But there is no clear evidence to demonstrate which competencies and conducts are really affected by employee volunteering, nor what kind of employee volunteering activities are better in order to improve each of these professional skills. Companies need orientation and tools that encourage them to take advantage of employee volunteering to develop competencies.
From September 2011 until July 2012 Fundar (ENGAGE partner in Valencia, Spain), with the support of Iberdrola, and the active participation of 11 companies, has carried out statistical research with the aim of evaluating the impact of different employee volunteering activities on the development of some competencies and professional skills in employee volunteers.
Specifically, we tried to identify the professional competencies and conducts on which employee volunteers improved.
Some researchers have criticized studies that only take in account the personal opinion of employee volunteers or CSR managers, who may be interested in emphasizing the positive effect of employee volunteering. Our research approach addresses this criticism by examining employee groups of volunteers and non-volunteers and corroborating their opinions with the opinion from their line managers. These groups may be more objective about the interest in the success or otherwise of the volunteering programmes.
We worked with information obtained from 608 workers, 367 of them carry out volunteering actions and 241 do not. The information was obtained from a questionnaire, with a 10 points Likert’s scale (1: totally disagree with the item… 10: totally agree with the item). The employees participating in the research came from 11 different companies (and from 5 different countries):
- Grupo Vips
- Tempe (Grupo INDITEX)
- NH Hoteles
- Unilever SPAIN
- Grupo Antena 3
- SanLucar Fruit
There were two main phases in the research:
PHASE 1: DIAGNOSIS (SELECTION OF COMPETENCIES):
– Selection of experts: professionals from Human Resources department and Employee Volunteering managers from the companies participating in the project.
– Discussion group (with the experts) with the aim of identifying general competencies needed to carry out suitable performances at work. To identify the general competencies we used the ACTIVOL volunteer competencies dictionary (system of competencies certification during a volunteering action that you can put into practice at work) developed by Fundar in 2010. The competencies selected by the focus group were Optimism and Enthusiasm, Communication Skills, Team Working, and Flexibility.
– Discussion group to agree on single definitions for each competency in order to design the final version of the questionnaire.
– Both discussion groups where held in September 2011.
PHASE 2: ANALYSIS AND EVALUATION OF THE EMPLOYEE VOLUNTEERING ACTIONS WHICH IMPACT THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE PERFORMANCE OF SELECTED GENERIC COMPETENCIES (FIELD WORK)
– The 11 firms participating in the research distributed the questionnaire – previously validated by the group of experts – their employee volunteers.
– The answers from the employee volunteers were validated by HR professionals to ensure the outcome was more objective.
– The same process was carried out for non-volunteer group of employees. The definition and quantification of this group was proposed by the researchers, according to the final sample of the employee volunteers (sex, age, working area, …).
A Descriptive analysis has been carried out for each item from the average, standard deviation and percentiles 25, 50 and 75. Furthermore, the possible relationship between each item with the different segmentation variables has been studied. Non parametric techniques have been used depending on the nature of each variable. After the uni-variant and bi-variant analysis, we applied a factorial analysis of the main components with statistical multi-variant techniques of inter-dependence. The aim of the factorial analysis is to reduce and detect the most representative item of the used scale.
Before studying the analysis of conduct indicators of each profile (volunteers and non-volunteers), a factorial analysis of main components was done, with varimax rotation. The aim of this multi-variant analysis was to decrease the size of the used scale, summarizing the information and specifying the most important items.
The outcomes of volunteers are always greater than those of non-volunteers, and in some specific cases, the gap is enough to appreciate significant statistical differences in the analysis. Volunteers show more proactivity and engagement than non-volunteers.
1. Valuations of the volunteers’ group are always greater than those of non volunteers, and in some specific cases, the difference enough to appreciate significant statistical differences in the analysis.
2. In all the competencies we can find behaviour in which the outcome is significantly higher in volunteers than in non volunteers.
3. Volunteers results in the poll demonstrate more proactivity and engagement than non volunteers.
4. Volunteers that carry out activities related to their jobs (professional support to NGO, training related with work, for example) have a greater proactivity average than the rest of volunteers.
5. Those who carry out their volunteering activities in the field of culture are more inclined to share their success with different people, than the other volunteers.
6. We noticed that, when more hours of volunteering are done, employees are more able to adapt to new situations (FLEXIBILITY), and place the interest of the team above their own individual goals. (TEAM WORK)
7. Volunteers that work in marketing departments have a greater assertiveness than the rest of volunteers.
This research is a first attempt at quantifying the differences in the development of some form of professional competencies and/or skills through employee volunteering. We cannot affirm that these differences are only due to volunteering, but the research demonstrates some statistical differences between the two groups (volunteers and non-volunteers) that merit consideration.
The next phase (when we begin working) will be the development of a practical guide with the input of companies and NGOs based on an exhaustive analysis of the data from this research. The aim of the guide will be to provide advice on how employee volunteering could be used as a tool to develop professional competencies and skills.
If you would like to receive more details from this research, do not hesitate in contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Fuente: CSR360 Global Partner Network