How did your corporate volunteering get started and what benefits have you seen from it?
Paula Tsung, Head of Workplace and Sustainability, comments that the origin of the Volunteering Week was to allow GNM to make a significant contribution to the local community, as well as giving all staff the opportunity to develop new skills and network across the company. The organisation has seen major benefits, not simply of improved engagement with the local community, but also of measurably heightened staff motivation, wellbeing, commitment and job satisfaction as a result of launching the programme. The format and purpose of Volunteering Week continues to evolve in line with the needs of the business and the community partners.
What skills do your staff develop as a result of involvement in this programme?
One major set of skills staff can develop through the programme is project management: Jan Stevens, who co-ordinates the Week, works with volunteers in the company to connect staff keen to develop project management skills with the opportunity to manage one of the projects, providing staff from departments as diverse as finance and digital with a really well-supported first glimpse of the skills and challenges of an effective project manager. Feedback confirmed that taking on the role of a project manager improved their project management skills as well as their leadership, communication and creative skills.
What particular projects can staff get involved with?
During one of GNM’s Volunteering Week 2015 projects, volunteers helped young people improve their journalistic and media skills: the young people were equipped with professional standards and approaches to interviews, with techniques for the effective use of social media, and with tips on photography too, while the Guardian staff benefitted from meeting people from across their organisation with whom they wouldn’t normally work – promoting networking and collaboration across departments and an opportunity to share and develop skills.
Another project involved 24 year 7 and 8 pupils exploring media literacy, how they consume news, their critical analysis of news, and constructive use of social media. GNM volunteers learnt what issues they were passionate about, their frustrations about how the news is reported. From the volunteers sharing their skills, interaction with the pupils and hands-on approach, they watched as the pupils produced their own digital content based on the topics they were passionate about. The students will present their learning back to their peers at school later in the year.Back to case studies