Are you on-board with Employer-Supported Volunteering?

Mohini Accenture#The Government has made a pledge to issue a policy on paid volunteering leave for all organisations, public or private, with more than 250 staff members. The volunteering landscape is set to experience huge changes, are you ready?

There is countless evidence which shows the positive impact of volunteering on society. The Office of National Statistics recently calculated the economic value to be £23.9 billion per year, accounting for 1.5 percent of the UK’s gross domestic product. From support for smaller communities and social programmes up to helping improve the environment, employee volunteers make a big difference.

Then there’s the impact on your organisation. Since we introduced our volunteering programme 15 years ago, we have seen a very positive impact. Last year alone, Accenture’s United Kingdom/Ireland 2015 Employee Volunteering Survey displayed the following results:

  • 89% of volunteers reported increased job satisfaction.
  • 87% of volunteers reported greater pride in the company.
  • 76% of volunteers said they developed core work skills.

In other words, ESV can improve workforce performance, which translates into better organisational performance.

Five upcoming trends from our 2020 Vision

There is no doubt that ESV will continue to evolve, driven by a blend of economic, technological and policy factors in the next few years. Organisations who embrace this change have a tremendous opportunity to make a greater social impact, whilst also benefiting their businesses.

In our new report, A 2020 Vision for Employer-Supported Volunteering, we have identified five key trends that can help you shape your ESV programme for maximum net social impact.

Trend 1: ESV as the standard, not the differentiator

Today, having an ESV programme can make your organisation stand out from the crowd. By 2020 it will be the norm. For organisations without ESV programmes, offering paid volunteering days will help improve employee engagement. Organisations with established ESV programmes will need to differentiate their programmes to stay ahead.

“Focusing on capacity building for charities will need to be a core part of ESV programmes.”

Trend 2: Capitalising on ESV

As more organisations start to develop ESV programmes, you will need to help the sector absorb the increased demand from ESV support in a way that helps drive positive social outcomes without adding costs, in terms of time and effort, to the voluntary sector. Focusing on capacity building for charities will need to be a core part of ESV programmes if supply and demand are to be balanced.

Trend 3: The rise of micro-volunteering

With convenience being the order of the day, micro volunteering offers the opportunity to volunteer in smaller, discrete, on-demand actions to benefit worthy causes and organisations. These can include activities such as digital mapping, crowdfunding, and questionnaire completion. Furthermore, technology can be great enabler for completing many of these volunteering opportunities online—something of special interest to the millennial generation now in the workforce.

Trend 4: Closing the digital skills gap

Digital skills are now in high demand and offers huge potential to boost economic growth in the UK. The voluntary sector in particular has the most to gain from exploiting the opportunities that Digital has to offer, with over 58% of charities in the UK lacking basic digital skills. Offering digital skills building as part of an ESV programme could better position the voluntary sector and begin to improve its digital skills.

“The voluntary sector in particular has the most to gain from exploiting the opportunities that Digital has to offer.”

Accenture developed ‘Go Digital’— a suite of digital skills training tools—which enables Accenture volunteers to teach digital skills to both young people and voluntary sector organisations. Go Digital is part of Accenture’s ‘Skills to Succeed’ programme, which aims to equip more than 3 million people with workplace and entrepreneurial skills by the end of fiscal 2020.

Trend 5: It’s all about me

The rise of the ‘Internet of Me’ means that online experiences are being personalised and customised for individual consumers and employees. As employees’ lives, particularly millennials, become increasingly connected and personalised, they will expect their workplace, and therefore, their ESV experience to match this. Starting to think about how to customise volunteering opportunities to individuals’ interests and career goals will be ever more important in order to provide a more engaging experience for volunteers.

Conclusion: Multiplying your impact

As the ESV landscape continues to evolve, there is a huge potential for organisations to increase positive social impact whilst also benefiting your employees. The five trends are hopefully an indication of what’s to come as you create or expand Employee-Sponsored Volunteering at your organisation.

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