How volunteering boosts employees during lockdown

As companies struggle to motivate teams working remotely, a new report has found that employers who support their staff to volunteer in schools and colleges are more motivated, more productive and have a better sense of well-being. 

The report, launched at the Value of Volunteering online event today (8 January 2021), examines the effect on individuals of volunteering in schools and colleges and the parallel benefits to their employers.  

Researchers surveyed over 1,000 people volunteering in activities such as career insights talks, mock interviews, mentoring or serving as a school governor. 

Volunteering in UK schools and colleges brings three-way wins, with benefits for employers, staff and young people, according to the research published by the charity Education and Employers with the CIPD. 

The report found that education volunteering offered HR managers a simple solution to counter the downsides of remote-working and motivating staff, inspiring their teams, and reconnecting employees with the workplace. 

Employee-volunteering in schools was found to be a sound investment for employers, bringing multiple benefits for individuals and organisations: 

80% or more volunteers reported benefits for their communication, influencing & relationship skills with over half also benefitting for leadership and other skills. 

  • 79% reported improvements to their sense of mission at work as a result of volunteering in education and 68% reported greater motivation at work. 84% also described benefits for their motivation in day-to-day life outside of work. 
  • Over a quarter reported greater productivity at work, with 44% reporting manager recognition for the impact of their volunteering. More than a third said volunteering had helped them apply for different or more senior roles.  
  • Volunteers also report significant wellbeing benefits with 84% describing benefits for their motivation in day-to-day life outside of work. 
  • The overwhelming majority (94%) felt they gained a better understanding of society and social issues 

Nearly all volunteers (99%) felt that they made a difference to young people.  

At a time when some staff are feeling more disconnected from their workplaces than ever before and UK bosses are grappling with how to inspire their teams, Education and Employers and CIPD are calling on employers to encourage more staff to volunteer in education.  

Education and Employers runs Inspiring The Future and Inspiring Governance which connects volunteers and schools quickly, easily and for free. 

Peter Cheese, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said: “When employers help volunteering, it is rewarded with loyalty. This report shows two thirds of volunteers are more likely to speak positively about their employer and half are more satisfied at work.  

“Such loyalty can reduce costs associated with turnover and improve how staff interact with customers and partners.  

“Indeed, if we consider the productivity benefits flowing from well-being and motivation, as well as brand and CSR value, volunteering may be one of the best investments an employer can make.” 

Nick Chambers, CEO of Education and Employers, said: “The pandemic has caused a significant loss of learning for pupils of all ages – experienced most acutely by those from disadvantaged backgrounds.  

“Volunteers from the world of work provide young people with inspiration, they help broaden their horizons, raise aspirations and increase motivation which leads to improved attainment.  

“Our interactive virtual volunteering programme has enabled young people across the country to connect with an amazing range of volunteers and such is the demand that we need many people to get involved. 

“A strategic role as a governor or even just one hour a year talking to young people about their job and career route can make a big difference.” 

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