Policy Report

Volunteering to learn: employee development through community action

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Volunteering to learn: employee development through community action

Published September 2014

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This report forms part of the CIPD’s Learning to Work programme, which aims to promote the role of employers in reducing youth unemployment, and build the business case for investing in the future workforce. The programme also promotes direct contact with young people via two youth volunteering programmes: Steps Ahead Mentoring and Inspiring the Future. 

Research exploring volunteering typically focuses on the impact on the recipient organisation or individual. This research turns the tables by considering the impact on the employee. In our November 2013 report, Youth social action and transitions into work: what role for employers?, we identified a connection between volunteering and employee development. The aim of this research is to delve deeper into this link to understand how employees develop through participating in volunteering schemes.

The research is relevant for learning and development (L&D), HR and corporate social responsibility (CSR) professionals seeking to maximise employee development. It provides insight alike for those who are new to employee volunteering or those with established employee schemes. It also provides insight for charities and not-for-profit organisations seeking to connect with employers. The research was conducted between April and June 2014 with 13 case study organisations of a range of sizes and industries, including M&S, National Grid, Nationwide, UBS and PWC.

Contents of the report:

  • Introduction 
  • Existing research into volunteering and learning 
  • Overview of employee volunteering schemes 
  • The link between volunteering and learning 
  • Development of skills and behaviours 
  • Measuring impact 
  • Facilitating volunteering and maximising the benefits 
  • Conclusion

Find out more about the Learning to Work programme.