16. 02. 2024 Corporate responsibility

Start with corporate volunteering on a small scale. The activity should bring joy, not complications

Representatives of companies and organizations interested in corporate volunteering gathered in Banská Bystrica.

Can corporate volunteering improve workplace relationships? Can it contribute to the development of people’s skills in the company or reduce turnover? How to have happier employees? Representatives of companies and organizations found answers to these and many more questions at the “Rendezvous with Corporate Volunteering” a conference dedicated to volunteer activities. At the 365.labb in Banská Bystrica, they received tips and tricks on how to start volunteering and how to motivate the company’s staff to participate. 

In a panel discussion, Miroslava Janušicová from IBM ISC, Marika Bradiaková from Slovenská sporiteľňa, and PhDr. Jana Dupáková from ZSS Senium not only provided examples from good practice but also recommendations on how to start with volunteering. Zuzana Reľovská focused on the topic of Employee Wellbeing and mental health of employees. 

Better perception of the work environment and happier employees 

Feeling meaningful at your job or a better perception of the work environment – these are also benefits volunteering in companies can bring. Greater employee satisfaction subsequently leads to lower turnover, greater brand attractiveness, and better work performance. 

During the conference Zuzana Reľovská from Wellbeing Advisory addressed the topic of workplace wellbeing and the possibilities to improve the working lives of their employees that employers have.  They often help process stress and subsequent burnout as part of wellbeing programs. However, it is necessary to focus on mitigating their causes. Among the main impulses of workplace stress and burnout are unfair treatment, excessive workload, unclear responsibilities, lack of communication and support from superiors, as well as unrealistic time demands. 

“Employee wellbeing should include several aspects of the employee experience that support overall health, satisfaction, and happiness of employees not only at work but also outside of it,” said Z. Reľovská. She also added that these aspects include physical health, mental well-being, workplace and off-work relationships, financial stability, meaningfulness of work, and a sense of acceptance and belonging within the organization. 

Zuzana Reľovská from Wellbeing Advisory

The sense of acceptance can be significantly contributed by connecting with the organization’s values, including the opportunity to participate in events such as volunteering and activism that are in line with the values of the employee. 

When organizing a volunteering event, it is essential not to be alone

Representatives of companies that already have volunteering in their DNA, took the opportunity to inspire other companies. “It’s not rocket science. It’s about not being afraid and finding ways,” says Marika Bradiaková, describing the process of selecting the right organizations for cooperation in volunteering activities. Within the activities of Slovenská sporiteľňa in Banská Bystrica, volunteering and organization of material and financial collections are part of the corporate culture. The company’s management also devotes itself to charity, setting an example, and appreciating the volunteering activities of employees. 

In the multinational company IBM they also support the volunteering activities of individuals. “Many people come up with their own ideas,” says Miroslava Janušicová, adding that one coordinator is often enough to initiate a volunteering activity. Thanks to the global tool Benevity any employee can create an activity, which can then be joined by any of their colleagues. Each volunteering hour is converted into 10 thousand dollars by the system, which can be donated to any organization. “The easiest thing to organize is a collection. It’s simple, has a great impact, and it makes people happy.” M. Janušicová emphasizes that it is essential not to complicate the organization of such activities because they should bring joy to people. “It’s important to start small, otherwise, burnout is also possible in charity.” 

“There are still people in the world who have good hearts,” points out PhDr. Jana Dupáková from ZSS Senium. In her organization, she increasingly encounters assistance from employees who decide to help beyond corporate volunteering. However, what she considers essential from the organization’s point of view is proper preparation, communication, and the ability to evaluate the benefits and value of volunteering. 

Dušana Lahová (Pontis Foundation), Miroslava Janušicová (IBM ISC), Marika Bradiaková (Slovenská sporiteľňa), Jana Dupáková (SSF Senium)

How to start with volunteering

For successful preparation and implementation of a volunteering project, it is important to gain management’s support, select a suitable organization for the partnership, motivate people to participate, and reward them for their assistance. Winning the management’s favor may seem like a challenge, but it is essential to emphasize the benefits of volunteering activities for the company and the community, as well as the positive impact on the company’s image. Examples of successful volunteering programs of other companies that incorporate volunteering into their corporate identity can be a suitable tool. A detailed analysis of the costs associated with organizing the event and expected benefits can help, and it is necessary to specify how the activity contributes to the company’s values and goals. 

Another important step towards successful initiation of volunteering in the company is the selection of an organization to cooperate with. In addition to proper research of potential non-profit organizations or community projects, you can use the opportunity to collaborate with the Pontis Foundation or any regional volunteer center. They can help you not only select the ideal organization that aligns with the expectations, goals, and values of your company but also coordinate the project afterward. Another way to start small is to participate in the largest volunteering event in Slovakia Our City and contribute to the beautification of the environment in your region. 

And how to motivate the employees? Volunteering contributes to personal growth, skill development, and strengthening the teamwork. It is useful to inform people in the company about these benefits through a communication campaign. Volunteering activities should bring benefits to all involved participants and lead to positive outcomes. Volunteering should not be perceived as a form of teambuilding where there is no real work. It is important for everyone to understand that they are engaging in work activity that will ultimately provide them with a sense of satisfaction and meaningfulness. 


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