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Flex your Corporate Muscle – Corporate Social Responsibility – Are you doing your bit?

SYLO Associates attended a Reciprocate event held in collaboration with Oxfordshire Community Funding, which focused on businesses encouraging their employees to volunteer in the community and become Trustees of local charities. Corporate Social Responsibility via employee volunteering provides significant benefits to businesses and employees, as well as having a huge impact on charities at the heart of local communities. Some of the professional skills employees and staff might take for granted are priceless to charities and community organisations. According to the NCVO almanac, the value of volunteering is estimated at £22.6bn per year.

Companies need to facilitate the volunteering collision, this is when

Employee Engagement + Opportunity = Impact

Many employees would like to do more in their community and all that is holding them back is a lack of knowledge. They have the skills and the experience that all charities would find invaluable, but they do not know where it can be put to best use. If companies encourage their employee by making connections with local or national charities and passing that information on. They can also take the initiative with Match funding, implementing a Charity of the Year scheme or Sponsorship – giving employees paid time off for charity work or time off in lieu for weekends volunteering.

How Volunteering can help your business?

So, what is in it for my business? I hear you ask. When you encourage your employees to be more active in the community, they expand their knowledge and their experience and they will bring those experiences and skills learnt back into the business. They can share their experience with their colleagues – maybe during a “Food for thought” or “Town Hall” session, most big companies hold these once a month on different subjects, volunteering could be one. But it doesn’t have to be that formal, if you hold a weekly team meeting you can encourage individuals to talk about what they have been doing.

This is a cost effective way of developing leadership skills alongside the traditional leadership training already widely available, putting their skills into practice and gaining knowledge from others on the committees. Many charities are looking for Trustees, so if you know that some of your employees already volunteer, they could be encouraged to apply for one of the many posts available.

How does it have a positive impact on the Individual?

Volunteering improves the work / life balance, rather than individuals living to work they shift the emphasis slightly to working to live. Being involved with a charity can be a very grounding experience, its a very humbling experience being reminded how fortunate we are, it puts things into perspective. It is good for moral and mental health, which can only be good for the company as this leads to lower levels of sickness. It can also improve retention and recruitment, people want to work for a socially responsible employer, helping you to become an Employer of Choice.

There are no financial benefits to the company or the individual apart from joining schemes like Give as You Earn, which donates to charity pre-tax or by Fund Matching which is classed as Charitable contributions. The financial impact is translated from the number of volunteering hours per year and how that decreases sick leave and increases moral in the company, which both affect the company’s bottom line.

Why would I be a Trustee of a Charity?

The general perception of a Trustee needs to change to encourage younger more enthusiastic members. The perception that you need to be smart, have loads of experience isn’t necessarily true, everyone has skills or abilities that can help a charity. The Oxford Hub encourages younger Trustees offering full training including practical volunteering, skilled placements, project incubation and events to help you shape a better world. Trustees are constantly training to improve their skills and you can find guidance from CC3 – The Essential Trustee which can tell you what you need to know to become a Trustee and what your responsibilities would be.

If you would like more information on how you can improve Employee Engagement or any other information please contact SYLO Associates and we will be happy to help.