Opinion

Five key business benefits of employee volunteering

Today (Wednesday 1 June) marks the start of Volunteers’ Week, an annual celebration of the fantastic contribution made by the millions of UK volunteers who spend time supporting individuals, communities and the environment we live in.

One of the key aims of the week is to inspire more people to get involved. To help play our part we want to encourage more local organisations to consider introducing employee volunteering schemes. This is because there are also significant business benefits to be achieved, which go well beyond the obvious ‘feel-good’ factor. Here are five ways in which introducing employee volunteering opportunities, and providing paid time off to participate, can actually improve your bottom line.

Increased employee engagement

Providing the chance for your employees to give back to the community boosts employee engagement, and engaged employees are happier and more productive.  It helps to create a rewarding and positive place to work and recent statistics from the not-for-profit organisation Employee Volunteering showed that 76 per cent of volunteers said that it had a positive influence on how they felt about their employer.

Stronger team work

Volunteering together helps people to build stronger relationships with their colleagues, which in turn boosts business performance. The survey by Employee Volunteering also showed that 97 per cent of volunteers believed participation had helped to develop a stronger team. We’ve also seen this first hand when a team of our own employees volunteered to help decorate the CHESS homeless shelter in Chelmsford. One of the key things they all said about the experience was how much fun they had all had working together.

Enhanced employee brand

Providing employee volunteering opportunities, and highlighting your organisation as a socially responsible business, will help to attract and retain up-and-coming talent. Research shows that the latest generations entering the workforce care more about company ethics and the opportunity to give back to their communities than ever before. Providing philanthropic opportunities is becoming a key factor in successfully attracting this socially conscious generation. A recent survey by Deloitte also showed that those aged 21 -35, who frequently participated in workplace volunteer activities, were nearly twice as likely to be very satisfied with the progression of their career. 

Additional T&D opportunities

Volunteering opportunities can also help employees to develop new skills which they can bring back to the workplace. For example, managing a volunteering project is a great opportunity for employees to develop communication, leadership and project planning skills as well as improving confidence overall.

Improved CSR

Employee volunteering is also a great way for organisations to enhance their profile. Being seen as an organisation which invests in its local community will help to attract and retain customers and can help open doors to developing relationships with key stakeholders. It can also play a significant part in helping organisations to win prestigious awards. For example, when it comes to judging the Employer of the Year entries for the forthcoming Eastern Daily Press Business Awards , one of the key things we will be looking for are organisations which have empowered their teams to make a difference for a charity or their local community.

Find out if your employees would be interested in volunteering opportunities

Still not sure if your employees would be interested in carrying out volunteer work? An employee engagement survey is an excellent way to explore staff opinions on new challenges, opportunities and community spirited activities. There’s still time to register for our free employee engagement survey which we provide to businesses in East Anglia as part of our Best Employers Eastern Region initiative. The confidential employee survey, which would normally cost in the region of £2,000, is available to local organisations of all sizes and sectors. All participating organisations will also automatically be entered into a series of awards to celebrate the region’s Best Employers.