Retaining your best staff

Employer Supported Volunteering

As it is the intention of the Government to allow staff in companies with over 250 employees to take up to three paid volunteering days each in addition to their annual leave entitlement by the end of this parliament, it would be missing a trick not to see it as an opportunity within the scope of Corporate Social Responsibilty (CSR).

One option is employer supported volunteering, which allows employees to get involved during working hours in a programme which you have developed like a team challenge. There are also opportunities to work with a community partner such as a charity or school. If well managed and successful, they are a valuable element of  the CSR strategy. 

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A recent Business in the Community survey found that:

  • 87% of volunteers report an improved perception of their employer
  • 82% of volunteers 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

To work best these programmes should encourage employees at all levels to get actively involved in the local community or voluntary sector organisations, either in the short term or the longer term. One off , easy to complete tasks, like painting a local village hall, are great for team building, and create immediate good will. Longer term projects such as mentoring, coaching, school governorship etc, build lasting relationships that strengthen the company’s role in the community.    

Skillmakers are perfectly placed to help you to contact charitable and volunteering organisations within the local community to build sustainable partnerships. 

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Look at the following guidelines which will help to ensure that all parties reap the greatest benefits on offer:

  • Take a look at what your business has to offer and decide what impact that can have on the local community.
  • Make a shortlist of the organisations you may want to support.
  • Ask your employees which community programmes they would like to support.
  • Decide on whether short or long term volunteering will better suite your business.
  • Select the people to manage and take part in the partnerships and agree a volunteering agreement for them to sign.
  • Put in place clearly defined agreements between the organisations you support and your business.

When you have identified a suitable community organisation to support through employee volunteering it is advisable to set out in a formal agreement the expectations of both parties. Download an example of an agreement.