MOTIVATION Vancity: Motivating for Personal and Professional Success _______________________________________________________________________ What makes a great workplace?

Vancity has the answer. For three consecutive years, from 2004 to 2006, it has been on Maclean’s magazine’s list of Canada’s top 100 employers. Each year, it receives thousands of applications from people who want the opportunity to work for a company that motivates its employees by providing them with respect, responsibility, and support along with a competitive salary and benefits package.1 As a result of the many benefits, as well as the programs and creative approaches to doing business, employees are empowered, self-directed, and productive. They work to achieve their personal and professional potential and to ensure financial success for Vancity.
History of the company

Vancity is a Vancouver-based company, founded in 1946, that began with only $22 in total assets.2 Today, the company has over 2,000 employees and manages over $10.5 billion in assets. It is a member-owned credit union, providing a complete range of financial services to about 350,000 members.3 Vancity continues to be committed to its original purpose and values: working with people and communities to help them thrive and prosper, while operating with integrity, innovation, and responsibility.4 Vancity acknowledges that a healthy and committed workforce is the reason they are able to sustain productivity and financial success within a competitive industry.
Keeping Employees Healthy

Employees are the heart of Vancity, and keeping the heart healthy is paramount to sustaining competitiveness for this company. With this in mind, Vancity offers a number of creative and motivational programs and rewards. Vancity provides its employees with the opportunity to set company policies and procedures that impact both their work and life. Employees are trusted to develop, in the words of the company, their own dynamic; if work is stressful, home needs to let up a bit, and the reverse is true also.5 For example, the company understands that if an employee has a young child at home, it may be necessary to build a workday that allows for flexibility. This positive approach to recognizing the challenges of life and work, and empowering employees to create the right dynamic to deal with them, is reflected in increased opportunity for the employee and the company. Theorists have long supported the connection between physical health and mental health. Over the years, and strictly driven by the employees’ desire for personal development, Vancity has initiated a number of programs focused on assisting employees in adopting a plan for a healthier life. Programs have included opportunities to work with specialists in healthcare for developing personal plans for health and wellness. As well, “employee spirit champions” promote health and wellness programs among employees, and every

summer the company develops a get-active program that initiates a healthy competition between teams of employees.6
Pay, Benefits, and Incentives

Vancity offers a competitive pay and benefits program that includes dental and life insurance, three to six weeks of annual vacation, and care days that can be used for personal and family illness or injury. Other incentives include annual bonuses, tuition reimbursement, retirement planning, reduced rates on personal financial services such as mortgages and loans, as well as interest free loans to purchase computers. Vancity also recognizes the importance of family for employees. It offers an employee and family assistance program that provides short-term counselling for employees and their immediate families, access to emergency child care for younger children, new parent programs, a wellness room for nursing mothers, and a pager lending program for family illness or emergency situations.7 The pay program, along with the variety of incentives and family support offered, all serve to motivate and enhance the overall performance of the employees.
Making the Connections

Communication is the key to developing the healthy and caring environments that provide opportunities for employees and organizations to prosper. At Vancity, internal communication is as important as external communication. Current and relevant company information is available on the intranet, InSite. This site also includes a recognition page where the achievements of employees are celebrated within the company. As well, an annual, more formal evening also celebrates employee accomplishments. During this event, the company formally acknowledges the support that family members provide Vancity employees. There is also a regular system of communication that links management and employees. Management regularly visits branch offices to hold open meetings with employees. This provides employees with the opportunity to state work initiatives or accomplishments that they are proud of, or to pose any questions or concerns that they may have.8 Can Vancity continue to be a great workplace? Research would conclude that it could. This is a progressive company that strives to develop the full potential of their employees. Employees, in return, are committed to ensuring the future growth and continued financial success of the company.
___________________________________________________________________________ Endnotes
1 2

Information on the corporate website, <www.vifamily.ca/library/social/vancity.pdf>. Ibid, <www.vancitycareers.com/ourCompany/history.html>. 3 Information online, <www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vancouver_City_Savings_Credit_Union>. 4 Information on the corporate website, <www.vifamily.ca/library/social/vancity.pdf>.

5 6

Ibid, op. cit. Ibid, <www.vifamily.ca>. 7 Ibid, op. cit. 8 Andrew Wahl, et al., “Best Workplaces 2006,” Canadian Business (April 10, 2006).

Questions

1. Identify how Vancity satisfies both the lower-order and higher-order needs as identified within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs. 2. Provide examples of both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards offered at Vancity. 3. Describe how Vancity has established performance-contingent rewards.
You Do the Research

1. Research another Canadian company on Maclean’s magazine’s current list of Canada’s top 100 employers. Compare and contrast that company’s programs and incentives to those offered at Vancity. 2. Locate the most current Accountability Report for Vancity. Complete a social audit to determine which social responsibility strategy Vancity is pursuing.

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