Message from our Chief People Officer
As a youth empowerment group of 12-year-old activists that has grown into an international social purpose organization with more than 1,000 employees, we have consciously worked to protect and advocate for our staff with best-in- class human resources, safety and accessibility policies, which are externally reviewed and updated on a regular basis. The #metoo movement factors into our employee training, policies and the culture of respect we engender. At WE, the safety of our staff, volunteers, youth participants and all stakeholders is our top priority. Our organization does not tolerate inappropriate, offensive or violent behaviors in the workplace or in any of our programming locations. We have strict policies on misconduct, discrimination and harassment designed to protect our employees, volunteers and participants. Executive Summary
We have well-established policies and procedures that ensure it is clear to all employees the standard of conduct WE expects. All employees are required to sign off on the policies at time of hire. Our three-day Orientation shares all of these resources with our new employees. Expectations, policies and procedures are detailed in our Employee Handbook, which is accessible to all employees through our internal communications portal. Throughout our more than 20 years of operation, we have prioritized the wellness and safety of our staff, and that of the children, youth and adults who take part in our programming, both domestically and abroad. • Employment law and workplace investigations specialists Singh Lamarche LLP call the WE employee protection policies they reviewed “gold standard” (see “Third-Party Commendation and Reviews,” p. 8). • We provide staff with multiple avenues, including anonymously, for reporting any behavior or activity they find uncomfortable or inappropriate (see “Reporting Issues of Concern,” p. 16). • WE has received 16 national and international awards for our culture and impact—recognized twice by Waterstone Human Capital as one of Canada’s Top 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures and selected three times as a Top Employer for Young People (see “Recognition and Awards,” p. 9). • As proud as we are of our achievements, we recognize that every organization can strive for improvement. For that reason, we have sought out independent assessments, working exhaustively with leading experts in human resources management, to provide us with research, feedback and recommendations (see “Third-Party Commendation and Reviews,” p. 8). • Women rise through the ranks of WE at an exceptional rate, with 84 percent of our senior leadership positions being held by females. In addition, women lead all but three of our organization’s departments, and earn 16 of the top 20 salaries (see “Empowered Women, Empower Women,” pp. 4–5). Through Onboarding procedures and internal communications, we work to ensure that all employees, regardless of tenure or title, are aware of the multiple ways they can report any issue that causes them concern, and that they feel absolutely safe in doing so. Employees can choose the reporting option that is most comfortable and convenient for them: • report to their manager; • report to another manager; • report directly to the Chief People Officer; • report anonymously through our secure online WE Connect internal communications portal.
Victoria MacDonald brings more than 20 years of experience in Human Resources to WE Charity. She has been a certified member of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) since 1996 and carries the organization’s Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) credentials. Before arriving at WE in 2017, Victoria spent a decade working with AstraZeneca Canada and Takeda Canada, two industry- leading multinational pharmaceutical companies. These organizations earned recognition for their workplace culture and employee engagement. Victoria also led teams at the Canadian technology-based entrepreneurial firms Marketwired/Sysomos and Flight Network, developing foundational people-management strategies that allowed these organizations to see tremendous growth.
Since joining WE in 2017, I’ve been focused on continuously building a best-in-class HR team and processes, drawing on more than two decades of experience. I’m proud to say that our People Operations and Culture team possesses more than 50 years of collective experience in human resource management. It’s meaningful that, in their independent review, workplace advocates Singh Lamarche LLP stated that WE’s policies are the “gold standard” in promoting accessibility, transparency and protecting employees from discrimination and harassment of any kind. WE has multiple avenues for employees to report concerns. They can do so anonymously via our WE Connect portal, through their manager or their HR Business Partner. WE also has an active Health and Safety committee with representation from both our employee and management groups. This group is highly visible in the organization and employees can feel they can report to this group as well. All concerns are brought to my attention and an investigation is completed. It is my accountability to ensure that these issues are dealt with in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act regulations. Our team has had issues raised to us—and in each of those cases we dealt with the matter to the highest standards possible. This means conducting full investigations, documenting appropriately and ensuring, where required, the appropriate disciplinary action. I can confidently say that every attempt is taken to ensure that WE’s employees are safe at work.
~ Victoria MacDonald
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