How volunteering helps retain staff

Paid days off work to volunteer (referred to as corporate or employee volunteering) is becoming commonplace in corporate Australia. Increasingly, organisations recognise that allowing their staff to volunteer in work-time has big benefits, not just for the employee and the charity they are supporting, but for the company as well.

Providing your employees with the opportunity to volunteer delivers many benefits to the business, including a more positive corporate image, improved staff morale, the opportunity to develop staff skills and build teams.

And employees are also searching for ways to combine work with their passions and give back to the community. A recent SEEK survey showed that 72% of Australians believed that companies should actively support volunteering, with 51% saying companies should have programs that allow staff to volunteer during business hours.

NAB manages what is widely recognised as a leading corporate volunteering program in Australia, with employees receiving a minimum of 16 hours paid volunteering leave each year. In 2013, NAB employees volunteered 18,124 days, the equivalent of a value of $8.5 million. NAB employees can choose to donate their skills to community organisations and last year skilled volunteering was up 25%. Communities across Australia will benefit from $50 million of value with NAB pledging to reach one million volunteering hours through its employee volunteering program by 2018. This pledge has been made this National Volunteer Week.

Michaela Healy, NAB Group Executive People, Communications and Governance, says that providing volunteering opportunities for employees makes good business sense.

“Our employees are increasingly looking for meaningful volunteering opportunities where they can leverage their own skills and experience to help organisations drive social outcomes. We believe what's good for our employees is good for business. NAB employees who volunteer are more engaged, which is essential in ensuring they are happy and productive at work.”

A recent study conducted by Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) into the factors that contribute to participation in corporate volunteering found that corporate volunteering improves employee satisfaction, retention and engagement.

Dr Debbie Haski-Leventhal, who presented the findings, says, "the most important motivator for participation in corporate volunteering is that it makes work more meaningful to the employee."

"Creating a meaningful workplace is something every organisation should be working towards and allowing employees to contribute to the community by volunteering is a great way to do this," says SEEK Volunteer Manager, Amanda Robinson.

"Volunteer positions often require skills, experience or expertise that many working Australians put into practice everyday but may not realise could be of value to not-for-profit organisations."
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