When HSBC Bank Canada donated $500,000 to four children’s hospitals across the country last month, it was up to employees to decide on the recipients of those donations.

Employees chose children’s health as the cause they most wanted to support, says Kim Toews, executive vice-president and head of human resources at HSBC Bank Canada.

Read: Canadians want volunteering opportunities organized by employers: study

“We take our responsibilities to support the communities where we operate very seriously, and that starts with us being active participants in community life,” she says. “We know that involving our employees in charitable decisions and supporting their volunteer efforts can help to engender pride, increase job satisfaction and employee loyalty. It can also help them to build new skills that contribute to their personal development and enhance their everyday performance.”

Staff at all levels within the bank are encouraged to give back to the community, according to Toews. This includes working with charitable partners in endeavours such as drop-in events and long-term volunteer programs.

The company also providers employees with one paid day per year to volunteer with a registered Canadian charity of their choice, she says. In 2017, HSBC Bank Canada staff spent 6,034 paid work hours volunteering.

Read: Financial services employers most likely to support volunteerism: study

One of Toews’ favourite employee volunteer endeavours is their involvement in helping youth learn money management skills.

“Our support in 2017 enabled the program to reach students in Quebec, southern Alberta and British Columbia for the first time,” she says. “In the 2017-18 school year, 78 employees volunteered 680 hours in their communities.

“HSBC’s annual United Way campaign is another cornerstone, employee-driven volunteering and fundraising initiative supporting our local communities,” adds Toews, noting the company is celebrating the campaign’s 30th anniversary in Canada in 2018. More than a third of the bank’s employees in Canada participates annually.

Read: Cisco workers get five days to give back under formalized volunteer policy

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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