Dip your toe into employee volunteering!
Employees are often able to volunteer through their workplace if the business they work for has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy. Employee volunteering gives employees the opportunity to learn new skills, build cross-functional teams and have some fun!
What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?
Corporate Social Responsibility is a business strategy that involves social, economic and environmental policies working together to benefit all stakeholders. These policies often involve allowing employees to participate in acts of community service in their local area.
Why would businesses do this? Many businesses genuinely want to make a difference. These acts of community service also allow businesses to differentiate themselves from competitors and stand out as socially responsible companies. According to the UK Small Business Consortium, 88% of consumers said they would be more likely to associate themselves with a business that “supports and gets involved in activities to improve their society”. Therefore both the business and the community mutually benefit from this arrangement.
There are a number of advantages to businesses having a CSR strategy:
Increased customer loyalty
Research has shown that customers are more likely to be loyal to a business if its corporate values align with their own. Corporate Social Responsibility policies show off these corporate values and demonstrate to customers that community involvement is important.
Increased employee satisfaction
Allowing employees to volunteer, especially during their usual working hours, creates a sense of community within businesses, and a connection to the surrounding community too. Employees who feel invested in their business and the greater community are often more productive and feel more satisfied at work. This in turn benefits the business itself.
Better brand reputation
Consumers feel good about using products or service from businesses that are giving back to their local community. Brand reputation is better than any form of marketing as it reaches down to core values instead of one-off marketing messages that are easily forgotten.
Increased employee contribution
Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives encourages employees to feel empowered to contribute to the bigger picture. This may give them the time and space to come up with new innovative ideas that solve problems or improve current processes within the business. When employees feel they are working for a business aligned with their own values, they may be encouraged to develop better ways to do their jobs.
What kind of volunteering opportunities are available to employees?
The usual image of employee volunteering is often of painting walls or gardening, however there is so much more scope to it than this.
Recently there has been an increase in businesses looking to partner with the education sector ensuring young people are work ready.
Volunteering options include businesses presenting to schools about what they do, which may inspire a child to choose a particular career path and even apply for a job with that particular business later on. Or an employee could give a mock interview to a school leaver which may significantly increase that child’s chance of securing a job.
How can businesses get involved in these opportunities?
Would your business like to work with schools and colleges as part of your CSR strategy? Are you looking for a more unique and tailored opportunity for staff engagement and development?
There are so many opportunities available in the community other than painting walls. The North Hampshire volunteer centres are working in partnership with Enterprise M3 and the Community Matters Partnership Project (CMPP) to encourage local business to work more closely with the local primary and secondary schools providing opportunities such as those described above.
Students gain knowledge and experience of the world of work, opportunities available to them and the skills they need to be successful. Your business is given the appropriate framework, support and guidance to carry out activities within specified guidelines which provide the best outcomes for both students and businesses. This enables volunteers to experience the rewards from helping to raise the aspirations of young people to inspire and motivate them.