NAB Reviews Ten Years of Corporate Volunteering
3 September 2008 at 3:21 pm
One of the first Australian corporations to build a volunteer program, the National Australia Bank (NAB) has released a ten year review of its program at the Volunteering Australia National Conference in Queensland.
The NAB says the aim has been to share its experiences, reflect on the lessons learned and look forward to what can be achieved in the future.
With a national workforce of 23,000 employees it appears that around 16% of NAB workers have taken part in the corporate volunteer program.
The volunteer program committed to providing two paid volunteer days to all NAB employees.
The review says as the program has evolved, flexibility has been built into the system to allow additional time to be taken as required at the discretion of people managers.
Today, volunteering at NAB provides opportunities for all employees, including contractors. Volunteering is not compulsory – employees choose if, when and how they volunteer.
The review says this sees about one in five of NAB employees completing some level of volunteering as part of their paid employment at NAB.
The review says that in the 10 years NAB has been involved in corporate volunteering, it has learnt that there are a number of key elements for a program to be successful:
1. Keep it simple – A volunteer program which is easy to access and simple to use, both for employees and community organisations, is essential for success. Simplicity helps with the administration and management of the program and to cope with a high volume of matching.
2. Dedicated resources – A volunteer program manager provides an ongoing recruitment strategy and the support structure to facilitate volunteering activities. This dedicated resource monitors, evaluates and refines the volunteer process.
3. Consider risk and OH&S issues – Volunteering guidelines and policies help ensure the safety of employees and manage potential risks.
4. A robust measurement and review process – Essential to measuring the success and improving the program. Tracking results via an accurate reporting process, helps us to measure our progress against our customer and community principles.
5. Delivering a great volunteer program is an ongoing challenge – Volunteering is not a “set and forget’ process. Managing the changing needs of the community sector and our employees and the risks and legal implications that present, provide a constant challenge.
The review also considered whether it was achieving its objectives of linking the community and our people?
It found based on feedback from those involved directly in the program, employees and community groups it is on the right track. However, the NAB believes it faces a constant challenge to refresh the program to work with community organisations in a meaningful way.
The review says that understanding the needs of employees and the community is crucial in ensuring its volunteering program continues to provide practical benefits to the community.
It says that as more corporations build volunteer programs and more demand is placed on community organisations to provide volunteer opportunities, competition for these activities has increased.
It says an important part of the volunteer program strategy moving forward, is to help community groups build capacity to integrate volunteering into their business models and assist organisations who provide this support.
The Ten Year review can be downloaded at http://www.nab.com.au/vgnmedia/downld/Community_10yrs_Volunteering_Report.pdf