Leave for Change

It is possible to build a fairer world while sharpening your employees' expertise!

 

Through the Leave for Change stream, you can offer your employees a unique personal and professional development opportunity by providing them the chance to participate in a short term international volunteer assignments. Some fifty employers, from across all sectors, have already taken this challenge, and have participated in more than 500 assignments with great success! Cultivate loyalty, commitment and skills development among your employees while contributing to positive, lasting change in developing countries.

 

Through Leave for Change, employers provide an opportunity for their employees to enhance their skills and performance:

  • Ability to adapt
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Open-mindedness
  • Analytical skills
  • Cross cultural communication

 

There are many benefits for employers:
  • Employee motivation
  • Professional satisfaction
  • Company loyalty
  • Talent retention

An experience that is much more effective than traditional training!

Research has shown that it is much more advantageous for employees to complete an overseas assignment than to receive traditional leadership training. Canadian business and organizations can also present their participation in Leave for Change as a solid expression of their global corporate citizenship.

An affordable program

The Leave for Change stream of the Uniterra program would not be possible without the financial support of the employer and the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.

How does Leave for Change work?

Organizations that wish to offer Leave for Change opportunities to their employees must first sign an agreement with the Uniterra program stating the number of assignments they would like to complete each year and the roles and responsibilities of each party throughout the process. Once the agreement has been signed, a promotional campaign for Leave for Change will be launched within the workplace. Positions will be posted on Uniterra’s website and interested employees can apply for opportunities that match their skill set and interests. During the recruitment process, candidates will be jointly interviewed by Uniterra program staff and, if desired, the employer’s human resources department. The selected candidates will receive pre-departure training and will be welcomed by the Uniterra program team upon arrival in their country of assignment. The Uniterra team will also  introduce them to their local partner organization upon arrival. There will be an evaluation at the end of the mandate and a debriefing upon their return to Canada. Employees will then be invited to share their experience at work and in their communities and networks.

Will there be a financial contribution for the employer and the employee?

All employers are expected to make a financial contribution to the Uniterra program.The Uniterra program would not be possible without the financial support of the Government of Canada and our Canadian partners.

What steps should my organization take to participate in the Leave for Change stream?

Leave for Change is a turn-key program. Our team handles the details and works with employers every step of the way. The Uniterra program handles all of the logistics in Canada and overseas. The employer's responsibility includes the signing of an agreement, promoting the program internally, participating in the selection of candidates (if desired) and supporting employees as they share their experiences when they return from their assignment. 

Can an employee sign up directly with Leave for Change?

No.The employer-supported stream of Uniterra is based on a partnership between the employer and Uniterra. The employer should be involved and supportive of the employee's participation in the program. While an employee cannot sign-up and participate independently in this stream, he or she is welcome to independently explore other volunteer opportunities in Uniterra.

 

#LeaveForChange volunteer in Mongolia, Holly Elias from the Co-operators, discussed with managers and employees about different human resources best practices, including managing change within the organization and developing strong performance management plans.

 

“Employers participating in the Leave for Change program benefit in several ways. Participating employees use and expand their vocational talents and gain broadened perspectives which inform their work and advantage the employer. Sometimes useful professional relationships are developed.  Participants talk about their experience in the community, sending the signal that the employer is civic minded. Enabling these kinds of experiences also helps in creating a caring work culture and in building loyalty with employees.  As a Leave for Change participant and (former) Chair of Western University’s Leave for Change Committee, I have felt and seen all of these effects.”

Michele Parkin – Former Director, Faculty Relations,
Western University

 

For more information or if you have any questions:

Mary Beshai
(613) 761-3655
mbeshai@wusc.ca