According to Accenture 2020 Vision, employer-supported volunteering (ESV) is expected to have undergone unprecedented growth and change, driven by a blend of economic, technological, and policy factors. Organisations who embrace this change have a tremendous opportunity to make a greater social impact while benefiting employer corporation at the same time.
In the UK, for example, volunteering is a powerful way to bring positive impacts to society. The office of national statistics calculated the economic value of volunteering to be approximately US$31,5 billion per year, accounting for 1.5 percent of the UK’s GDP, Accenture reported.
See also: Does Volunteering Outside Of Work Help You Professionally?
A report from EE on Volunteering – The Business Case also revealed that employees demand more meaning from their work. Meanwhile, customers shop more ethically and there are always communities in need. Corporate volunteer programme could be the answer as respondents of the EE study cited that volunteering offers the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills. Additionally, nearly 90 percent of respondents agreed that it helps enhance problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, and negotiating skills respectively.
Unarguably, volunteering is a win-win-win scenario for social community, employees, and employer – such that it is a good reason for businesses to start developing their own employee volunteer program, be it paid or unpaid ones.
Employee volunteer program (EVP) is a planned and managed effort that seeks to motivate and enable employees to effectively volunteer under the sponsorship and leadership of employer. It is one strategy among many such as human resources, philanthropy, marketing, and public relations that a company can use to address issues that affect its ability to operate and to become an employer of choice.
Here’s how you could start an employee volunteer program.
EVP can be used to address a multitude of core business functions such as recruitment, training and retention, marketing, communications, public relations, productivity, and so on. Thus, it is important for leaders to identify business priorities and align them with the volunteering programme.
This alignment will likely bring better investment strategy, stimulate better dialogue, and better leadership support for the program within a business.
To identify business priorities, you can check your organisation’s values, vision and mission statements, as well as social policy documents. Then, conduct research to identify the organisational priorities that will be supported by the EVP. Lastly, select the benefits your organisation wants as added benefits from the EVP.
What will you likely need to set up a volunteering activity? For instance, you might want to provide a reward for the best volunteer within a team. You should also include supporting policies and processes, cultural change to encourage participation, resourcing to support the programme management, and strategic objectives with a measurable key performance indicator.
This step is aimed to see what kind of volunteering opportunities would be a good match. For example, if your company produces health equipment, a volunteer program for helping disabled persons or promoting healthy lifestyle would be great. If you are in children-related business, a program that helps children in need or orphanage would be recommended.
Next is to select voluntary sector partners who have experience in employer-supported voluntary programs such as Go Overseas, Friends For Asia, or Work Away.
In this step, you should consider the factors below:
By seeking employees’ ideas and feedback, you will be able to develop a program around their interests which helps ensure participation and your program’s success.
On the other hand, the needs of your community might not be immediately obvious. In order to align employees’ broadly stated interests in issues topics such as youth, hunger or education with real community needs, you will need to uncover how these social issues are affecting people in your community and what groups or organisations are addressing them.
When identifying the interests, you can do a survey to your employees and a real-communication with the community of your choice. See if an assessment of social, educational and economic needs has already been conducted in your area. These assessments might include information on how the issues are affecting local people and communities and which organisations are addressing these needs with volunteers.
Technology plays as an enabler to connect employees with volunteering opportunities. Technology can help reduce the burden of an employer, employee, and voluntary sector organisation. You might want to find a voluntary sector partner who offers a wide range of online mentoring and CV-clinic opportunities that allow employees to volunteer remotely while increasing accessibility and feasibility of volunteering.
Read also: Volunteering for Social Work is Company’s Best Value