18. 03. 2019 Corporate responsibility

Pro Bono Brings Employees Meaningfulness

”We can apply the theory of 359 degrees to expert volunteering. You turn around your axis and go back, but thanks to what you have seen, you are, just by a little bit, at least by one degree, different,” says Libor Melioris, an analyst and expert volunteer. Experience of companies confirms that the free provision of expertise to non-profit organisations has a double positive effect. In the first place, it provides the opportunity to be a part of positive societal changes, often driven by civil society. The second positive effect shows in the employees who help through pro bono activities – their motivation and overall job satisfaction are increasing.

Did you know?
Thanks to pro bono activities, 75% of companies establish better relations with the community, partners and legislative authorities.
63% of employers believe that pro bono work strengthens relationships in a team.
61% of companies show a higher value of their brand.

Pro bono as a win-win

The cooperation that enriches all the parties involved is preceded by a few steps – from the surveying of employees’ interest in pro bono activities through the selection of the right organisation to awarding the engaged volunteers. Although it is a long-term process, it is worth it. “At Accenture, we follow the motto ‘Let us do what we are good at and share it further.‘ The ability to use our expertise for meaningful, non-profit projects enriches the other side in many ways but also develops our people both professionally and personally. Pro bono is simply a win-win,” explains an expert volunteer from Accenture, Martin Bača.

In their recommendations, the Business Leaders Forum advises company management to set an example in this regard. In the end, the management approves also how many days a year employees can use to implement pro bono activities. For a start, it is also good to get some experience through a one-time volunteer opportunity, such as, for example, providing pro bono training for a number of non-profit organisations. The next step is establishing a strategic partnership in order to address and solve a specific issue. As an example serves the pharmaceutical company GSK and projects of health-care mediation in Roma communities. At the European level, the project currently engages several company employees.

Recognition matters to employees

Volunteers need to feel that their time and energy are valued by the company. It may be expressed through a personal ‘thank you‘ from a senior manager, or through an increase in their work valuation. By public awarding the company shows that it cares about community support and at the same time it motivates more employees to engage. For example, ESET can nominate anyone who gets involved in the employee volunteer programme for an ESET Volunteer Medal. The medal has been added as the next category of awarding exceptional colleagues.

The winners of the honour medals get, among other things, an extra day of the annual leave or lunch with the CEO. “We are excited about our employees getting involved in the volunteering programme. It is no longer just about the annual popular ‘Our Town’ initiative. More and more employees start to realise what an impact they can have by contributing their skills, knowledge and experience,“ adds Lucia Markova from ESET.

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