Employee Volunteering programmes have become increasingly important in recent years. At a time when people have felt isolated and disconnected, employee volunteering continues to offer employees the chance to give something back in an engaged and meaningful way to provide connection, purpose, and assurance.
Employee volunteering, wellbeing and engagement
When volunteers work directly with a cause they care about, they can see the direct impact first hand; there’s a huge feel-good factor attached to that. A recent study, Volunteering and wellbeing during the Coronavirus pandemic, published by the Wales Centre for Public Policy in June 2021, points to a strong correlation between ‘purposeful social connection to meet community need’ and ‘enhanced wellbeing’. This is backed up by a study by the Journal of Happiness Studies, published in March 2020, which compared the mental health of people who volunteered with those who didn’t.
Traditionally the organisations we partner with come to Volunteering Works as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) investment. There is no doubt that how organisations contribute to their communities is still a significant part of their brand and values, and one of the key considerations when attracting new talent.
But we have also seen a shift towards volunteering as a way for employers to show their employees that they are at the heart of the organisation. Many of our partners use volunteering as a way of investing in and supporting mental wellbeing for their teams and they can see tangible benefits in employee engagement and retention as a result.
On a basic level it can be seen in practical projects to improve the physical outdoor space near to their workplaces. Fresh air, exercise and a break from screen time are all well-known ways to boost mental health.
Some employers take it further by engaging in projects which combine tangible community impact with personal development in leadership, project management, communication, and team building. To be invested in is a powerful means to add to an employee’s sense of belonging and wellbeing. Feedback from volunteers shows that this permeates into increased positive feelings about the employer, colleagues, and sense of self in their workplace.
This post was written by Business Development Manager, Gemma Sharp. If you’d like to connect with Gemma to find out more about the Volunteering Works services… get in touch today.