Employer supported volunteering, part of an overarching strategy of corporate social responsibility, is no longer an added bonus, rather an expected element of any caring and forward-thinking company.
Global professional services company, Accenture have identified micro-volunteering as one of the major trends in their 2020. There is a demand for easy, on-demand opportunities which minimise the administrative side of volunteering, while opening the door to a new crop of employee volunteers interested in opportunities which are more convenient.
Highly-personalised and connected experiences are another growing trend, as increasingly the expectation for individuals as we become more unique or specific in our tastes and interests. Volunteering programmes and events that can offer highly personalised options and experiences will be more attractive to employees who want to feel heard in their own beliefs and commitments.
So who’s leading the way? And it’s not just the big companies with seemingly unlimited resources who are impressing us, and their employees.
Employer sponsored volunteering Hall of Fame
Offering paid days off to support local charities or causes close to their hearts is a popular way for larger companies to tick that CSR box, and make them very attractive to employees. Consumer reporting agency Experian offers employees three days per year to get involved with one-off projects, or contribute to on-going activities to team challenges.
Salesforce, an international cloud-based software company with over 25,000 employees, have taken this to the next level by offering up to 7 days (that’s 56 hours!) of paid volunteer time off per year. This incredible donation of time and resources have amounted to over 1 million hours volunteered by Salesforce employees, and have earned the company number six on Fortune magazine’s Fortune List of the Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2020.
While allowing employees the freedom to choose their own causes and how they chose to donate their time, uniting together to volunteer for a common cause can have a wonderfully unifying impact on teams. Every year, Ovo Energy runs the OVO Gives Back Month, an explosion of volunteering activities in August by OVO employees. 162 Independent people who help young people at risk of homeless, are one of the company’s partnered charities, seeing 15 OVO employees up bright and early to make planters for the gardens of 1625ip’s shared properties. On another day, 30 adventurous OVO employees spent the day clearing out a wildlife pond, removing scrub and brambles, helping out the Forest of Avon Trust in the beautiful old woodland outside Bristol.
Formation Architects, based in Lambeth, has 70 employees, and a 20-strong staff CSR group who are working to make their businesses as environmentally sustainable as possible. The team, Formation Community, won the Heart of the City, Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award celebrating business impact in society in 2019. They are also exploring ways of using their skills as architects to improve local green spaces, working with youth clubs and schools. Formation Architects director, Neil Farrance, told Heart of the City that since joining the programme they have seen a huge increase in staff engagement: ‘staff are incredibly enthusiastic and we’re already seeing a big difference.’
Beck Greener, mid-sized firm of patent attorneys, is another great example of how smaller companies can move quickly and develop projects which make a big difference. Beck Greener staff drew on their backgrounds in science and engineering to offer assistance to local schools in science and technology. From this regular volunteering they grew a new project, a competition supporting and encouraging school pupils to come up with their own engineering inventions. Beck Greener were nominated for the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award, celebrating business impact in society.
Some of the most impressive of CSR commitments come from those small businesses who are truly ingrained in their communities. Shine, based in Stoke Newington, North London, provide holistic beauty and hair treatment in one of their two salons while roving around London. Shine is a founding member of Hackney Pirates, actively supporting the project to help youth in the community find the joy of reading, building their skills and feeding their imagination. Their small but tight-knit team of 20 employees demonstrates the gold standard in employee supported volunteering, showing that any business – no matter the size, can do good and have fun.
Find out more about Komorabi’s corporate events that combine immersive team building games with micro-volunteering, so your team can do good and have fun.