Measuring Volunteerism: Impacts on Employee DevelopmentPosted on November 30, 2011 by Sadie Miller
This week, Common Impact released “Making the Case for Skills-Based Volunteering,” sponsored by Capital One. The report shares a step-by step approach to implementing a successful skills-based volunteering project and two case studies of skills-based partnerships. Common Impact also interviewed volunteers, reporting the benefits of skills-based volunteerism to employees:
- 87 percent of skilled volunteers say their project increased their interest in volunteering
- 91 percent of skilled volunteers say they see their project will “make a real difference to the nonprofit client”
- 92 percent had a relevant professional development experience
- 92 percent feel more inclined to recommend their company as a great place to work
These findings are not new. Several major CSR studies measure volunteerism and its influence on skill development. Using surveys from employee self-reports and manager and executive interviews, reports highlight the impact of employee volunteerism on motivation and satisfaction, training, and transferable skill development.
Motivation and Productivity
All studies reviewed indicate a relationship between volunteerism or pro bono service and job satisfaction.
- Seventy percent of managers believed pro bono work improved job satisfaction.
- Employees involved in volunteerism are significantly more likely to be motivated in their jobs.
In LBG Associates’ Pro Bono Service: The Business Case and Can Corporate Volunteering Support the Bottom Line, companies reported that volunteering enhanced skills by:
- Giving employees an opportunity to practice their skills
- Providing a cost-effective method for building transferable professional and leadership skills
- Build relationships with other employees
- Empowers employees to use professional skills to make a difference
Transferable Skill Development
Executives and managers view pro bono and employee volunteerism as a way to enhance employee skills. According to a report on volunteerism and the bottom line, over 50 percent of corporate executives and CR managers interviewed believe volunteer programs help employees build or enhance professional and leadership skills and abilities. Corporate Citizenship found significant reported skill gains for employees involved in community programs. Volunteerism offers opportunities for growth in multiple skill sets. The top 3 skill gains for employee volunteers were:
- Team-related competencies (collaboration, influencing others)
- Creative thinking
A review of current research on company-sponsored volunteerism shows a strong relationship between volunteerism and employee skill development, job commitment, and satisfaction. Traditional volunteerism like direct service enables employees to communicate and problem solve outside of their comfort zone. Skilled volunteerism enables employees to adapt business skills to novel problems and take leadership opportunities outside of their experience level or job description. Either way, volunteerism is a win-win strategy for employee training and development.
 LBG Associates. Pro Bono Service: The Business Case. Research Report. Corporate Citizenship, 2010. Web. 02 Nov. 2011.
 Corporate Citizenship. Good Companies, Better Employees. Research Report. Corporate Citizenship, 2010. Web. 02 Nov. 2011.
 LBG Associates’ Pro Bono Service: The Business Case and Can Corporate Volunteering Support the Bottom Line
 LBG Associates. Can Corporate Volunteerism Support the Bottom Line?. Research Report. Corporate Citizenship, 2010. Web. 02 Nov. 2011.
 Corporate Citizenship. Good Companies, Better Employees. Research Report. Corporate Citizenship, 2010. Web. 02 Nov. 2011
 Corporate Citizenship. Valuing Employee Community Involvement. Research Report. Corporate Citizenship, 2010.