This next week is Volunteers Week (1-7 June) which is an opportunity to recognise the contribution people make through volunteering.
Research from Pilotlight indicates that 21% (approximately 6 million people) of the UK workforce are currently utilising their work skills for volunteering, which is benefitting 8,300 charities and social enterprises every year.
Benefits to the volunteer
Volunteering is a great way to make a difference and give something back, allowing people to connect with their community and make it a better place. Dedicating a little time can help people make new friends, get more active in the community, expand their network, and boost social skills.
With some employers preferring to recruit someone with volunteering experience as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, volunteering is also a great way to access the labour market. It will not only add variety and value to a person’s CV, but it will also build their confidence and help them develop valuable skills that are transferable in the workplace.
Benefits of employer supported volunteering (ESV)
The Pilotlight report highlighted a strong demand for employers to do more to support skills-based volunteering in the community with 64% of employees saying employers have a moral duty to help their communities, and 77% saying employers should be supportive of staff taking time to volunteer.
Hiring volunteers and encouraging employees to do their bit during working hours can offer valuable benefits to the employer, particularly with so many organisations struggling to recruit and retain the best talent.
Here are some of the benefits that an employer may be able to harness by being more proactive when it comes to volunteering:
- Employee engagement: Volunteering can help to generate commitment and pride among employees, giving them a better understanding of their local community. It can also help to build stronger teams and improve staff morale which will also help with staff retention.
- Valuable skills: Volunteering can provide the opportunity to learn new skills and develop existing skills such as leadership, communication, problem-solving and teamwork building, which are all transferable to the workplace.
- Increased productivity: Employees using their skills to support a cause they care about can result in a sense of achievement and purpose, which in turn can provide job satisfaction and a positive impact on productivity.
- Increased brand awareness: Employees who volunteer are proud to tell others what they are doing and sharing their experience on social media can raise the profile of an organisation with any prospective employees.
- Mental health and wellbeing: Volunteering can be a great way for people to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
Allowing time off for volunteering
There is no statutory right to time off from work for volunteering, so the employer’s permission will be required Where time off is given, the employer may choose to pay employees, or grant them additional unpaid time off. They could also arrange to allow the employee to alter their working hours at certain times to accommodate the volunteer role, such as starting late or finishing early to attend a meeting for example.
Where support for volunteering is provided, it is advisable for the employer to have a policy to ensure that employees are treated consistently and fairly, and understand what is being offered.
If you’re an employer who would like to get involved in employer supported volunteering and would like some advice on how to manage this in the workplace, HR, Employment Law or Health & Safety or Wellbeing issues, contact us on 01942 727 200 or email email@example.com