Volunteering Opportunties in Hertfordshire

What is employer supported volunteering?

Employer supported volunteering is where business provides employees with the opportunity to volunteer during working hours. Volunteering can be defined as time off for individual volunteering or in a programme developed by the employer such as a team challenge event or an ongoing arrangement with a community partner such as a charity or school. 

Businesses that operate good employer supported volunteering programmes generally have a positive impact on the communities in which they operate and helping to form a bridge between companies, their employees and the wider community. Well-managed volunteering programmes often fit in within an organisation’s corporate responsibility strategy. 

Employers who support volunteering cite benefits such as being able to build better teams, improve communication within their organisations, build staff morale and loyalty thus positively impacting staff recruitment and retention.

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A recent survey by Business in the Community found that:

  • 87% volunteers report an improved perception of their employer
  • 82% report feeling more committed to their employer
  • 70% of employee volunteers reported developing their time management, communication, influencing, decision-making and leadership skills
  • 81% of community partners had an improved perception of the employer they worked with and 99% would recommend the company to others

Employer supported volunteering allows an organisation to demonstrate their corporate values, collaborate with other businesses, enhance brand value and reputation therefore increasing a business’s chances in tendering processes, particularly in the public sector.

Why does employer supported volunteering matter? 

Volunteering has been high on the political agenda in recent years, and in the run up to the 2015 general election, the Prime Minister announced that employers with over 250 employees would be required to allow staff to take up to three paid volunteering days’ each year in addition to their annual leave entitlement. Whilst the exact detail of this policy is still to be confirmed, the Government have committed to introducing it by the end of this Parliament (May 2020). This has the potential to impact over half of the UK workforce, with huge implications for many UK employers, employees and the voluntary sector.

As well as this being a pressing policy issue, volunteering is also important because of the potential benefits it can bring to businesses, employees and communities. 

Developing a volunteering programme within a business

When starting to develop an employer supported volunteering programme it is important to make sure you consider the values of the organisation, needs of the community and the motivation, capacity and capability of your employees. 

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  • Examine your organisation’s values and mission. What type of social contribution aligns with the organisation? 
  • What impact do you want to make? Where would you have greatest impact?
  • Who will lead and manage the programme?
  • What type of community/voluntary organisation do you want to support? Create a shortlist
  • What type of volunteering is suitable for the business, short term or longer?
  • When will the volunteering opportunities take place?
  • What do your employees want to do? (it might be useful to undertake a survey)
  • Develop a partnership agreement between the supported organisation and your business.
  • Agree a volunteering agreement for your employees to sign.
  • Have a mechanism to build volunteering into the annual appraisal cycle to recognise the contributions your employees have made to the local community.
  • Once the programme is implemented, make sure to have this visible in marketing and communication activities for example on the company website.

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