Case study: Volunteering is a revelation for Cancer Research staff

Cancer Research UK avoids traditional team-building days, instead encouraging all of its 3,500 employees to take part in volunteering days away from the office.

These include working in Cancer Research shops during the busy Christmas period. Jane Vivier, the charity’s reward and recognition manager, says: “We offer opportunities which benefit individuals, teams and the organisation, but which can be provided at low cost.

“For us, allowing employees to step away from their day job and go and see first-hand some of the work we do is very important. It is easy to lose sight of such things when you work in an office.”

Volunteering days, either in the charity’s shops or at special events, such as the Chelsea Flower Show, also allow employees to gain a wider understanding of colleagues’ personalities. “They are great team-building exercises as role and rank are unimportant,” says Vivier.

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“Feedback from staff volunteering days is always positive, and many are surprised how much they get from it, in terms of morale and understanding.”

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