Evidence | Nov 19 2018

Workplace volunteering – the barriers and benefits

There has been significant growth in sustainable practices over the last decade, which is steadily transforming the way that companies do business. Employee volunteering can play a critical role in helping organisations to take action on community issues, but only 39% of managers surveyed in this report believed their workplace had a positive volunteering culture. The National Young Volunteers’ Service commissioned a project with YouGov to better understand volunteering in the workplace, comparing the attitudes of over 1,000 employees and 500 volunteers.

What are the barriers to volunteering in the workplace?

53% of managers are concerned about the time and financial cost of allowing their volunteers to volunteer. Employees were also concerned that they didn’t have time to volunteer without being given paid leave to do so, and 19% said that nothing could encourage them to. This suggests a lack of demand was another key barrier highlighted in this study.

However, almost two thirds of managers did raise issues such as contacts, knowledge of local opportunities, and measuring the impact of volunteering. These are barriers that could be tackled with specialist advice and support.

How does volunteering benefit the workplace?

The research illustrates how volunteering can provide cost effective and win-win solutions for employers, employees and the wider community. Almost all managers believed that volunteering can help employees to gain and consolidate workplace skills, including self-confidence, a wider understanding of social and cultural issues, and teamwork. 73% said that volunteering could increase staff wellbeing overall. It is also worth considering that Organisations with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies were much more likely to undertake voluntary activities – 61% of organisations surveyed had done so, compared to 11% of organisations without a CSR policy in place.

How do we encourage more volunteering?

There are real opportunities to be found in encouraging workplace volunteering, with the majority of employees saying they would consider it if supported well. The survey revealed that a positive ethos around volunteering is integral to its implementation successfully in the workplace. This starts with the perception that volunteering is a good investment in the skills of employees. Many managers are already aware of the benefits of volunteering, but may need help to implement formal schemes.


This post was written by our new Content Editor, Ishani Jasmin.

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