Link employee volunteering to L&D, says CIPD paper

Encouraging employees to help people into work can benefit companies' learning and development programmes, according to a report by the CIPD.

Volunteering to learn: Employee development through community action sets out a framework to involve staff in volunteering with work programmes for young people.

The framework consists of a list of volunteering activities and their associated benefits. For example, giving a career talk at schools can develop an employee's communication and confidence.

It suggests CSR projects are becoming more linked to HR, with corporate responsibility, L&D and HR becoming more integrated.

National Grid head of UK community investment Kate Van der Plank said that the employee volunteering model in her company has been "sharpened up" with the help of HR.

"I actually work really closely with HR, so although I am part of corporate affairs, I am actually probably more aligned, on a day-to-day basis, with HR," she explained. "I think our HR team are really enlightened on all of this and are very supportive."

CIPD learning and development research adviser Ruth Stuart welcomed the closer relationship between CSR, L&D and HR professionals, but warned that there is "more to be done".

"There’s definitely an opportunity for volunteering to form part of an organisation’s wider learning and development strategy," she said. "To support this, our research highlights the need for companies to delve further into the key skills and behaviours that volunteering can build.

"It also considers how L&D and HR practitioners can use community action to drive development, in order to achieve organisational success.” 

Further reading

For more on how CSR can be linked to development, see HR's feature on creating shared value.