A first in Scotland as SSE achieves the Investing in Volunteers for Employers standard

SSE is pleased to be named as the first employer in Scotland to achieve the UK quality standard Investing in Volunteers for Employers (IiVE). The award recognises SSE’s commitment to employer supported volunteering, providing opportunities and support for SSE employees to volunteer in local communities across Scotland, and is a fantastic way to kick-start Volunteers’ Week 2017.

SSE and Volunteer Scotland announced their ground-breaking partnership in 2015 and have worked together to provide enhanced levels of support for employer supported volunteering (ESV). As well as jointly piloting the new IiVE standard, a national best practice network has been set up for employers to share learning about the strategic development of ESV.

SSE’s volunteering programme, ‘Be the difference’, was introduced in 2009. The IiVE award assessed all aspects of the programme and the assessors were convinced by the commitment to the programme shown at all levels of the company.

John Stewart, SSE’s Director of HR, said: “SSE wants to make a positive impact in the communities that we live and work in, and our ‘Be the difference’ programme is key to achieving it.

“Every SSE employee is entitled to a day a year to volunteer and it is good for everyone.  Communities benefit from extra pairs of hands, employees benefit with new skills, and SSE benefits from an engaged workforce. After seven years of our volunteering programme – we wanted to make sure that the quality was good too. That’s why we’ve been so pleased to work with Volunteer Scotland to make sure our programme meets best practice.”

George Thomson, Chief Executive of Volunteer Scotland, said: “Congratulations to SSE, its leaders and people for achieving this success. We’ve learned a lot about the value of employee volunteering and its importance to employers. There are real benefits that employer supported volunteering brings to communities, employees and organisations. It’s an achievement that says a lot about the future shape of employers. Right now though we can celebrate SSE’s award.”

Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities said: “This is a fantastic achievement and I offer my congratulations to all those involved, in particular to the employees who have dedicated their time and skills to supporting Scotland’s communities.  Volunteers make a vital contribution to our society and it is fantastic to see SSE taking such a positive approach to supporting their employees to volunteer their time to make a positive difference to a range of good causes across the country.

“This is also a great example of what can be achieved when the private and third sector work together in partnership and I am pleased to see that the learning from this partnership will be shared with other organisations.”

The IiVE award has been presented to SSE at the start of Volunteers Week 2017, which takes place across the UK between 1-7 June. The annual campaign, established in 1984, recognises the contribution volunteers make to our communities every day.

The learning from this joint work is being shared with other employers working towards the award, including ScotRail and Prudential. Volunteer Scotland will also create links between IiVE holders in Scotland and Investing in Volunteers achievers in the voluntary sector.

In 2016/17, SSE employees gave 3,407 volunteer days, supported 385 projects, and contributed £425,000 of people time.

Wendy Shaw, ECO Project Manager at SSE, explains why her ‘Be the difference’ day makes such a difference to her: “Working with SSE since 2011 I’ve always used my volunteering day and have enjoyed supporting a variety of organisations, including the Lodging House Mission.

“Volunteering for a day with other SSE colleagues builds real team spirit and helps you feel like you’ve made a difference. It also makes you realise the potential impact of just one day a year if everyone at SSE used their volunteer day.”