Volunteering boosts employees during lockdown new research

As companies struggle to motivate teams working remotely, new research published today (8th January 2021) reveals that employers who support their staff to volunteer in schools and colleges has found employees to be more motivated, more productive and have a better sense of well-being.

The report, the Value of Volunteering examines the effect on individuals of volunteering in schools and colleges and the parallel benefits to their employers. It finds that volunteering in UK schools and colleges brings three-way wins, with benefits for employers, staff and young people.

Volunteers are already playing a vital role in supporting schools and young people during the pandemic.

For example, volunteers serve as governors to help schools make complex Covid related decisions or support young people by talking about different jobs and giving purpose to children’s learning at a time when this has never been more crucial.

The Education and Employers charity has also pioneered virtual interactive sessions between volunteers from a wide diversity of backgrounds and young people to help to motivate and inspire them. These sessions are available simultaneously as home-learning and in school for children of key workers.

Call for more people to volunteer to support schools and 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 are calling on employers to encourage more staff to volunteer in education. They can do so quickly, easily and for free via Inspiring The Future and Inspiring Governance which connect volunteers and schools and provide employers with data on staff volunteering.

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

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 benefiting 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. 

·        The overwhelming majority (94%) felt they gained a better understanding of society and social issues

·        Almost all people (99%) who are volunteering in schools felt that they made a difference to young people.

The new research, funded by Bank of America, tallies with previous Education and Employers research over the last ten years which shows that when students have encounters with volunteers from the world of work it has benefits to their education outcomes. This research found that meeting real life role models from the world of work improves academic attainment at GCSE level, increases young people’s earning potential, broadens young peoples’ horizons and raises their aspirations.

Hearing from volunteers also helps to excite children about subjects, increase motivation, confidence and attitude to learning as well as challenging gender and social stereotypes and reducing the likelihood of young people becoming NEET.

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.”

The report published by the charity Education and Employers with the CIPD will be available here from the 8th January.

Author: Editorial Team

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