Our commitment to continuous improvement for our employee experience

Like many nonprofits, we started out as a purely volunteer organization. But in order to grow and scale, just like any other organization or company, a nonprofit has to invest in its people and its infrastructure. In our daily work to create impact for the international communities we serve and in our commitment to our staff, who are so integral to everything we do, we are always striving to be better. We’ve chronicled this journey, with all of the downs as well as the ups, in an HR Case Study, which quotes our Chief People Officer, Victoria MacDonald, on the changes we’ve made over the past three years to improve our service to staff:

“Because the organization had grown so much, we needed to take a very close look at HR practices. We went back to the very basics, starting at the beginning of the employee life cycle to rewrite the employee offer letter. Then we talked about focusing on two main things with employees: role clarity and setting goals. And we worked on the leadership structure, so that the founders and executives stepped back and became less operational, allowing Head-level managers to lead. The aim was, and is, to create and institute best-in-class people processes—that stuff takes time. What I will say is that I’ve never worked with finer people. It is a real privilege.”

Victoria MacDonald, Chief People Manager, WE

Read the story of our journey as people managers, in the full-length case study or the summary

We are proud of the awards and third-party recognition WE has received over the years. At the same time, we understand that what made us stand out—our commitment to continuous improvement and innovation as people managers—must continue to be our mandate. As noted in our HR Case Study:

“WE is committed to continuously improving the employee experience to ensure our people achieve fulfillment, meaning and excellence in their career with us. Every year we listen to and learn from our employees in order to improve the experience and make our culture even better. Anonymous employee surveys tell us that we have made some significant improvements in key engagement areas. Since 2015, we have seen a 2.85 x improvement in the area of work-life balance, 5.33 x improvement in providing adequate compensation, 1.22 x improvement in overall employee recognition and 1.73 x improvement in the effectiveness of our internal employee communications efforts.”

Third-party assessment and recognition

We’re proud of our team. Seventy-seven percent of our leadership are female department heads and directors, 80 percent of WE team members see themselves staying with WE for the foreseeable future and 98 percent of WE employees believe they are making a positive change in the world because of their work.

Every organization can always strive for further improvement, and we’re no exception. That’s why we’ve engaged our staff via third-party survey systems and sought out independent expertise to provide us with research, feedback and recommendations. Among the findings:

TemboStatus uses an independent third-party survey system for employees to provide candid feedback measuring engagement, employment culture and experience. The 2018 results include these key findings: 90 percent of staff say they are personally connected to our organization’s mission; 96 percent believe we are making a difference in the world and 78 percent of WE team members say they love their job.

Singh Lamarche LLP, a law firm specializing in employment law and workplace investigations, found that the specific WE policies they reviewed—promoting accessibility and protecting employees from discrimination, harassment and violence—represent the “gold standard” in employment policies.

The Right Honourable Kim Campbell, in reviewing WE’s HR policies and reports, recognized WE’s efforts to continually assess, measure and implement HR best practices.

  • “I have long followed WE’s work and its impressive record of empowering women and girls around the world. Led by the widely admired rights activist Michelle Douglas as Chair of its Board of Directors, the proudly Canadian charitable organization routinely engages the leading minds in human resources and legal experts when developing and reviewing its workplace policies and standards.” Read her full statement here.

Dr. David Baum noted in his 2018 case study reviewing WE’s HR strategy, policies and employee experience:

  • “I believe that WE has become one of the best and most effective organizations in its sector, with a robust HR infrastructure. As one would expect in an organization that has scaled so quickly, the WE organization has faced workplace and HR challenges; but it is worth noting that these challenges are not unique and they closely mirror other non-profits and start-ups I’ve observed. Start-ups in general are complex organizations, often driven by a small group of highly dedicated staff trying to overcome difficult roadblocks in simply trying to exist. They are known for fast-paced, high-pressure work environments with late nights and weekend hours being the norm.”

Interested in working at WE?

We have opportunities open with both WE Charity and ME to WE. Click on the link to explore all the current openings!