Volunteering in schools has ‘hugely positive impact’ on employees, report finds

Research reveals workers who are supported by their employer to offer time and expertise are more motivated and productive

A new report co-published by the CIPD today has revealed the huge benefits of employee voluntary work in the education sector.

The study, The Value of Volunteering, published in association with Education and Employers and the Bank of America, found that workers supported by their employers to volunteer in schools and colleges were more motivated, more productive and had a greater sense of wellbeing.

The research polled 1,000 people, all volunteering in virtual activities such as career insights talks, mock interviews, mentoring or serving as a school governor. It found four in five (80 per cent) reported their voluntary work had enhanced their communication skills, the same number (79 per cent) said it improved their sense of mission at work, and 68 per cent reported greater motivation at work.

Nearly every respondent (99 per cent) felt they had made a difference to young people’s lives.

Responding to the findings, Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, said the timing of the report was critical as schools faced unimaginable pressures from lockdown restrictions. “The pandemic has increased people’s interest in volunteering and wanting to help others in these challenging times. Having employers and managers who are supportive of their employees doing voluntary work has therefore never been more important,” he said.

“It’s clear to see from the research that employers who support their staff to take part in meaningful volunteering work will be rewarded with reinvigorated employees benefiting from improved skills and competencies,” Cheese said, adding that this could help boost retention and flag organisations as an employer of choice for top talent in the future.

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Jemeela Quraishi, social impact and innovation lead at the CIPD, said employer-supported volunteering worked best when it was clearly publicised and where there was flexibility to ensure opportunities were accessible to all members of the workforce, such as working parents impacted by school closures.

“[Volunteering] can really be a great way to see how your skill set and knowledge can have real benefits, and it can have mental health benefits too,” she said, adding that the CIPD recently relaunched its Steps Ahead mentoring scheme, this time focusing on providing supporting young people.

Ultimately, the impact on young people when employers support employee voluntary work can be incredible, says 

Nick Chambers, CEO of Education and Employers, said volunteering could have a massive impact on young people, especially at a time when the job market seems volatile and career prospects uncertain.

“Volunteers from the world of work provide young people with inspiration. They help broaden their horizons, raise aspirations and increase motivation, which leads to improved attainment,” he said.