HR & Management

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Give your workers “volunteer days” off work

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Bosses should award promotions or pay rises to employees who have done the most volunteering, according to a new report.

Think tank Demos argues that in-house volunteering programmes are a “triple win”, boosting employees’ skills and job satisfaction, reducing sky-high training costs for businesses and benefiting the local community.

British businesses currently spend around £40bn a year on training, roughly equivalent to the government’s annual spending on schools, with individual leadership training courses costing an average of over £2,500 per person.

Instead, Demos recommends bosses give their workers “volunteer days” off work, in addition to their annual leave, and encourage a work culture of volunteering by including targets in performance reviews and using volunteer league tables amongst staff when deciding pay rises and promotions.

“Getting more staff to volunteer is a triple-win for businesses,” says Jonathan Birdwell, head of the citizenship programme at Demos and author of the report.

“Employers gain workers that are more skilled, productive and loyal without having to pay out for expensive training courses. Employees gain new skills and the satisfaction of making a difference in their community. And by encouraging their employees to work with young people, businesses unlock the potential of the next generation of workers.”

The report shows that 61 per cent of employees agreed volunteering experience made them perform better in their job. Two-thirds (66 per cent) saw a noticeable improvement in their communication skills, with negotiating (45 per cent), team-working (43 per cent) and leadership skills (41 per cent) also noticing significant progress.

“Lots of employees would like to volunteer but aren’t being given the chance. We need to get businesses on board to make volunteering an everyday part of people’s work life.”

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