How much money could volunteering save your organisation?

We spend a lot of time talking about what employee volunteering can give a business - developing skills, building teams and boosting a company’s reputation. But can it also be a money saver?

One company with a mature volunteering programme and 9,500 employees achieved an annual saving of nearly £2m through the motivational benefits of volunteering. It came to light when they compared staff turnover rates and found a dramatic decrease - from an average 19% to 2.7% - amongst those staff who took part in their employee volunteering programme.  

Of course there are costs involved – managing the volunteering programme itself and payments to staff filling in for those who are away from the workplace. But because of the high costs of recruiting and replacing staff, the company calculated it was saving almost £2m each year even after taking those costs into account.

And this is in retail, where margins are tight. Add in less tangible benefits such as improved productivity from happier staff, great PR and developing skills and it’s even more of a no-brainer!

So what can we learn from this?

  • This very tangible business benefit is driven by participation rates – the more employees you get out, the more you save.  So be as pro-active as possible to encourage employee involvement and focus on “easy access” opportunities that work for your people.   
  • A blend of employee volunteering opportunities is always best, so don’t be afraid of offering a range of different opportunities to drive participation, before introducing more skills-based activities to follow up.
  • Connecting your payroll to your volunteer database, like this company did, makes it possible to evaluate your strategy. 

As a footnote, a recent CIPD report on Resourcing and Talent Planning confirms that median labour turnover in the “private services” sector is up from 13.8% in 2011 to 16.1% in 2012 so this is clearly a big issue for UK business and is likely to be a key priority for HR Directors.

At TimeBank, we can help you to realise these benefits by helping you to plan your programme and providing a range of opportunities that get your employees out volunteering. We can get you to a position where work-time volunteering is demonstrating a clear bottom-line return on your investment.