Many employees wish to work for socially responsible organisation and to feel aligned with honourable values and the offer of paid volunteer leave can instil your company’s dedication to investing in the local community.
Research also tells us that volunteering has been shown to be beneficial to the mental health of individuals. Helping others can help people feel good about themselves and can improve self-esteem and therefore supports the health and wellbeing of your team.
There is no statutory right for paid or unpaid time off for volunteer leave, other than specific public duties, e.g. a magistrate etc. Implementing volunteer leave is about doing the right thing and there are so many benefits for all parties involved:
- Satisfaction felt by employees and improved mental health
- Attracts new recruits
- Can help employees develop skills and be good for personal development
- Improve employee engagement
- Positive brand reputation for employers and a way for the employer to develop kudos and help their community
- Underpin an employer’s social and corporate responsibility ethos
- Provide a charity with access to skills otherwise inaccessible to them.
To implement a Volunteer Leave Policy, there would be some planning involved and advo would recommend considering the following:
- Which charities/community groups do you wish to support and focus your volunteering efforts?
advo would suggest that, ideally, you choose causes that best align with your vision and values. However, to gain ownership and engagement, you may wish to ask employees to submit their wishes as there may be a charitable cause that is close to employees’ hearts and a story attached!
Or you could select a few charities and cast a vote!
The charity that you wish to support may also change in an annual or bi-annual.
- Who would be the right person to lead any charity campaigns and employee engagement?
This is key to success – the right person should be organised and be infectiously enthusiastic! They would also need the time outside of their normal duties to focus on such engagement.
- How much volunteering time, in addition to annual leave, would be in your volunteer policy?
Some companies allow up to 3 days a year but it is your decision.
- Would voluntary leave be paid or unpaid? Unpaid leave may not encourage as much engagement!
We would suggest using a range of communications channels, both internally and externally, to share the successes of your volunteering programmes and stories.
This is positive and engaging news delivering a sense of achievement and everyone know that you are not just all about company profit – you care too.
A major key to success is the buy-in of the senior leadership team and management. This helps show that this is heartfelt and genuine and is supported from the top.
Don’t forget to include your social commitment and volunteer policy within your recruitment campaigns to help attract candidates.
Here at advo we support Porchlight, a Kent based charity for homeless and vulnerable people. We encourage our employees to participate in our many charitable events, e.g. from tombola’s, raffles and to giving paid time off during working hours for our employees to support in the raising of donations, e.g. training for the London and Brighton marathons etc.
If you are interested in implementing a volunteering policy, advo can support you.
Carly Gregory, advo HR Consultant