If your organisation is looking to get involved with employee volunteering, an important step might be to create and communicate an employee volunteer policy.
Once you have decided the terms of your organisation’s commitment to employee volunteering (how many hours employees are entitled to a year, whether they can choose their own roles etc.) it is good practice to lay these out in a document and share it out with your team so that everyone is clear on your expectations.
What is a volunteer policy?
A volunteer policy is a document created by a company to lay out their commitment to employee volunteering, and clearly explain what hours, expenses, and support that employees are entitled to as part of their volunteering program.
It should be centrally accessible and shared with employees as they join the company so that everyone is aware of the contents and feel encouraged to engage with employee volunteering.
Why is it important?
The intention of this document is to help your team feel confident and comfortable to get involved with employee volunteering and lend their skills to support non-profits with the help of their employer.
It can help to:
- Demonstrate your organisation’s commitment to its volunteer programme and its individual volunteers. By having this document in place, you are showing that care and thought has gone into the volunteer programme.
- Provide consistency. Being able to refer to a written policy ensures that all employees are treated equally and fairly.
- Assist in recruitment. Data shows that employees are interested in company benefits, and a commitment to social good is especially attractive to younger candidates.
- Increase staff retention and engagement. When employees know where they stand it offers security: they know how many hours they can volunteer and who they can turn to for advice.
- Make employee volunteering and wider CSR a strategic priority for the organisation, and get all employees (including senior managers) on the same page.
What to include?
If you have not yet created a volunteer policy, don’t worry – we have done the hard part for you! Download our Ultimate Volunteer Policy Template below for a simple solution.
But, if you want to dive in and create your own version from scratch, here are some tips on what you should include.
- The purpose and context of your commitment to employee volunteering. Explain why it is so important to your organisation, how it ties into your values, and how it might benefit your employees.
- The guiding principles of your agreement, including how much volunteering time off they are entitled to and how they can use this time.
- If there are any restrictions relating to their volunteering activities.
- Approval processes.
- Health and Safety Policy.
- Support and complaints procedure.
How to use it?
As with any company policy, this document is only effective if your team know that it exists and are able to access it.
Once the final version has been signed off and agreed, ensure that your volunteer policy is distributed widely and encourage your employees to read and engage with it. If employee volunteering is new to your organisation, it is a good idea to engage in regular internal communications so that everyone in the company is aware of your new social good activities and how they can get involved.
We recommend creating a channel of communication where team members can share volunteering success stories, discuss opportunities, and build a culture of giving together. In an office setting, a volunteering noticeboard in a visible spot is a great option, or in the work from home era, a slack channel dedicated to volunteering where employees are encouraged to share updates is a powerful tool.
You should also include the volunteer policy in your new employee onboarding process so that everyone in the team is aware that they will be supported to get involved with volunteering.
Don’t be shy about your commitment to employee volunteering. Instead, shout about it from your website and social media platforms, mention it when you talk to people about your organisation and its goals, be excited and passionate about your team’s impact on the community. The more people know about the good you are doing in the world, the more they will be encouraged to engage with your organisation, and the more your employees will be motivated to get involved with volunteering.