Employer Supported Volunteering

Written by Charlotte - 07 Mar 2018 Category: HR news

We all know that volunteering is a good thing to do, but is there a way in which we can incorporate the benefits of volunteering into a busy workplace?

We all know that volunteering is a good thing to do, but is there a way in which we can incorporate the benefits of volunteering into a busy workplace? Employer-supported volunteering (ESV) provides employees with the the  opportunity to volunteer during working hours without needing to take extra time off.  Not all organisations offer ESV, and those that do will differ in the number of volunteering hours allocated to staff.

Why Volunteer?

Volunteering is a powerful way to benefit society, and people choose to volunteer for a variety of reasons. For some it provides an opportunity to connect with people they wouldn’t otherwise engage with and give back to a specific community or cause. For others, volunteering allows them to try something different, developing new skills and a sense of achievement in the process.

There are not enough paid staff to address the needs of a community or charitable initiative, so volunteers are incredibly valuable to non-profit organisations. Not only are volunteers always needed,  but research has also shown that the wellbeing of people is improved when they volunteer, creating a win-win situation for all!

Why offer ESV?

Despite the value of volunteering, there has been a 15.4% drop in the number of frequent hours spent volunteering in the UK. This decline highlights why establishing a culture of ESV is so essential. In an attempt to encourage participation, the government is considering the granting of three paid days’ volunteering leave on top of current standard leave entitlements, so it's important that organisations prepare for action and are ready to accommodate these changes.  

Accenture, outlining their vision for ESV in 2020, anticipate an shift in the volunteering landscape across the UK. They predict that organisations who embrace this change and fully participate in ESV will have a tremendous opportunity to make a more significant social impact, while also benefiting their businesses.

Accenture’s 2015 UK volunteering survey reported the following benefits:

  • 89% of volunteers reported increased job satisfaction

  • 87% of volunteers reported greater pride in the company

  • 76% of volunteers said they developed core work skills

  • 17% of volunteers said volunteering had helped them to develop stronger client relationships

However, the most significant benefit of ESV is not employee orientated but seen through social impact.  The time and skills employees contribute as volunteers can be hugely valuable to the voluntary sector and wider community within which the organisation operates.

As mentioned above, volunteering has been shown to boost wellbeing, and having happier employees can only be of benefit to your workplace.

Implementing ESV with CiviHR

The CIPD wants ESV to be recognised and integrated  into HR and people development. Integrating ESV from the HR side requires careful management of leave entitlements, tracking of hours spent volunteering, processing of leave requests, and following up with employees to monitor impact.  CiviHR offers a simple way of managing such processes effectively, allowing HR professionals to handle employee volunteering with ease. They  can allocate flexible volunteering patterns to different employees, monitor entitlement, process volunteering requests and assign follow-up workflows with a few simple clicks. It's also possible to store any supporting documentation such as a participation certificate in the system against each staff record.

Volunteering is the right thing to do for many reasons. We hope that by offering a simple yet effective solution for managing ESV, more organisations will be inspired to get on board and offer support to those communities in need by offering the time and skills of their employees.


Emotional Intelligence: the best way to lead?

Written by Charlotte - 28 Feb 2018 Category: HR news

I’m sure you’ve heard of IQ, but what about its less discussed counterpart, EQ?

I’m sure you’ve heard of IQ, but what about its less discussed counterpart, EQ? Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the other kind of smart. It affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities and make decisions. EQ is gaining ground as more and more studies reveal the benefits of establishing an EQ culture within the workplace.

The psychologist Daniel Goleman identifies EQ as having five key components:

  • Self-awareness: the ability to recognise and understand your moods and emotions, and how they affect others

  • Self-regulation: the ability to control impulses and feelings, and to think before acting

  • Internal motivation: being driven to pursue goals for personal reasons, rather than for some reward

  • Empathy: the ability to recognise and understand others’ motives, - essential for building and leading teams successfully

  • Social skills: the ability to manage relationships and build networks.

The advantages of having leaders with strong EQ

These are uncertain times. With Brexit looming and its potential impact on jobs, budgets and changes to HR policy, we need leaders to be adaptable, resilient and make good decisions. We also need leaders that can form positive connections with people. After all, an organisation is only as good as the people that work there; unmotivated, unhappy staff benefit no one.

