Whether as a team-building activity, as part of the CR strategy or as an employer branding tool – companies use corporate volunteering, also called employee volunteering, for many reasons and in many different ways. What they all have in common is that involvement in such activities can provide many benefits for companies.
Corporate volunteering is the active involvement [of employees] in civic matters, with participants investing their time, individual skills and knowledgeCase study on corporate volunteering in Germany
For more than 5 years, we at vostel.de have been helping companies to develop and implement effective corporate volunteering programmes. In this blog post, we would like to share with you its four key benefits.
To gain a practical insight, we spoke with Theresa Krohn, Head of Corporate Communications & Sustainability at Scout24, and Digney Eisner, CSR Manager at Delivery Hero, who shared their views and corporate volunteering goals.
4 key benefits of effective corporate volunteering programmes
1 | Creating added value for society
With their commitment, companies demonstrate that they consider themselves an integral part of the society in which they operate. By implementing corporate volunteering programmes, companies position themselves and show that they want to get involved in societal activities – ideally complementing sustainable entrepreneurial practices (caution: danger of greenwashing!).
Theresa Krohn from Scout24: “Corporate volunteering is a long-standing tradition at Scout24 and part of our corporate culture. Since 2011, our employees have been able to participate in a range of social projects once a year on our Social Day. We believe that giving back and helping to shape society is important and the right thing to do.”
Digney Eisner from Delivery Hero: “We offer corporate volunteering opportunities for our employees to give back to the communities where they live and work. Every employee at Delivery Hero can use two days per year to volunteer with community partners.”
2 | Helping employees develop skills
Employees benefit in different ways from their volunteering experiences.
Whether volunteering with seniors, children or refugees, in each case different social skills are developed. For example, during their assignment, employees must adapt their communication and interaction style to the persons they are communicating with. In addition, by participating in pro bono projects, employees can apply their professional skills in a new context and solidify them, which will, in turn, be beneficial to their job performance.
There is a personal benefit involved as well. Stepping out of their comfort zone and experiencing new perspectives and life realities expands the horizons of employees. According to Digney Eisner, “using already existing skills/knowledge to help a charity or non-profit organization” and “developing new skill sets and expertise” are further benefits that come from corporate volunteering.
3 | Increasing employee motivation and retention
To retain employees, companies have to keep them satisfied and motivated. Here, too, a corporate volunteering programme can play a decisive role. Why? Feeling a sense of purpose in a job and working for a responsible employer is becoming increasingly important for each generation. (If you are also looking to get more out of work, read Lukas Marzi’s guest post on this topic).
Moreover, a study published by Deloitte shows that employees who are involved in corporate volunteering identify more strongly with the company.
4 | Team building
Getting involved as a team and giving back to society while spending time together outside the work-related context strengthens the team spirit. The team collectively receives positive feedback on their commitment. In addition, the projects require a new way of working together. The new requirements mean that all employees act together at eye level and can practise their ability to work in a team.
For Delivery Hero, corporate volunteering also means “connecting and meeting new colleagues from different teams”, thus strengthening the entire corporate culture.
To achieve these effects, such a programme should be incorporated into the overall company strategy. In order to be effective and successful, employee commitment should never be seen as a “sideshow”.
At our partner companies, the programmes are designed and overseen by dedicated teams/departments. At Delivery Hero, the corporate volunteering activities are organised by their Corporate Social Responsibility Team.
Theresa Krohn from Scout24: “Our corporate volunteering programme is managed by the Sustainability Team. In addition, there is the Cares Team. These employees volunteer for a good cause outside work and organise activities such as annual Christmas activities for children in need or clothing donations.”
There are many other factors that businesses need to take into consideration for a corporate volunteering programme to be successful and effective, including alignment with the needs of the social sector, successful communication within the company and the willingness to rethink and – if necessary – “ditch” dearly loved projects or programmes. Our next blog post will be dedicated to precisely this topic. What other benefits have you observed at your company? Why did you decide for or against establishing a corporate volunteering programme?
Are you interested in learning more about how corporate volunteering could be implemented in your company? Simply send us a message!