Bring the Board on Board: The Power of Senior Leader Champions in Skills-Based Volunteering Programmes

By Amanda Bowman   |   31 August 2023

Welcome back to our series of posts that look in more detail at the five themes that drive impact in Corporate Skills-Based Volunteering. The learning has come from Emerging World’s experience and from our recent research study: The Best of Both Worlds. This post considers the fifth theme: the power of having senior leaders championing skills-based volunteering initiatives. It looks at how when senior leaders actively support (and participate) in skills-based volunteering initiatives, their endorsement and support can have a profound impact on building the responsible leadership behaviours of participants and can foster greater employee engagement.

Role Modelling Responsible Leadership

Senior leaders serve as role models, setting the tone for company culture, values, and behaviour. When these leaders tangibly support skills-based volunteering, they amplify the message of responsible leadership. Their endorsement sends a clear signal that responsible leadership is more than boardroom decision making but instead is an integral part of the company’s purpose and values. Their support also sends the message that through involvement with skills-based volunteering, employees can create a positive ripple effect driving responsible leadership throughout the company.

Creating a Culture of Commitment

When senior leaders’ support skills-based volunteering it lends credibility to the organisation’s social responsibility efforts. It demonstrates that the company’s commitment is not merely lip service, but a tangible commitment embraced at the highest level. This credibility can have a significant impact not only on employees but also on external stakeholders as they view the organisation as genuinely invested in making a positive difference on society.

Boosting Employee Engagement

By championing skills-based volunteering, leaders’ support and encouragement can have a significant impact on employee engagement. Employees are more likely to participate when they see that this matters to their leaders. It builds a sense of pride, leading to a deeper connection with the company’s values. Senior leaders’ endorsement creates a positive culture, breaking down hierarchical barriers, building a more inclusive and collaborative work environment. As a result, the volunteering experience cultivates a sense of purpose and pride among employees, contributing to higher levels of job satisfaction and motivation.

Involving senior leaders as champions in skills-based volunteering programs develops responsible leadership by demonstrating the company’s commitment to making a positive impact on society. What’s more, it inspires greater employee engagement, promotes collaboration, skills development, and a sense of pride among the workforce. In our The Best of Both Worlds report, we feature examples of how companies have ensured that their senior leaders are engaged with their programmes.

If you’d like to explore how your company can get the best of both worlds from virtual and in-person skills-based volunteering programs, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Let’s make a difference together!