The benefits of integrating employer supported volunteering (ESV) into work practices are compelling. Much more than simply “doing good”, ESV provides benefits to the employer and employees at the same time as supporting the wider community.
Here's some key things to consider if you plan to start an ESV programme from scratch.
What are your objectives?
Looking at the benefits of ESV programmes can act as a useful starting point to help create the objectives for your organisation.
Some of the benefits that organisations and employees value and achieve from their ESV programmes include:
- employee skills development
- staff attraction and retention
- increased staff morale and reduced sickness leave
- reputation and brand management
- effective investment in the commuity
What activity is already taking place?
Bearing in mind approximately 40% of adults in the UK already volunteer, it’s likely that some of your employees already take part in some volunteering activities. Find out more about what they enjoy and support and use this to build a successful programme.
What support do you need to provide?
There are some main types of support to consider providing as part of your (HR) policy. These include providing flexible time or paid leave for volunteering, facility for payroll giving, match funding for employee nominated causes and in kind donations.
You’ll also want to think about how to support employees to find volunteering roles and opportunities. Will you signpost? Or would you prefer to develop some activities they can participate in?
What resources will you need?
While volunteering is cost effective, it’s not entirely free so you may need to consider how to fund activities and brokerage fees, match funding etc. This may not necessarily be an additional cost to your business, e.g. a training budget could be used for skills development opportunities, employees may choose to undertake fundraising for essential fees and equipment, etc.
Who will co-ordinate the programme? Will it sit within the HR function, a CSR specialist or public affairs?
How will you get employees involved?
If the rules of humankind apply to your employees, a small percentage will not want get involved, a percentage will already be active and able to share how to do it, and the majority will need some guidance and inspiration.
Think about the ways in which you already guide and support employees through policy, management structure, internal communications such as your intranet and creating an interest group or project leader.
Where can you get some advice and help?
There's a lot of information on the employer supported volunteering section on the KnowHow website such as benefits, pitfalls, further reading and useful links.
How do you find volunteering opportunities and activities?
There are a range of options depending on how much resource and experience you have in-house already, from websites and volunteer centres to specialist brokers who can find you a community partner and provide a ready made volunteering activity or event. Find out more on the NCVO website.
How will you know if it's worthwhile?
To know whether the original objectives have been met, you’ll need to find out the outcomes for some or all of the groups involved; employees, their line managers, the employer, the charity or community organisation and their service users or beneficiaries.
Investing in Volunteers for Employers (IiVE) is the UK award recognising commitment to best practice in employer supported volunteering.
General information on volunteering