How Volunteering Can Benefit Logistics

Volunteering can bring a host of benefits to the volunteer,
to people in need, and to society as a whole. But, according to a recent paper
by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, the value of volunteering
goes further when supported by employers. With skills development, improved
wellbeing and motivation, and even productivity gains reported, this paper
makes the case that ‘the intelligent way to be selfish is to work for the
welfare of others.’

Focusing specifically on volunteering in education, the
paper draws on ‘a survey of 1,026 volunteers, detailed volunteer case studies
and the broader empirical literature’ to paint a picture of the way benefits
for all interested parties interconnect. The authors identify a number of areas
in which actively encouraging employees to participate can lead to business
gains, stressing that volunteering can be a ‘win-win’ scenario.

The paper cites several studies indicating a broad range of
skills and competencies developed by employees engaging in volunteering. These
range from confidence to workload management, mentoring skills and creativity,
with skills surrounding communication and the managing of relationships
particularly benefiting.

The paper goes so far as to suggest that the efficacy of
learning through volunteering is strengthened by the practical nature of the
task and the social utility it provides. ‘By practicing the skill in an
environment which the volunteer values, by seeing the impact on young people or
in the education system, volunteers feel the time is well spent and the skill
more fully internalised.’

This sense of social utility is also linked to employee
satisfaction. While there are more obvious areas of benefit such as a sense of
satisfaction at giving back to society, volunteering also led to some
surprisingly tangible benefits at work, including 68% of volunteers stating
that they felt some, strong, or very strong benefit to workplace motivation.

The extent of these benefits is strongly tied to the extent
to which employers support the volunteering activity. ‘45% report strong or
very strong benefits on work motivation if their employer proactively sources
volunteering opportunities, compared to only 23% if the employer is mostly disinterested.’

In establishing the benefits to young people, the paper may
offer additional inspiration to logistics sector employers concerned at the
growing driver recruitment crisis. Citing Mann et al., 2017, the paper points
out that ‘young people who can remember 4+ activities with employer volunteers
from their school days (e.g. work experience, enterprise events, mentoring) are
nearly twice as likely to find it easy to pursue their career ambitions and 42%
less likely to be NEET in their early 20s.’ The paper goes on to state that
‘authentic employer engagement is important for tackling stereotypes, inspiring
young people to imagine different futures.’

Reaching out through volunteering may offer opportunities to
engage with young people and challenge stereotypes surrounding logistics that
are imperative in the task of tackling the driver shortage. Additionally,
outreach may assist in tackling the gender diversity issue endemic to the

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