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.


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.