A Guide for Setting Up Your Company’s Employee Volunteering Programme
Volunteering programmes are a great way to get your staff involved in worthy causes and also give them a deeper sense of purpose
Every human being has an inherent need for connection. Introducing an employee volunteering programme (EVP) is a great way to enable your employees to create and strengthen their bonds with each other and with the larger community. In this article we will give you tips to set up your company’s first employee volunteering programme.
An employee volunteering programme is a way to enable your employees to give back to society by participating in charitable activities. As their employer, you can facilitate this by collaborating with a non-profit or charitable organisation that makes it easy for your staff to volunteer for the activity of their choice.
Why you should have an employee volunteering programme
In today’s hectic times, the workplace is an extension of our lives. It’s also where workers derive a sense of purpose. By offering volunteering opportunities, employers can help employees find meaning and get motivated. An EVP is also a great opportunity for employees to know each other outside of work and bond over their shared interests.
What can employees gain from the EVP?
- A platform to show and develop leadership skills, try their hand at management, and learn about group dynamics.
- A great opportunity to explore one’s strengths in areas other than work.
- An opportunity to contribute to activities that will create an impact and work towards the development of society.
- A platform to connect and network with people from diverse backgrounds.
- A sense of purpose and camaraderie.
- A community of people who are working towards the same mission.
How to choose an EVP programme
There are a lot of causes and initiatives available to choose from. You might find that a lot of people/organisations around you are interested in working for one particular cause or collaborating with organisations from one particular field. So do your own research to identify what suits your company’s values. You can start with a needs assessment survey in your neighbourhood which will help you choose the right cause to support.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing a programme
- In a week, how much time can my employees commit to this?
- Will the commute to the location be feasible for all the volunteers?
- In what ways can I support them while they volunteer for this cause?
- What am I trying to achieve by supporting this cause?
- In what ways am I going to assess the meaningfulness of this programme?
The last question is especially crucial before selecting a programme because having a clear agenda and intention makes it easier to track the desired outcome. Having data is very valuable because it enables you to revisit your styles and patterns and also allows you to see gaps and work on them. You can also do a qualitative analysis by talking to people involved in the programme and collecting their learnings and experiences.
Establish SMART Goals to make the programme more meaningful
A SMART goal stands for a Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound goal. Having a concrete and measurable goal increases your chances of achieving the desired outcome. Creating well-defined SMART goals will also help you and the volunteers feel more in control of the entire project. It will make it easier to do a pre and post-analysis which very often acts as an encouraging factor for the volunteers involved.
Things to be mindful of while introducing the programme to employees
Encourage, don’t force
Volunteering, as the word suggests, is voluntary. So while you can do everything to encourage people to participate and make the most of the EVP opportunity, make sure you don’t pressurise them too much.
Raise awareness about the intention behind the programme
Your employees will trust the EVP more once the agenda and intention behind it are clearly explained to them. Speak to them about the cause and its importance to society/your company’s values/your commitments to the local community, and encourage your people to ask questions.
Communicate the results
The success of any EVP hinges on its ‘aspirational value’ for employees. When you clearly communicate the programme’s achievements and successes, you make it more desirable for your people to participate in it.
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Stay tuned to the Manah blog for more such employee engagement ideas!