Cricket has always been big in our family and so as the summer sport season gets underway, Pixie Payroll has just renewed our sponsorship of Mullion Cricket Club.

It got us thinking more about how both businesses and individuals can make a real contribution to their local community, especially through volunteering.

Triple benefits of volunteering

Volunteering offers more benefits than simply the giving of time. The community project or charity that the volunteers work with will gain access to skills and experience they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, which could help boost awareness and growth.

The volunteers themselves will also be able to learn new skills and get a mental health boost from the pride and satisfaction of making a difference. Finally, the volunteers’ employers will build a positive reputation & brand, and improve employee engagement. 

Giving time off for volunteering

An increasing trend at the moment is sometimes called employer-supported volunteering (ESV) and is when employees are granted paid time off from work each year to volunteer at a charity or local community project. Examples of ESV are the employee volunteering to be a marshal at a fundraising event, helping out at a foodbank or even becoming a school governor or charity trustee.

The amount of paid time off is decided by the employer but could be around 2-3 days each year in addition to the annual leave allowance.

Things to consider when developing an ESV policy

If you’re thinking about introducing an ESV policy in your business, the first step should be to speak to your employees about it and see what they think. Reassure them that taking the time off is optional and that no one needs to feel obligated to volunteer.

Think about how you’ll record volunteering leave and how your employees can share their experiences of volunteering. If other staff members hear about how great taking the volunteer leave is, they will be much more likely to take up the opportunity too.  

Some employees might be really keen to volunteer but don’t have a place in mind so the employer could help them find somewhere – this might be a charity that the employer already has a relationship with or an organisation that can help the employee develop some specific skills.

Spreading the word

At a time where recruitment can still be tricky, including volunteering leave in a job’s list of benefits could help to attract the best candidates. It helps potential employees see that the company’s values align with their own and even gives them the flexibility to continue with an existing commitment such as being a mentor.

And don’t be afraid to share the success of the ESV policy through your communication channels – it’s great content! 

We’ll be spending quite a bit of the next few months listening to the sound of leather on willow (weather permitting!) and we would encourage other employers to think about how sponsorship or volunteering can benefit their business and employees.