Why employee volunteering should be considered a staff benefit

Why employee volunteering should be considered a staff benefit

28 September 2021

Additional leave, company cars and gym memberships are all staff benefits that aim to support staff and their wellbeing, and we think that time-off for volunteering should also be part of that list!

Employee volunteering and its benefits are often underestimated. It’s often considered to be more beneficial for the charities supported than for the employees or businesses who volunteer. But in reality, employee volunteering supports mental and emotional wellbeing, skills development, and relationship building.

Here are three reasons why we think that employee volunteering should be considered a staff benefit.

1. Employee volunteering attracts employees who believe in your core values.

It’s no secret that the recipe to a happy, healthy workplace is about more than just the job itself. Creating a positive work environment that nurtures your staff and fosters loyalty is about understanding that, beyond their roles in the company, each employee is an individual with their own wants, needs, worries and passions. Some employees will care about perks like ping-pong tables or Friday drinks, some will want flexible hours or additional leave, and we believe companies’ should be adding volunteering to their arsenal too.

And it’s not just us who feel strongly about this, in fact 83% of millennials said that they would be more loyal to a company that allowed them to give a helping hand to social and environmental causes, and millennials are estimated to make up nearly 75% of the workforce by 2025.

The benefit that volunteering can bring to an organisation is that it can be customisable, you’re giving people the freedom to choose to contribute to something that’s important to them. Advertising something like this as part of your corporate social responsibility strategy when recruiting employees is a great way to attract people who share your same company values, and increase employee retention.

2. Employee volunteering as a tool for professional development

We love to shout about this one: volunteering creates a really hands-on opportunity for skill development.

Skilled volunteering uses the experience and knowledge that an employee has to support non-profit organisations who need support in these areas. Whether it’s HR or legal advice, marketing strategy or social media support – there are so many ways that employees can further their skills in a particular area while giving back.

Experiential development like this is a great way for an employee to apply existing skills in a new setting or try something completely new. We especially love the opportunity that charity trustee roles offer employees to gain board level experience no matter their current seniority level.

3. Social impact activities can help put you ahead

Employee volunteering is great for the team, but it also brings in wins for the whole company. Incorporating employee volunteering into your organisation demonstrates a committed practice of engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR). It can also play a big role in bettering your ESG score (Environment, Social, Governance), which is commonly predicted to become the successor of CSR. (If you’re not sure of the differences between CSR and ESG, don’t worry – we’ve got it covered).

This report by McKinsey says that getting pro-active with social good activities can actually put you in favour with local authorities when it comes to grants, approvals, and licenses that look to support sustainable growth. And it makes sense, sustainable development is high up on the agenda for governing bodies, so it follows that organisations that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices might have an advantage over those who don’t.

CSR/ESG practices are also attractive to customers, with 66% of consumers more likely to buy a product from a company that’s got a strong commitment to people and planet. Employer supported volunteering is way more than just a ‘fluffy’ extra! It can help create a good reputation within the local community and with your employees and pulls in benefits that you might not have expected.

Is volunteering a staff benefit at your organisation?

It’s worth checking your company CSR policy to see if you have any allowance for paid time off to volunteer. Some businesses give their employees one, two or more days per year to volunteer on work time.

In some areas of the UK, volunteering is a well-established staff benefit with 40% of workplaces allow their staff time-off to give back. So there might be more opportunity than you think. If your employer doesn’t allow for time-off for CSR, but you’d really love them too check out our sample volunteering policy and guidance for how to go about that conversation.

Need a little help?

If you’d prefer a little help with this conversation, why not have a chat with our Business Engagement Manager, Sarah who can talk you through the process of signing up, or join our newsletter list to stay in the know about all the staff benefits volunteering can bring.

Written by Caitlin Fyffe

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