Corporate Volunteering or Employee Volunteering has been a significant component of a company’s CSR policy. In fact, it plays a major role in CSR project executions for several companies. Volunteering activities for employees are encouraged by most corporates as it helps build character, leadership skills, humility and a spirit of fraternity among the employees. In addition to this, it also contributes towards job satisfaction for the employees.
Amid COVID-19 social distancing norms, there had been a major curb in volunteering activities in the initial phases. This has not only hindered with the CSR policy of companies but has also affected the beneficiary communities severely. Especially considering that a lot of corporate volunteering entailed providing extra help in education to underprivileged students, or skilling the youth.
The companies, however, have now been able to find a way around this and has been encouraging its employees to volunteer virtually, giving rise to a new trend of eCSR.
Virtual Volunteering at Deloitte India
Deloitte India has claimed that employee engagement in volunteering activities has tripled since the lockdown. NC Hegde, national leader, people and culture, Deloitte India said, “Participation from employees has increased from 45-50 employees per month to 200 employees during the lockdown. Earlier, employees physically visited NGOs to mentor and share their skillsets, while now have logged in over 500 hours in designing software solutions and providing consultations from homes.”
IBM has also seen a 60 per cent rise in virtual volunteering activities in the last three months. The company’s employees are engaged in creating audiobooks for the blind in four languages – Hindi, English, Tamil and Kannada since the schools are shut down at this time.
RBL Bank Encourages Employees to Volunteer Virtually
RBL Bank ensured that its employees stay connected and involved with the community work through Virtual Volunteering Opportunities keeping in line with the organization’s ethos of ‘Community as a cause’. In this regard, the Bank partnered with India’s pioneer volunteering organization, iVolunteer. On this online platform, several eVolunteering opportunities are listed, making it easy for the employee to connect with a suitable project connected with several non-profit organizations. Employee’s skills and preferences are matched with the volunteering opportunities and the requirement each project offers. The platform has generated immense interest and its gaining popularity rapid at the Bank, displaying agility and adaptability to the new normal of businesses operating in a virtual and digital environment. In 2019, the Bank employees clocked 26,000 volunteering hours, this year the aim is to go higher with the ease of doing good at the comfort of one’s desktop.
Nihar Shanti Amla’s eCSR Campaign to impart education amid COVID-19
Driven by the conviction that children’s education is the cornerstone of the progress of our country and should not get hampered under any circumstances, Nihar Shanti Amla has announced a Covid-19 special campaign called ‘Padhai Par Lockdown Nahi’. As part of the initiative, Nihar Shanti Amla is ensuring that the students can learn English being at home through their ‘Phone Uthao India ko Padhao’ program that was launched last year. The brand has also made virtual classes available through the Paathshala Funwala app available on Google Playstore.
Through the ‘Phone Uthao India Ko Padhao’ program, children in rural areas get to learn and practice spoken English. Students can call on a toll-free number and continue learning their English modules by phone conversations with an urban adult (volunteer). Given the current scenario where people are working from home and may have extra time at hand to help out, the brand is inviting educated, urban consumers to volunteer just 10 minutes a week of their time and help these students practice spoken English through phone conversations.
Even as the economy of the country is not functioning at its complete capacity and India Inc is not making a significant profit, it is not shying away from its responsibility towards the society. By adopting eCSR methods, India Inc has proved that CSR is indeed a part of its DNA and that come what may, the companies will figure out a way to deliver its CSR commitments, therefore playing its part in national development.