Employee volunteering is not just for high days and holidays

Taking positive action in communities is a key part of being a responsible business. For companies of all sizes in Wales this can often take the form of employee volunteering - and for Wales & West Utilities it has developed into a long-term relationship with a local carers centre.

“Employee volunteering is such a positive and fulfilling activity and should be built into the fabric of every business’ operations. What’s more, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be a year-round activity rather than reserved for high days and holidays. As our research shows year after year, not only is volunteering good for the community but it greatly benefits staff and, in turn, their employers.  It improves leadership and communications skills, builds team spirit and increases confidence”. 

This is what BITC Cymru’s Jill Salter, who leads on our community engagement, has to say about businesses who give their time and skills to help their communities. Business in the Community (BITC) Cymru works with companies of all sizes and sectors to support them to take positive action, through activities such as employee volunteering, in communities across Wales. Wales & West Utilities (WWU), a long-standing member of BITC Cymru and a previous BITC Cymru Responsible Large Business of the Year is one such company that takes a positive approach to community engagement. 

The company's long-term relationship with Torfaen Carers Centre in Pontypool is delivering rewards for Wales & West Utilities and the carers’ headquarters. The centre has also enjoyed a complete makeover and some specialised IT training from the utilities company recently with manager Louise Alderman-Hook stating: “We are absolutely thrilled with the work done by the team at Wales and West Utilities”. Whilst Stuart Neill, a WWU manager involved in the project, said: “It was really inspiring seeing everyone pulling together and getting so much done for a good cause”. 

Matt Appleby, Director at BITC Cymru, added: 

“Volunteering is a great way for businesses like Wales & West Utilities to bring colleagues together, do some good work with communities, develop skills and walk the talk when it comes to their values as a company”. 

The most commonly cited reasons why companies engage in employee volunteering include:  

  • Encouraging staff engagement and providing an opportunity to volunteer  
  • Supporting staff learning and skills development  
  • Providing the opportunity for businesses to collaborate and participate in a national day of employee volunteering  
  • Building stronger team working  
  • Enabling businesses to make a positive impact in communities of greatest social need  
  • Enhancing brand reputation and profile  
  • Increasing staff morale and motivation  

The statistics bear out that employee volunteering is a positive and constructive activity. BITC Cymru's research following the largest day of employee volunteering, Give & Gain Day, shows that: 

  • 81% of employees who took part said they developed their skills such as networking, teambuilding and communication as a result
  • 66% believing that their newfound skills acquired as a result of the project would be useful to their work  
  • 100% saying it was important to them that their employer supported volunteering  
  • 66% saying their perception of the company they work for had improved as a result of employee volunteering   
  • 69% saying that they feel more committed to their employer as a result of taking part   

And of the communities who benefited from the volunteers’ work, 100% of partners stated they would like to work with employee volunteers again.  
If you would like to find out more about to get involved in employee volunteering in Wales, please contact Jill Salter (jill.salter@bitc.org.uk). You can also read the full Give & Gain Day Impact Report from Give & Gain Day 2017 online here