Three professional benefits of volunteering

Employees who volunteer are experiencing positive “side effects” in their professional lives.

Many companies have employee volunteer programmes as part of their corporate social responsibility programmes. Historically, it may have appeared that the outcomes of such volunteer programmes was to the benefit of recipients or beneficiaries.

However, Tshego Bokaba, Group CSI manager at Momentum Metropolitan, says: “Through our Lesedi Staff Volunteerism Programme, we’ve seen many of our employees gain new skills through engaging in a diverse range of activities, which they wouldn’t normally be exposed to in their day-to-day roles.

“In many cases, these new skills have even directly contributed to an employee’s promotion or some other form of recognition.”

She adds that volunteering can also help one to find fulfilment through discovering hidden talents, passion or purpose. “We’ve seen a personal shift in some of the employees who engage in our programme: they appear more fulfilled, happier, less stressed, and with more perspective.”

Tshego shares three positive career side effects of volunteering:

  • Discovering new skills: Through volunteering, it is likely that you will participate in activities or perform tasks that you wouldn’t normally be exposed to in your daily life. Volunteering will help you to learn a wide range of skills – from leadership to problem-solving – which will benefit you in your career. It will also, in turn, help you step outside of your comfort zone, and up the next rung on your career ladder.
  • Personal growth: Volunteering takes us out of our comfort zone, which makes us vulnerable. Meeting people from all walks of life helps volunteers to become more empathetic, and to put themselves in another’s shoes.
  • Practical work experience: Volunteering will help you practise your skills while showing potential employers that you are proactive, a team player and connected to something greater than yourself.

    It has been found that employers look favourably on volunteerism – one Deloitte survey revealed that 81 percent of employers believed that skilled volunteering should be considered in a hiring decision, while 76 percent felt that volunteering made a candidate more attractive from a recruitment standpoint.

    For young people or graduates, volunteering can help with gaining practical work experience across a wide variety of tasks and functions.