Written by Donna Bonfield | 4th June 2021
From June 1 to 7 is Volunteers’ Week, a time to recognise the fantastic contribution people make across the UK through volunteering.
Volunteering is, of course, a great way to give back to the community and make a difference to others. But employers should also value other benefits – people who volunteer often gain practical work experience and learn and develop new skills which are desirable in the world of work.
Here’s a look at the benefits of hiring people who volunteer and encouraging people in your team to play their part.
Stronger teams, better morale
When it comes to hiring people who volunteer, the figures are clear – employers love it. 82% of hiring managers asked by Deloitte say they would prefer to take on someone with volunteering experience.
Many companies will encourage volunteering either as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility Policies, or even as a company benefit. This is called Employer-supported volunteering (ESV) which gives staff the opportunity to do their bit during working hours.
Some of the benefits you can gain from staff who volunteer include better communication and understanding of the local community. In addition, it will also enable you to build stronger teams, and improve staff morale. Employees are often proud to work for an organisation that encourages them to volunteer and this shows through increased employee engagement.
They bring valuable skills
If your employees work as volunteers it’s likely they’ll gain leadership, problem-solving, teamwork relationship building, organisation and communication skills – all of which are beneficial for any job role and can be easily transferred.
Volunteering can also be a confidence and self-esteem boost. When people are doing good for others and the community, it provides a natural sense of achievement. This can improve staff confidence at work, which will ultimately have a knock-on effect on productivity.
They are passionate
You want people that will fit in with your company culture, and if potential candidates and your existing staff share an interest in volunteer work it can only benefit workplace communication and relationships.
Many businesses have Corporate Social Responsibility Policies and are eager to recruit people who can help them uphold those commitments. There is no better way to prove dedication to a good cause than by donating time to supporting it. Showing passion for volunteering efforts gives the impression a staff member is willing to work hard and that is something you should be impressed by.
Volunteers meet new people and network
Volunteering is an easy and completely natural way to meet some new connections.
Generally, with volunteer work your people will have genuine, engaging conversations with others who share interests. Chances are they’ll make more meaningful connections doing this than at a business event. If you hire someone who volunteers, this can suggest they are well-connected and good at communicating in a variety of situations – skills that are needed for pretty much any job role.
It’s likely you will be looking for team members that can demonstrate passion, determination and proactiveness. Hiring people who volunteer and encouraging your employees to do the same can help to develop all of these characteristics and show transferrable skills that can translate to the workplace, from team work to leadership.
Our experience of volunteering
At Reality HR we support and encourage our team members to volunteer in ways that are important to them.
Our HR and Training Consultant Heidi has volunteered as a Girlguiding leader over a 15 year-period, and has been a Governor at her local primary school for six years. She also leads local food collections, and played a key part in setting up a Covid support group in her village.
She says: “All of the volunteering activities I do give me very different experiences, but all of them give me a great buzz, knowing I’m giving something to my local community.
For both of my volunteer positions I have had to learn a lot about safeguarding children, various policies, processes and Risk Assessments – paperwork overload on occasion! I recruit, lead and train adult volunteers in both roles, so my HR skills come in handy for that. Then I turn on the biggest, most enthusiastic smile to engage and enthuse up to 30 Brownies to learn new skills through games, singing, and other fun activities.
“I really enjoy having something to focus on that is so different to my “day job. I love to see the impact a small group of volunteers can make on those around us – helping the leadership team at school to provide an excellent, rounded education for our children, and the girls having fun, developing confidence and skills at Brownies.
“I have learned so many skills from my volunteering roles, which have made me much better at my job.
If you have some time (no matter how little!), I would 100% recommend offering your services in any volunteering capacity.”
HR and Training Consultant Donna has been involved in rebuilding community centres, reading in primary schools and weekly sessions with Riding for Disabled, all with the support of the leadership team here at Reality HR. She has been volunteering at a Covid Vaccination Centre in recent months.
She said: ““I was emotional after my first shift – we were vaccinating many of the most vulnerable and elderly in our community, many had not been out in months and months and had dressed up for their outing to get their jab. We had the privilege of being able to chat with them and help them to feel confident about the future. The pleasure of seeing someone go in one door and leave through another vaccinated is priceless.
“I am proud to work with the awesome medical teams to keep the flow of patients and making sure everyone feels safe and looked after. Simply, we have a strong common purpose to deliver vaccinations to as many people as possible. Would I recommend volunteering – absolutely yes!”