by Angela Agostino, CHRP

Director, Human Resources
Pitney Bowes Canada

Pitney Bowes has a long history of encouraging volunteerism to help build healthy communities. Volunteering in the communities we live and work in offers an opportunity for employees to develop technical, leadership, and team-building skills. It also has the added benefit of building morale and helps attract and retain the talent that fuels our workforce.

In 2008, Pitney Bowes Canada partnered with various local organizations to launch a pilot mentorship project to a select group of managers to mentor new Canadians. The pilot afforded our managers the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills by seeing talent through the eyes of culturally diverse groups. This experience enriched their understanding and appreciation for cultural differences as our workplace becomes more and more diverse in culture and thought.

Our partners, ALLIES, and local organizations are key to our success in creating a diverse and inclusive culture.

During National Volunteer week in April 2009, Pitney Bowes officially extended the Mentorship program to its employees in major Canadian cities. This rewarding program matches Pitney Bowes employees with skilled immigrants within similar occupations. As a mentor, employees help a skilled immigrant by sharing their knowledge of the Canadian work culture, providing feedback on their occupation and accessing networks. The relationship flourishes with interaction in person, online, over the phone, through referrals to network members, conferences, shadowing and other learning opportunities. The mentor works with their mentee to decide the relationship focus, pace, meeting locations and times. Each mentor-mentee pair is supported by a dedicated mentoring coach, training and resources to manage an effective relationship. Pitney Bowes facilitates and hosts information sessions, the mentor/mentee training and ‘meet-and-greet’ ceremonies at its offices.

Coaches were provided by our partners, ALLIES,* and local organizations, such as the Toronto Region Immigration Employment Council (TRIEC), the Edmonton Region Immigration Employment Council (ERIEC), the Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia (ISS of BC), and the Metropolitan Immigrant Settlement Association (MISA).

As a mentor myself, the experience was extremely rewarding to be part of a new Canadian’s successin finding gainful employment in Canada. Our Executive Sponsor, Bill Checkley, vice president, Pitney Bowes Management Services, notes, “Playing your part in this process is a challenging, yet very enriching, experience. I have felt the angst of being a new Canadian on my arrival to Canada, and I have been rewarded with the joy of helping a new Canadian find employment. I encourage you to help those seeking assistance and also experience the rewards of mentoring.”

Our partners, ALLIES, and local organizations are key to our success in creating a diverse and inclusiveculture. By the end of 2009, over thirty employees across Canada will have successfully completed the program. We are looking forward to launching this program nationally in 2010.

As we have learned at Pitney Bowes, volunteerism supports diversity and inclusion and helps us learn from each other and appreciate each other’s differences. I leave you with my favourite saying: “We are not different than each other; rather, different like each other.”