Social action is when people come together to solve the problems in their local community. Employer-supported volunteering (ESV), also known as Corporate Volunteering, is where an organisation’s employees take paid time off to volunteer during work hours. Employees can choose to use this time to support a charity or community group of their own choice, or to take up an opportunity provided by their employer. Changing global and social factors as well as greater recognition of employer branding mean that the levels of both social action and ESV are increasing. As volunteering is a key element of social action, ESV opportunities, such as volunteering at a food bank or community allotment, facilitate social action.  

At the CIPD we believe in the double benefit of volunteering; for the volunteer who develops their skills and the beneficiary who directly gains from the intervention.   

As the professional body for HR and people development, the CIPD is keen to act as a broker of social action opportunities for our members, supporting HR professionals to use their unique skills and insights to be a force for good in the world of work. We want every HR professional to get involved in social action and  to champion this in their own organisations. One of three core values of the CIPD Profession Map is 'principles-led', meaning HR professionals 'go beyond policy and process to do what's right.' Therefore, HR professionals are ideally placed to act as a catalyst for employee volunteering, so it becomes integral to how an organisation is run and managed.  

This guide brings together practical tips from employers who have successfully embedded volunteering into their organisations.  

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