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Charlie Duff

Sift Media

Editor, HRzone.co.uk

Read more about Charlie Duff

Are your employees in the office or volunteering today?

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Many people volunteer in their own time. However, at BT staff can volunteer during work hours. Here the company explains why.

One major employer – BT – is seeing benefits both to the charities and the communities its people are supporting and through the new skills and abilities its employees are developing. To date, BT’s volunteering programme has seen BT people contribute 22,000 days to local communities and charities. As part of this extensive programme, BT has donated skills and capabilities from amongst their workforce to many charitable groups.

BT people are able to tackle the issues that are important to them, such as helping make local community areas cleaner and greener, bringing their skills and enthusiasm to community projects like park maintenance or community care.  BT people are helping charities and social enterprises to enhance their operations by building expertise in areas such as sales and marketing, finance and customer care which is critical in today’s tough economic climate.  Working with key youth organisations, BT employees are able to coach and mentor young people transitioning from education into the work place and are finding their volunteering helps them improve performance in their day job.

Caroline Waters, Director People & Policy, said: “BT wants to make a meaningful impact in the communities where our people and our customers live and work. We believe this volunteer programme will create real benefit for local people, for the third sector and for our business.  BT people are sharing their skills while also learning new skills and gaining insights into how another sector operates. The increased engagement is leading to greater pride in the BT brand and enhancing productivity. I believe responsible businesses have a vital role to play in our society and I’m proud that BT is taking a leadership position in giving our people the opportunity to tackle the local issues that are so important to the wellbeing of our society”.

One charity currently benefiting from the skills of BT people is Global Ethics, providers of One Water, a product giving its customers an opportunity to bring clean and safe water to Africa. Global Ethics make a range of mineral water – One Water – and donate 100% of the profits to funding unique water pumps across Southern Africa powered by a children’s roundabout; PlayPumps®.

These multi-award winning social entrepreneurs have made and donated almost £3m, changing an estimated 1m lives with the strong support of donated skills from BT in the form of Sales Managers, Marketers and Project Managers.

Julie Devonshire, Chief Operating Officer of Global Ethics Ltd says of BT’s considerable skills donation: “BT’s donations to our social venture has been both generous and clever. They have invested in a compelling, sustainable and life-saving programme for Africa, but, at the same time, have utilised and developed skills in their business in a really motivating way. And have made a donation that has a return on investment – the skills of BT people will enhance our business considerably and so the end donation will be more, much more than the skills donation cost. Thank you BT.”

Alain Cockburn has been on secondment as a National Sales Manager with Global Ethics since February 2009.  Alain manages a team of sales staff, reporting to the Global Ethics Sales Director, promoting the One brand to a broad range of potential customers including festival and event organisers, business and industry, education and wholesale. He says of his secondment at Global Ethics: “It is very hard work but a great experience. It is fantastic to use my business skills to do something worthwhile.  I have honed my old skills and learnt new ones – the One brand is a commercial venture in the aggressive food sector and this role is very different to what I have done before.”

Would you follow in BT’s footsteps? Have you experienced the benefits of volunteering? And if you could choose an organisation to volunteer with, which would it be?

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Charlie Duff

Editor, HRzone.co.uk

Read more from Charlie Duff
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