Promote those who volunteer most, think tank tells bosses
British business should award promotions or pay rises to employees who have done the most volunteering, according to a new Demos report.
With BITC's Give and Gain Day coming up this Friday, the think tank argues that in-house volunteering programmes are a 'triple win', boosting employees' skills and job satisfaction, reducing sky-high training costs for businesses and benefiting the local community. The scheme could see employees given time off work to mentor pupils to improve their literacy, organise community sports events or give careers advice at nearby schools.
British businesses currently spend around £40bn a year on training, roughly equivalent to the government's annual spending on schools, with individual leadership training courses costing an average of over £2,500 per person. Instead, Demos recommends bosses give their workers 'volunteer days' off work, in addition to their annual leave, and encourage a work culture of volunteering by including targets in performance reviews and using volunteer league tables amongst staff when deciding pay rises and promotions.
Figures cited in the report calculate the average cost per employee of running a volunteer program is just £381.10 a year, less than a third of the average cost per year of training a manager (approx £1,337).
The report includes polling showing 61% of employees agreed volunteering experience made them perform better in their job. Two-thirds (66%) saw a noticeable improvement in their communication skills, with negotiating (45%), team-working (43%) and leadership skills (41%) also noticing significant progress.
As part of the project Demos interviewed several business leaders, who backed the findings and reinforced the idea that employer volunteering schemes were a much more cost effective way of upskilling their workforce and retaining staff than expensive training courses.
The report is being published by Demos this Thursday.
A recent poll showed 58% of employees are likely to volunteer if they receive support from their employer, with less than one in five (17%) unlikely to take up the opportunity.
The report makes a distinction between 'skills-based volunteering' – utilising the employees existing professional skill-set such as an accounting doing the books for a charity – and additional volunteering – boosting soft skills such as communication, leadership and organisation.
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