Corporate Social Investment is a key focus for South Africa as government and business strive to improve the lives of many less fortunate communities across the country. More than providing grants and funding for community projects, volunteerism is a vital component to helping communities to develop and should be encouraged by employers.
Ruth Lewin, head of corporate sustainability at Discovery, said that volunteering made an important contribution to society and added to the overall economic output of the country by helping to build strong and cohesive communities.
In addition, volunteering has several social benefits which include helping to develop norms of solidarity and reciprocity, as well as fostering trust between citizens, all of which are essential to creating stable communities.
Lewin says companies should consider including volunteerism as part of employee KPIs:
- Volunteering establishes the foundation for interdependence between corporate and community projects, where common goals and values are shared and an agreed sense of mutual responsibility established.
- There is an improvement in the relationship between volunteers and communities that they are helping. As a result of this, the communities they assist are more eager to participate in discussions that help to achieve the legacy and sustainability they desire.
- Volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges and has the capacity to transform the pace and nature of social development in innovative ways. Volunteerism also benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer.
- Within a corporate environment, volunteerism contributes to employees personal and career growth and increases motivation, improves leadership, confidence and interpersonal skills.
Discovery’s volunteer programme and the participation of its people in volunteer initiatives are part of its DNA, Lewin said.
“We strive to promote a proactive culture of caring and compassion amongst our employees and thus we encourage them to get involved in volunteer work.
“The belief is that part of any employee’s great performance should include making a difference by volunteering their time to a project of their choice,” Lewin explained.
Source: Discovery Health
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