for adoptive parents (to 85% of salary for 35 weeks); health benefits during maternity and parental leave. Additional family-friendly benefits include; flexible working hours; 35-hour work week (with full pay); shortened work week (fewer hours with less pay); compressed work week; telecommuting; and job sharing.
Vacation & Personal Time-Off
Vancity's vacation and personal time-off are rated as above-average. New employees receive 3 weeks of vacation allowance after their first year. Vacation increases after 4 years on the job. Long-serving employees receive a maximum of 6 weeks of vacation each year. Employees receive 12 paid sick days every year. (Note: some employees receive 4 weeks paid vacation to start, moving to a maximum of 7 weeks for longer serving employees).
Vancity's employee engagement program is rated as very good. Employees receive individual performance reviews every 6 months. Managers receive training in how to conduct effective performance reviews. Performance feedback is also solicited from co-workers and other managers familiar with each employee's work. As part of the review process employees can provide confidential feedback on their manager's performance. Exit interviews are provided for departing employees. The company's performance plan is design to draw-out employee goals within their current role as well as longer term career aspirations. Employees and managers meet annually to set goals and follow-up during the year with less formal quarterly and mid-year reviews. The entire initiative is designed to encourage open communication between managers and employees. Vancity hires an outside consultant to conduct confidential employee satisfaction and engagement surveys. (These surveys are held every 12 months).
Training & Skills Development
Vancity's training and skills development program is rated as above-average. Employees receive tuition subsidies for courses related to their position. (Employer pays up to $2,400 in subsidies). Employees may also receive tuition subsidies for courses unrelated to their current position. (Employer pays up to $2,400 in tuition subsidies). Vancity also provides subsidies for professional accreditations; career planning services; in-house training programs; online training programs; online employee skills inventory; new employee orientation program; formal management training program. Vancity's in-house training programs cover a range of subjects, including leadership training, financial services, and management training. Vancity also offers employees an opportunity to participate in their co-operative studies program in Bologna, Italy. Through this program, employees learn within a classroom environment as well as gain practical experience working with other co-operatives.
Vancity's community involvement program is rated as exceptional. Vancity and its employees actively support a variety of local and international charitable initiatives. Employees take part in the selection of charitable groups assisted each year. Approximately 161 charitable and community organizations were supported last year. Vancity also matches employee charitable donations and donates money to charities where employees volunteer. Employees are also encouraged to volunteer at Vancity-sponsored events throughout the year. One of Vancity's most impressive initiatives is the Vancity Community Foundation, which distributes grants to community organizations. The incredibly far-sighted initiative offers generous financial to local non-profit organizations and community projects across the province -- helping to build-up the province's foundations one project at a time. Employees also participate in "Each One Teach One", a program that trains frontline Vancity staff with cultural and language competencies (in addition to English), to deliver basic financial literacy training sessions to under served members of the community. The sessions help new Canadian learn the basics of the Canadian financial system.
Vancity is the largest employer in Canada to become "Living Wage Employer" under Metro Vancover's Living Wage Employers Program. The program highlights the fact that many working families may still find themselves living below the poverty line -- and the program's goal is to ensure that the living wage becomes to the base standard rate of pay, helping to lift working families out of poverty. The program, and Vancity's involvement, is an enlightened approach to reducing poverty in the Canada's third largest city, "Paying a living wage to our employees and service providers will help make families stronger and communities healthier. British Columbia has the highest cost of living yet the lowest minimum wage in Canada." Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO of Vancity. With British Columbia's minimum wage set at $8.75 per hour and the living wage set at $18.81 per hour, this most recent and impressive initiative falls within Vancity's long history of understanding, drawing attention to and responding to the immediate needs of its community.
Vancity also has a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship, being one of the first financial institutions to offer several financial products to helps customers 'go green', including reduced loan rates for hybrid vehicles and energy efficient home renovations. The company also operates a unique green building grant program (funded by profits from its credit card operations) and continues to reduce it carbon footprint through the province-wide "Cut the Carbon" campaign -- impressively, Vancity achieved carbon neutrality back in 2008.
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