Improving employee engagement through volunteering
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly important, particularly to Millennials and Generation Z (the generation after) who are looking for more than just financial reward in a job. They want to work for an employer “with a conscience”, in line with their own personal values and concerns.
Research over the last decade shows employers who demonstrate a commitment to the community and the environment benefit in three crucial HR areas: staff attraction, employee engagement, and learning and development.
The benefits of employee engagement are well known: engaged employees are happier, more likely to go the extra mile, and less likely to leave. Providing a supportive environment for volunteering and charitable fundraising and giving, delivers the message of an inclusive and caring place to work.
It’s not enough simply to offer volunteer leave. Whilst this may suit employees who can use their day for a charity or voluntary organisation they are already involved in, employer supported volunteering (ESV) delivers far greater benefits to employees, local communities and the employer.
A focused approach is key to getting employees involved in volunteering. Consider linking charitable aims with company values, and supporting a variety of charities with different volunteering needs.
At Hymans Robertson we have a group in each office working closely with two or three local charities chosen by employees. These groups provide practical and DIY volunteering opportunities, which are great for team days.
We also run a financial literacy project partnering with charities supporting disadvantaged young people. This is coordinated across all of our offices and offers employees skills-based volunteering opportunities within our area of skill and knowledge.
Taking the hard work out of finding opportunities boosts employee take up, as does being able to offer a variety of volunteering suitable for individuals and teams. Access to unskilled and skill-based volunteering and supporting different causes, recognises that charity, and volunteering, is personal.
Communicate for success
Raise awareness and publicise opportunities. Encourage volunteers to share their experiences; publish case studies and feedback.
Involve management beyond commitment and buy in: get senior management participating and sharing their experiences; reassure middle managers, who might have concerns about managing workloads in the absence of team members.
Volunteering develops communication, leadership skills, and confidence, and a shared sense of achievement can do wonders for morale, bringing benefits into and beyond the workplace.
Clare Gardner is head of CSR at Hymans Robertson.
This article was provided by Hymans Robertson.
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