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Issue 12: Skills and Leadership Development through Employee Volunteering

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At a time when the London 2012 Olympic Games have placed volunteering at the top of the agenda most of us are now reconsidering what we could do to help those in need in our local communities.

In the corporate world, companies have been encouraging employees to volunteer for decades. Today, most businesses support some form of initiative - matched giving for sponsored fundraising activities, local one-off volunteering events, contributions in kind, fundraising for a Charity of the Year or ‘Time Banks’ of company time used for volunteering. More sophisticated community investment programmes include employer led initiatives such as secondments, projects to meet team building needs, mentoring, becoming trustees/board members or probono support. These companies have identified clear benefits in developing more focussed, skills-based volunteering programmes with regards to staff retention, recruitment of high calibre graduates and employee training opportunities.

On the one hand, these companies offer employees the opportunity to use their professional skills to take part in programmes which support those in greater need. On the other, they identify programmes which can address the skills and developmental needs of their employees.

Business in the Community (BITC) has often highlighted and encouraged best practice in this area. The European Employee Volunteering Awards 2011 celebrated the success of a number of programmes from around Europe. Workshops such as ‘Skills and Leadership Development through Employee Volunteering’ – hosted by IBM earlier this year – have provided a platform for companies with fantastic examples of the programmes they are running as well as an opportunity to discuss challenges and obstacles. The Community Impact Offer and Give & Gain Day as well as ENGAGE Key Cities programme run through our CSR360 Global Partner Network provide the opportunity for companies to take part in employee volunteering activities around the world.

In this edition of our magazine, three companies provide us with an overview of their experience. Helen Bishop from Rolls-Royce talks to us about how their community investment programme is aligned with staff engagement, recruitment and development. Roger Lui from Allen & Overy outlines their Help for Domestic Helpers programme in Hong Kong. The firm provides IT, administrative, marketing and public relations support as well as probono legal advice for the local organisation. Miguel Burdeos Bañó from SPB discusses their involvement in ENGAGE Valencia. Their programme is organised through their HR department and supports secondary school pupils develop employability skills and professional experience.

These case studies address the benefits and challenges of organising and taking part in their respective companies’ programme. They look at how these programmes contribute to an increase in skills acquisition and employee satisfaction. Finally, they highlight how the success of these programmes has let to them becoming an integral part of the talent and performance management systems of the business.

To finish, Juan Angel Poyatos takes us through the findings of a recent study on the the value of volunteering as a tool and process for the development of employees skills. Measurement is still an obstacle for the majority of employers. It would seem that a comprehensive methodology for quantifying the benefits and behavioural changes brought about through this process has still not been developed. However, as the study demonstrates, great progress is being made and a number of research projects that address the gaps, continue to emerge.

We hope you enjoy the edition!

Sinead Lawler,
Programmes and Employee Volunteering Coordinator

In this issue

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