Employee volunteering and talent development

There is a new way of managing employee volunteering, which transforms it into a powerful tool for developing and retaining talent. Extensive research throughout the world shows the correlation that exists between volunteering and skill development. This is a tool which enables a large amount of employee talent to be developed at a low cost.

In a world where change is the norm, and where change takes place increasingly quickly, companies must adapt to change in order to survive and achieve their goals. This ability to adapt depends on people, on the human capital of companies.

Competitive advantages and business models will become ever more rapidly obsolete, and the successful companies of the future will be those with the ability to stay one step ahead. Therefore, the real competitive advantage of companies will lie in their employees, who will possess the skills necessary to reinvent those competitive advantages and business models.

In this process, the key tasks for companies are:to recruit people with potential talent, develop those talents and keep the people in the company. Employee volunteering is an innovative and powerful tool for developing and retaining talent.

Talent development experts say that people learn in the following way:

  • 10% through training and reading
  • 20% through feedback and coaching
  • 70% through experience

Source: Center for Creative Leadership

Volunteering offers volunteers a wide range of experiences. These experiences become a source of learning and development.To guarantee a certain level of learning or talent development, it is essential to custom design volunteering experiences. This will not only develop the skills of volunteers but also significantly increase the impact of their  social interventions.

The methodology of transformational employee volunteering developed by the AsociaciónTrabajoVoluntario offers a broad range of ways to participate.

The idea is simple. If a volunteer finds volunteering opportunities that suit their level of commitment and interests, they will have the basic requirements to grow with practice. After some experience, this process will activate their transformative role and initiate their personal growth. By managing a program using this methodology, more volunteers will take on leadership roles and some will undertake extraordinary initiatives.

Through our experience organizing volunteer programs, we have learned that volunteers come in all shapes and sizes.

a)     Somehelp with specific activities at weekends, such as improving the infrastructure of a school.

b)     Some volunteersoffer their skills and talents to a social project or organization for a long period of time.

c)      Some take the initiative of designing and implementing their own projects.

d)     Lastly, some people go beyond the parameters of a project. They become so committed that they turn into drivers of change.  We call this last group “agents of change”.

In many cases,the previous experience of volunteers consists of participating and contributing to goods collection and/or money raising campaigns. This kind of activityis often the gateway to volunteering.

If a volunteer program offers opportunities to each of these volunteers, this activity portfolio becomes a path that they gradually start down. The activities undertaken by volunteersdemand results for the community, this “adrenaline” drives them to put into practice skills such as leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship.

The AsociaciónTrabajoVoluntarioteam believes that there are potential entrepreneur leaders and agents of change everywhere, and that they just need to be awakened. Through their transformational volunteering model, they hope to catalyze social change on a larger scale and contribute to the development of volunteers simultaneously.

2 thoughts on “Employee volunteering and talent development

  • As you have pointed out Jaime, there so much overlap in our thinking. Experience is so key in learning anything, including learning how one feels about volunteering. People need to have the right kinds of opportunities to fall in love with volunteering. As you point out, there is a path that people seem to travel as they grow in their passion and investment related to volunteering. As we seek to recruit and develop volunteers, we have to consider where they fall on that path. Many first-timers are ‘tourists’ just checking things out. But if they have the right kind of experience and get hooked, they can fall in love with volunteering, which puts them on the path of their own development. Such development contains so many benefits for a company (as you mention): employee attraction, engagement, retention, skill development, morale and performance. Love your thinking, Jaime!

    • Thanks for sharing your ideas Brent!
      The volunteering experience creates a learning platform that can be managed in many directions. We aim to generate agents of change and develop an specific set of skills to deliver important value for the community, the company and the volunteer.

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