Why your organisation should be volunteering with young people

Are you a HR or L&D director looking for a new way to enhance the communication, confidence, and creativity of your employees? As part of their Learning to Work programme, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development have just released a very interesting report into employee development through community action. This report looks the benefits of volunteering programmes for youths from the other side – that of the volunteer – and, through interviews with participants from 13 different schemes, they have compiled a list of benefits to the individual and organisation alike.

The CIPD asked employers, including Marks and Spencers and Linklaters, their motivations for engaging their employees in local youth community programmes. The top six answers were:

  1. Giving something back to the community
  2. Enhancing employee development
  3. Driving employee engagement
  4. Building reputation and brand
  5. Supporting future workforce recruitment
  6. Linking to the organisation’s core values.

One-to-one mentoring, as provided by our mentors at Bridge Builders, was the most frequently mentioned volunteering activity. Schools careers talks and work experience also featured on the list.

Phrases such as “enhancing employee development” are not very explanatory. The CIPD were able to compile a list of the top ten key skills and behaviours that employees can develop through volunteering (those with an asterix were associated specifically with one-to-one mentoring).

  1. Community awareness and a wider appreciation of diversity*
  2. Confidence, for example in having difficult conversations and thinking on one’s feet*
  3. Coaching and mentoring*
  4. Communication, particularly when participating in talks and presentations*
  5. Networking and relationship-building, for example breaking barriers between offices or departments
  6. Team-building
  7. Enhancing professional knowledge*
  8. Self-awareness and reinforcing skills, particularly when providing careers advice or guidance*
  9. Workload management and organisational skills
  10. Creativity and adaptability

These are an excellent and broad range of skills for all employees and this report provides employers considering getting involved in community volunteering evidence for the all important business case. Additionally, they provide these top tips from the employers in their survey:

  • Obtain business buy-in
  • Build strong and open relationships with charity partners
  • Ensure that obstacles such as time constraints can be overcome
  • Be clear on what you can offer and what you want to build
  • Train volunteers where appropriate
  • Link volunteering to your learning strategy.

If any of this has inspired you to explore the possibility of your organisation volunteering, please do not hesitate to give Bridge Builders a call. We are currently seeking large organisations with middle and senior managers who are interested in one-to-one volunteering – a commitment of just one morning or afternoon a month. Our mentees are young men from poor backgrounds, who could really do with the extra support to help them identify and achieve their full potential.

Please call Clive Lewis or Amber Bullingham on 0333 200 4703 to find out more now – we have mentees waiting.

Helen Robinson