SUNDAY TIMES - How to develop a corporate social sabbatical plan
Sunday Times Careers By Margaret Harris, 2017-03-19 00:00:00.0

How to develop a corporate social sabbatical plan

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A corporate social sabbatical allows employees to be part of their companies' skills-based volunteering initiatives in emerging markets.

Jurie van Niekerk, South Africa country director at Pyxera Global, says: "The impact of [these] programmes is clear: employees who participate in pro bono programmes are more likely to report high satisfaction than traditional volunteers and more likely to report job-related skills gains."

Pyxera Global facilitates these types of partnerships between the public, private and social sectors.

He has the following advice:

Social sabbatical programmes often touch many parts of an organisation, so try to break down silos to make it easier to cross departmental boundaries and involve individuals from different departments;

Make sure that the host client can benefit from what you have to offer;

Do your homework and make sure employees are well prepared for the project. If participants spend weeks working together on topics relating to the project, they can get straight to work when they arrive at the host client;

Find a partner who knows how the process works. "Look for programme managers with a strong background in socioeconomic development," he says; and

Communication is crucial, "especially when working across large geographic distances, different cultures, and across sectors".