Volunteer work – should you encourage it?

Have you ever considered the concept of offering your employees paid time off to take part in volunteer work?  If you’re looking for ways to increase focus on your Corporate Social Responsibility, this could be one way.

Just giving the option of one day paid leave per employee per year can have real benefits for both the individual and the company, whether it be volunteer work associated to your company and the area you work in, or something within the employee’s own community.  It could be a team event or something the employee does on an individual basis using their skills and experience, either way there are huge benefits to be seen.

  • It can improve employee well-being.  If employees take part in volunteering, it is likely to make them feel valued and give them a sense of belonging.  They will be able to get out of the workplace and make new connections and share their skills and experience.  It can also increase confidence of people and give them a sense of achievement that is different and in addition to their usual job role at work.
  • By offering paid volunteering days, companies will likely see an increase in employee engagement.  They will likely build stronger teams that work effectively together towards the same shared goal.  This in turn will improve staff morale.  Employees will feel valued by their employer and also a sense that the employer cares about them as employees but also about the communities in which they operate.  As we know, an increase in employee engagement can only then lead on to more positive outcomes – increase in productivity from a loyal and committed workforce who will be unlikely to leave the employer and instead will share their positive experiences.
  • Linked to the above, companies could then improve their brand reputation and value proposition.  It would be a positive outcome for them to be seen working locally in their communities using their skills and experience to make a real difference.  This is turn will potentially attract new customers and employees as well as retaining existing ones.
  • Employees could benefit from improved soft skills.  By taking part in volunteer projects, they will likely see improved communication and team working skills, as well as increased confidence levels that comes with a sense of satisfaction and achievement.
  • It can connect individuals and the company with their local communities in which they live and work.

There are potential barriers or certainly factors to consider in terms of ensuring the companies and charities for example are of the same mindset when it comes to volunteer work.  Charities will often see real value in some of the strategic skills that corporations can offer whereas a lot of employees may prefer to be involved in some manual work such as painting a scout hut in order to have a day away from their usual work.  Both approaches can work but it just requires all parties to be on the same page and working to the same outcome.

A CIPD policy report found that the most commonly cited barrier to volunteering is work commitments, so how great would it be if the opportunity to volunteer could be provided by their employer and, hence removing this barrier?

Definitely one to consider and a fairly easy way to assist with employee engagement.  Get in touch with us if you would like to explore this further and chat through how it could work for you and your company.