Manulife Singapore celebrates festive season with kindness initiative

Staff will get set sum of money to carry out acts of kindness

Manulife Singapore celebrates festive season with kindness initiative

As we head into December, many HR leaders are planning ways to celebrate the holiday season with everyone still on remote or hybrid arrangements. Global financial services giant Manulife has decided to gift staffers in their 37,000-strong workforce the local equivalent of CAD$50 (SGD$53.50) each to perform acts of kindness. It’s the second year they’re running the #ManulifeActofKindness program.

Dr Khoo Kah Siang, CEO at Manulife Singapore, said: “A company is only as strong as its community. We at Manulife firmly believe that every person has a role to play in building up a resilient, well-resourced and altruistic society.”

Through the initiative, employees will be encouraged to take time to support a personal local cause. They can then have the option to share their stories on social media using the program’s hashtag. These stories will be rechannelled to the campaign’s official site.

“As many in our midst continue to navigate through the effects of the pandemic, we wanted to empower people to lend practical help to the ones around them – especially in this year-end season,” said Dr Khoo. “Small gestures can create a big impact and we’re excited to see how the program can truly be an effective force for good.”

Read more: Unused annual leave? It's time for an HR vacation

Does corporate giving still matter to employees?

Manulife isn’t the only firm offering staff corporate giving opportunities as part of its HR initiatives. Earlier this year, The Adecco Group launched Adecco Cares, which allowed employees to donate their excess annual leave allowance to local charities. The drive, which ran in July 2021, saw a total of 95 workdays converted into funds for several charities. Adecco’s SVP HR – APAC, Shubha Shridharan told HRD that the voluntary program was a hit with employees as they were very keen to give back to society.

The popularity of such programs at Manulife and Adecco should come as no surprise in our times as residents in Singapore continue to be invested in giving back. The prolonged pandemic has likely only encouraged individuals to be even more generous. Recent figures from Giving.sg, an online donation portal, is testament to the continued interest to help those in need. Last year, donations made through the site hit a record high of $102 million at close of financial year on March 31, 2021. The amount received on the online donation portal is said to have exceeded figures from the year before. There have also been stories of Singaporeans giving the government payouts they received, a one-off token sum of about $600, to charities because they felt that someone else needed it more to survive the crisis.

Read more: Is CSR still relevant to employees?

Manulife commitment to CSR

Therefore, Manulife’s commitment to CSR through its ‘Act of Kindness’ program will likely be impactful and enable a positive employee experience. Besides the token sum for employees to support a meaningful personal cause, the firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion council (DEI) in Singapore will also hold a fundraiser for local beneficiaries like Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) and Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). The proceeds will go towards providing special education, vocational training and employment support service for APSN trainees and YWCA’s community programs.

Globally, Manulife made corporate donations worth over $21million to charities in 2020, with an additional $4.2million coming out of pocket from employees worldwide. Besides donates, staffers have also put in a total of 31,795 volunteer hours to meaningful causes.

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