Five business benefits from employee volunteering programmes
5 business benefits from employee volunteering programmes
Employer-supported volunteering (ESV) is where businesses provides employees with the opportunity to volunteer during working hours such allowing 56 hours per year to volunteer or organising specified programmes and has the potential to deliver huge benefits to organisations. Successful ESV programmes bring mutual benefits and are of value to all parties involved. The volunteer organisation gain skilled workers and expertise whilst employees gain skills development opportunities and a sense of fulfilment and giving back. In return, employers can expect to experience some of the following benefits:
1. Enhanced brand recognition and reputation with their employees and wider society. Employees at firms with volunteer days are proud to tell others where they work, posting about volunteering activities on social media platforms further increasing organisational status in the community, raising the profile of the business.
2. By engaging with volunteering opportunities, improved recruitment attraction and staff retention can result. Recent surveys established a large proportion of new workforce entrants expect employers to provide volunteering opportunities and, thus, may provide a competitive advantage when hiring new employees. Additionally, ESV programmes may provide a useful tool for staff retention . Research found workers were more likely to stay with their employer for a longer time as a result of the company’s voluntary programmes. Evidence suggests a satisfied workforce actively involved in giving back often results in a deeper commitment and connection to their work.
3. Another advantage attributed to ESV programmes is the discovery of new skills and reduction of employee training costs facilitated through volunteer skill acquisition. Volunteering enables employees to learn and develop new skills empowering them to try things they’ve never experienced before. Experiencing achievement and success promotes improved performance in work-related tasks increasing the likelihood of uncovering future leaders in the team.
4. Building of strong, well-rounded and better connected teams. When whole teams participate in an activity for a good cause, a sense of teamwork is fostered, generating an environment for employees to bond and support each other. This teamwork continues in the workplace with a renewed sense of commitment to one another.
5. Happier, healthier staff. Research shows significant increased staff morale and reduced sick leave can be attributed to volunteering. Learning a new skill positively affects employee’s overall wellbeing adding to a person’s sense of worth cultivating feelings of purpose, value and motivation. Placing a greater emphasis on giving back and making a difference will attract the best minds ultimately, having an impact on your organisation’s bottom line.
Age UK Merton’s Befriending Scheme
One organisation that works alongside businesses to create ESV Programmes is Merton’s Age UK Befriending Service. Merton’s Befriending Service offers free face-to-face and telephone befriending to residents aged 65 years and older who are either housebound, live alone or have a long-term condition. An example of recent work with businesses includes working with Abel and Cole, who have had a number of employees volunteering for the befriending service recently hosting a lunch for volunteers and their befriendee’s in the office.
‘For the past two years I’ve been visiting my elderly friend through Age UK Merton Befriending Services. I see her once a week at her house and we have a cup of tea and biscuits together. It gives her a chance to speak to someone new, get to know me and share her stories – of which she has many! It’s great learning about a different culture, generation and upbringing and I always feel deeply grateful for having made this connection when I leave. It definitely enhances my life and gives me an opportunity to give back. I lost my grandma 10 years ago and always think that it would have been great knowing that she had a friend through a befriending service when I couldn’t live nearby. My employer, Abel & Cole, enables me to do this during my lunch break which is fantastic. Several of my colleagues are also part of the Age UK Befriending Service and I know they feel the same way about their elderly friends’. Stef, Abel and Cole Befriender
More information on the Merton Age UK befriending service and contact details can be found here.
Further information on ESV and the benefits can be found here.