Adapting to change – Are you ready to ELBA?

 In Blog, CEO's blog

Whichever way you voted in the EU referendum, the die is now cast and we all have to adjust and move forwards. For many ELBA corporate partners the change will be profound and we wish them well as they work their way through the next few months.

Resilience, the ability to accept and deal with life’s changes as they arise, has been a topic of conversation for me with a number of community and council leaders in recent weeks. Many individuals cope readily and positively, and most organisations are able to plan and react to external change well. The resilience of a community as a whole to might be said to depend on the extent of its social capital, which I take as the degree to which there is a sense of cohesion, of belonging; the existence of leaders who can lead while listening and engaging with all who have a stake; and the external-facing and neighbourliness of the community.

AT ELBA, we believe in and promote the engagement of employer-supported volunteering as major way in which communities and business work to build social capital and resilience. Business volunteers use their skills to support community organisations, schools, colleges and universities. In return, employers get motivated employees who are also enhancing their skills. It’s a win-win for all concerned.

ELBA corporate partners Accenture produced a report this month looking at future trends – A 2020 Vision for Employer- Supported Volunteering – to which we contributed our thinking. The report predicts unprecedented growth and change, noting that there is a sharp increase already underway, with 13% of people in paid employment already involved in volunteering in 2013/14, up from 10% in 2010/11.  The ONS report that the value of volunteering is already at £23.9 billion, 1.5% of GDP. Accenture’s survey of their own employee volunteers showed that 89% experienced increased job satisfaction, 87% had greater pride in the organisation, and 76% developed core work skills. Here’s the win-win in real life operation.

One of the trends identified in the report is the need to help the voluntary sector absorb the expected increase in business skills volunteering. From an ELBA perspective we also want to make sure that we are able to steer the input of business not just to the organisations who can absorb and best make use of the input, but also to direct it to have impact on the most pressing issues of the day. That way we can do the best we can to strengthen the community resilience we seek.

Oft quoted this week has been the Chinese proverb/curse “May you live in interesting times”, to which I would add, “And make sure you have ELBA with you”.

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