The workshop was divided into four sections, starting with Aditya Nagpal, Director & BU Head, Goodera discussing the different stages of volunteering and how companies can scale volunteer programs, followed by a case study by Svetlana Pinto, Country Head Communications & CSR, Novartis India on how Novartis is using volunteering for better employee engagement, learning, and alignment. The other half consisted of dividing the CHROs into groups to come up with solutions to challenges faced by organizations while building a volunteer program while the last few minutes were offered as reflecting time where they could identify the stage they are currently at and jot down actionable steps.
Aditya Nagpal, Director & BU Head, Goodera started the day by giving a presentation on the stages an organization goes through while working towards an employee volunteering program. He shared, “Our goal is to use technology and data to simplify volunteering, so more people are able to do good at scale. We feel that employee volunteering lies at the perfect intersection of people, planet and profit.”
He explained that companies go through five stages in their volunteering evolution. In the first stage, there is informal volunteering which is followed by the second stage where companies start supporting and encouraging them by launching initiatives. In the third stage, the company begins planning these initiatives strategically while in the next step, volunteering becomes a crucial part. In the final stage, volunteering programs grow so big that they become a brand of their own.
This study was further supported by a case study presentation given by Svetlana Pinto, Country Head Communications & CSR, Novartis India. She talked about how they moved to a more structured format. Earlier, it was challenging for Novartis to gauge the number of unique volunteers, but using the Goodera platform made it easier for them. This has helped in improving their employee engagement levels. And while people say they are not enough volunteers in the organization, that’s actually a myth as Svetlana said, “There have been events where we have had to turn down volunteers.”
She further added, “There are many advantages of volunteering that we have seen in our journey so far. Interestingly, we have found a lot of enthusiasm in the younger lot that is joining the workforce. Other things being equal, they would look more favourably towards an organization with a soul that helps them give back to the community. Volunteering has also helped in building a greater team spirit.”
In the second half of the event, a masterclass and open discussion was conducted by Ester Martinez, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, People Matters Media on “Designing volunteering experiences for your workforce: Is your organization volunteering ready?” The four challenges that were addressed included, getting started, sustainability of employees, architecting a good experience, and policymaking. The overall solution to these problems seemed to be clear communication of values, better engagement of employees and a good reward and recognition program.
The workshop ended with a hands-on session on identifying the current stage the company is in and finding the right solutions. The key learning that CHROs got from this section was understanding how to build a better framework and gather more employees to participate in volunteer programs.