The COVID-19 pandemic has generated enormous pressures and new needs in society. It has created new demands on community organisations and businesses who are committed to positive social and environmental impact. It has also raised new challenges and added complexity to the relationships between community organisations and businesses and how they work together. July through September 2020, Volunteer Ireland, in collaboration with Volunteer Canada, undertook a study with 50 Canadian and Irish companies to create a snapshot of the effects of the pandemic on employee community engagement. Volunteer Canada’s Elizabeth Dove gives us a taste of what to expect from the report.

Employee community engagement is defined as company-supported activities undertaken by employees to make a positive impact on social or environmental issues.  Examples include volunteering, donating, learning activities, civic action, use of social media, responsible purchasing or waste disposal. At some companies, employee community engagement is part of a larger corporate community engagement programme which engages other company stakeholders, such as retirees, employee family members, vendors, suppliers, contractors, clients or customers.

Findings indicate that companies are looking for creative solutions to continue their employee community engagement activities during the pandemic. Along with assisting the cause being supported, these activities also benefit employee well-being. With a priority on the health and safety of employees, there is a high demand for virtual volunteering opportunities however, at the moment, community organisations struggle to meet the demand for these virtual opportunities. There has an increased emphasis on employee-led activities, yet at the same time some companies struggle to engage employees , while others are having trouble getting a clear picture of how employees are giving back. Looking ahead, companies are planning to increase emphasis on skills-based volunteering and on opportunities for employees to learn about community issues and the non-profits addressing them as part of their community engagement program offering.

Read the full report – Effects of The Pandemic on Employee Community Engagement.

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