Nearly two thirds of UK employers do not provide a good level of support for their staff to volunteer.
However, 58% of employees said they would volunteer if their employer helped them to do so, according to research by independent charity V and YouGov, which consists of responses from 1,512 employees and managers.
The findings suggest UK organisations are failing to capitalise on the demand from employees to volunteer, despite a strong appetite for employees to engage in volunteering programmes through their work.
More than half (58%) of employees said they would volunteer if their employer helped them to do so. Public sector employees (66%) were more interested in volunteering compared to those in the private sector (56%). Women (66%) were also more likely to engage in volunteering than men (52%).
Almost all (96%) of managers polled agreed certain workplace skills can be gained through volunteering, such as self-confidence, understanding of social and cultural issues, and team work. In addition, two-thirds of managers (63%) agreed volunteering could have a positive impact on an individual’s career progression.
Many managers said not knowing how to measure the benefits of volunteering was a barrier to encouraging employees to take part (38%). Others felt a lack of knowledge and capability within their organisation was a factor that limited volunteering opportunities (31%).
Terry Ryall, chief executive of V, said: “Volunteering is a fantastic way of enhancing an employee’s wellbeing while adding to the success of the business. However, there is increasingly a disconnect between the demand for volunteering and the ability of UK organisations to deliver.
“Organisations should be looking to embrace volunteering as a key component of their wider corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. Through our ‘Volunteering Works’ programme, we are enabling organisations of all sizes to get on board and drive a workforce which exemplifies [prime minister] David Cameron’s vision of a big society.”
Miles Templeman, director general at the Institute of Directors, added: “It is clear that in the current climate many organisations simply cannot afford large-scale financial investment programmes to help communities, so allowing staff time off from work to do good is the ideal solution.
“Employee volunteering is now a major part of the corporate responsibility mix, enabling companies to leverage their most valuable assets – their staff – to address some of the most significant problems facing our society today.”
Read more articles on workplace volunteering programmes