This is where employing leaders with high EQ can help.  People with a high EQ tend to learn from their mistakes without dwelling on them, making them more successful overall than people with high IQ. Leaders with strong emotional intelligence also show more willingness to fail. This means that they are better at putting themselves out there, take ownership of any errors, and learn from each endeavour.  They tend to be highly empathic and can form strong relationships with colleagues, which encourages respect and helps to create a positive work environment. There are also multiple benefits to be had client side: people would much rather do business with someone they like and can connect with, and who they trust to deliver a service or product.

How to foster EQ in the workplace

In 2012, a manufacturing company partnered with Six Seconds, the emotional intelligence network, to increase the engagement of their employees using their specially designed EQ leadership framework. Engagement increased from 33% to 70%, while performance also increased by 9.4%.

However, there is some debate around whether it's possible to teach EQ. A stronger policy might be to ensure high emotional intelligence is already present in new hires, so they can start leading in an emotionally-driven manner from the get-go. Tailoring the recruitment process to include key tasks and questions that directly measure EQ will allow you to make the right choices when it comes to selecting future leaders for your organisation.

To identify EQ, HR Magazine recommends asking the following interview questions:

  • What are their values?

  • What or who inspires them?

  • Do they build lasting professional friendships?

  • Ask them to explain how they would adapt their team’s performance in the face of sudden organisational change.

  • How do they deal with criticism?

Emotional intelligence is a balance between the rational and emotional brain, an appealing prospect given the likely turbulent times ahead as the UK workforce shifts and settles post-Brexit. For those organisations that had not previously considered prioritising EQ, perhaps a re-evaluation is in order.

Further Reading

Procedure, Procedure, Procedure

Written by Charlotte - 19 Feb 2018 Category: HR news

I’m pleased to introduce our guest speaker, Will Goulding, from Simpla HR, who has written today’s blog post.

The three golden rules of HR are as follows:

I’m pleased to introduce our guest speaker, Will Goulding, from Simpla HR, who has written today’s blog post.

The three golden rules of HR are as follows:

  • Procedure
  • Procedure,
  • Procedure.  

The legislator cares not if you are kind-hearted, that your business is in the not-for-profit sector, or if historically you have had a good relationship with your colleagues.  The legislator cares about Procedure.

A procedure is founded on contractual information and written policies, a.k.a paperwork!  You can argue about who said what and when, and depending on how much money you have to spend on talented lawyers, you may or may not be in a position to defend your organisation in the event of a dispute. It is in the hands of the Gods (as many expensive lawyers refer to themselves).

Unfortunately, if you issue a document to an employee that is in breach of legislation, or is not fit for purpose, you are relinquishing your opportunity to defend yourself (notwithstanding the possibility that the document may not have been issued at all!).

It is wrong.  It is there in black and white and should you find yourself having to deal with an employee issue it is too late to start editing.

If you do not have procedures in place to deal with employment matters (however they manifest), you will not be equipped to manage the issue, nor will you be able to demonstrate to the legislator that you dealt with it in the prescribed manner.

Information that you provide to staff is formed of two parts, statutory and non-statutory.  Statutory is the information afforded to employees by law. Non-statutory is the information you issue to influence the culture you wish to instil.  Both are essential, both motivate staff, and both protect the interests of the organisation.

In my experience, non-profits are some of the worst offenders when it comes to ensuring their documentation is in place, compliant and up to date.  There sometimes appears to be this assumption that because the organisation’s mission is charitable, the employees will see their role in the organisation in the same vein.  This is not the case and pages of tribunal evidence will corroborate this conclusion.

All the excellent work that you do as an organisation can be undone by a failure to implement and act on procedure.  The relatively inexpensive process of dealing with and maintaining your documentation is a small price to pay when you consider the potential for ruinous litigation.

With products such as CiviHR that enhance user’s ability to access and maintain an easy and efficient HR management system there really should be no reason not to have one’s ‘house in order.’


Will Goulding, Director

Simpla HR

01737 300213 / 07762252220   


About CiviHR

CiviHR is a project to create affordable HR software for non-profit organisations. By developing open source technology the benefits can be shared with non-profits everywhere.


CiviHR is a project to create affordable HR software for non-profit organisations. By developing open source technology the benefits can be shared with non-profits everywhere.