Talking point: Employee engagement through volunteering

Lloyds Banking Group volunteer working with some students on Give & Gain Day, 2012

Lloyds Banking Group volunteer working with some students on Give & Gain Day, 2012

For our Talking Point on achieving employee engagement through volunteering we with speak with Sinead Devereux, Community Investment and Employee Volunteering Co-ordinator at Business in the Community.

It is widely recognised that Employee Volunteering provides a range of benefits for companies, and today approximately 70% of FTSE 100 businesses have an active employee volunteering programme (according to ‘CSV, ‘Employee Volunteering: Who is benefitting now?’). Last week, Business in the Community (BITC) ran an event in partnership with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) called ‘Unlocking Talent: Hardwiring Employee Volunteering into your organisation’ which explored how employee volunteering can be embedded into companies in order to develop, retain and attract employee talent.

The event brought together Corporate Responsibility (CR) and Human Resource (HR) practitioners to hear from leading companies about how they have linked employee volunteering with skills development and behaviour change and integrated this into the appraisal process.

The CIPD recently conducted some research which highlighted ten key skills that employee volunteering can help build and it is these skills which employers want to recognise in the appraisal process. But how can companies track the skills employees develop through volunteering?

Hogan Lovells began by ensuring they had the support of HR to build a strong business case and convince middle managers that volunteering is not a passing trend. By building on their existing competency framework, they were able to map employee volunteering skills against their company values and this has now been integrated into the firm’s appraisals.

PwC, who have been studying the business impacts of employee volunteering for two years, conduct surveys before and after employees take part in volunteering and have some very encouraging results. “Around 90% of our volunteers say that they get involved because they want to give something back, but what's really encouraging is that roughly 70% say it's because they want to gain different skills and experience.” Stephen Hogan, PwC. Their surveys show:

  • 75% of volunteers believe that volunteering increases their productivity
  • 94% say employee volunteering has increased their engagement with PwC and their work
  • 91% state their networks have improved as a result of their volunteering

These figures clearly demonstrate that volunteering increases employee engagement. PwC circulate these findings around the organisation to demonstrate the links between volunteering and personal development, and to encourage more of their employees to get involved.

UBS and Zurich appoint champions or ambassadors to help spread the word within the business about the value of volunteering, including how it can help with personal development. Communicating and celebrating the volunteering work your employees do is a crucial element in ensuring a healthy uptake of opportunities.

Not all businesses are ready to take this step. If your business is new to volunteering, or isn’t quite at the stage of including volunteering as a training and development tool, Business in the Community’s Give & Gain Day can help you engage your employees. Give & Gain Day is a celebration of the power of employee volunteering and will see thousands of people from hundreds of companies around the world volunteering during May 2015.

Register your interest for Give & Gain Day and BITC can offer your business a range of volunteering opportunities depending on your needs. Alternatively, if you already have a community partnership in place, get your people out volunteering and tell BITC about it so we can celebrate with you.

For more useful tips and information check out our other Green Hotelier articles on Engagement or join our Twitter Chat on 30th October 13.30 GMT @Green_Hotelier #GHdebates

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