Champions of Employee Volunteerism


Recently, Volunteer Calgary sat down with several of our key corporate partners to learn about the way they approach employee volunteering. Today, we look at two of those partners — Chevron Canada Resources and ConocoPhillips Canada. Let’s find out what makes them champions of EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEERISM. 

Chevron Canada Resources 

People Making a Difference (PMAD 365) — That’s the name of Chevron’s employee volunteer program. It is also what makes them a unique company at the forefront of the new wave of corporate and community partnership.

“Long-term financial success relies on the goodwill, cooperation and overall well-being of the communities in which they operate,” says Amy Wood, Public Affairs Advisor at Chevron Canada Resources. This belief is at the core of the Chevron’s involvement strategy.

Chevron has a unique way of integrating different ways for employees to get involved into all aspects of their business. By offering several grant and pledge matching opportunities throughout the year, some catering specifically to the core business objectives and some catering to the interests and passions of individuals, Chevron motivates employees to participate. They also incorporate teambuilding into their involvement program through company-sponsored volunteer opportunities.

 Partnership is important to Chevron, as it allows them to drive greater impact around issues that are important to the company and the employees. Chevron Canada Resources has partnered with two “Adopted Agencies”, one in each of their Canadian offices. Through these community partnerships, Chevron employees provide volunteer support for skills-based projects and one-time events.

Chevron also promotes volunteerism on personal time, but takes it a step further by offering incentive for employees to make a greater impact by using their skills to better the community. They employ a matrix for grant contributions wherein employee involvement in projects that create lasting and systemic change can qualify for a larger grant. At the same time, this challenges non-profits to find creative ways to make Chevron’s contributions go further and become more sustainable within their organizations.

Thanks to a combination of approaches that suits all interests and commitments, Chevron Canada Business Unit’s employee participation rates deserve a standing ovation! In 2011, 75% of employees participated in events that promoted education and awareness of community issues; 66% of employees participated in company sponsored volunteer activities; and 16% of employees contributed their specific skills and talents to agencies in the community.

What advice does Chevron have for a company just starting an employee volunteer program? Start small, build a strong plan that aligns with your business objectives and be sure to evaluate and be open to change. Times change, people change and passions change, but as long as you have strong support from employees and leaders, your program will evolve and find success.

Chevron is the sponsor of the Volunteer Calgary’s Leadership AwardsLeaders in Employee Volunteering Award.  This award recognizes Calgary businesses that demonstrate leadership and innovation in workplace volunteerism. 

Volunteer Calgary thanks Amy Wood, Public Affairs Advisor at Chevron Canada Resources for her time and for sharing the success story of Chevron Canada Resources in our community.

ConocoPhillips Canada

ConocoPhillips’ Employee Volunteer Program has been running successfully for over 8 years and was the winner of the 2008 Wild Rose Corporate Volunteer Award of Excellence. In 2011, over 1,300 ConocoPhillips Canada employees volunteered over 22,000 hours with well over 200 agencies — a true testament to the strength of the company’s employee volunteer engagement.

“ConocoPhillips Canada believes that volunteers are the driving force behind our community investment initiatives and help us realize our goal of enriching lives and strengthening community,” says Barb Simic, Manager, Community Investment and Volunteerism.

ConocoPhillips Canada ensures the success of their employee volunteer program by garnering support and participation at every level — from senior leaders down to department teams and individuals.  Leaders are highly engaged, participating in a range of volunteer opportunities, from sitting on the board of the organization that the company supports to acting as champions and promoting the internal volunteer program to their team members.

ConocoPhillips Canada makes volunteering accessible and meaningful to employees. Department teams and individuals can easily get involved through company-sponsored team building volunteer events. The company supports several causes that employees can participate in regularly, such as serving meals at the Drop-In Centre, weekly reading programs at ConnaughtSchool, United Way Days of Caring and the SPIRIT of Christmas program where teams adopt 30 families every year. Further, their Valuing Volunteer Funds enable employees to make a greater impact through the $500 they can donate to their organization of choice after 40 hours of volunteering. 

“ConocoPhillips believes in conducting our business in a way that promotes economic growth, a healthy environment and vibrant communities, now and in the future. In support of the belief that ‘ConocoPhillips is an exciting place to work’, we provide many different volunteer opportunities at many levels showing employees that we are a progressive, community-minded employer of choice,” says Cleo Howe, Senior Advisor, Community Investment and Volunteerism.

ConocoPhillips shares this recommendation with companies just starting their employee volunteer program: Start with some kind of tool (survey, focus group, etc.) to get a feel for what your staff want. Then, identify champions to engage with and support the program.

 ConocoPhillips Canada is the sponsor of Volunteer Calgary’s Leadership Awards –  Heart of Calgary Award. The Heart of Calgary Award recognizes life-long commitment to volunteerism and building a strong sustainable community, which aligns with ConocoPhillips’ vision, one that is achieved through support and dedication of remarkable volunteers.

Volunteer Calgary thanks Barbara Simic, Manager, Community Investment and Volunteerism and Cleo Howe, Senior Advisor, Community Investment and Volunteerism at ConocoPhillips Canada for sharing their story of success with us.

To learn more about how you can start or enhance an employee volunteer program in your company, please contact Janet Kerrigan, Volunteer Calgary’s Corporate Citizenship Coordinator at at 403-231-1428.


About Propellus

Propellus is a non-profit organization that has been empowering organizations since 1955. Through a dynamic range of consulting, training and member services, it helps organizations envision and realize new paths, practices and possibilities. Propellus guides, mentors and educates clients, arming them with tools and resources to help boost organizational effectiveness. Propellus strengthens organizations; in doing so, it leads the way toward building thriving communities.
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