Hydro Tasmania has once again been recognised as Tasmania’s leader in employee volunteering programs.

Presented with the Tasplan Super Corporate Volunteering Award at last month’s 2017 Southern Cross News Tasmanian Volunteering Awards, the award was presented to Hydro Tasmania in recognition of the quality and impact achieved through their program.

Shortlisted as finalists alongside the RACT and the University of Tasmania’s ‘Young Scientists’ program, this is the second year in a row that Hydro Tasmania has received this award.

Hydro Tasmania Stakeholder and Community Coordinator, Kate Hickey was stunned to receive the award again.

“It was a complete surprise to receive the award,” Ms Hickey said.

“I genuinely thought that it would be awarded to one of the other finalists, who also have wonderful employee volunteering programs.”

Volunteering Tasmania chief executive Alison Lai said that the judging panel was impressed by Hydro Tasmania’s flexible approach to engaging volunteers in the community.

“The judges were impressed with Hydro Tasmania’s approach, which allows employees to link their volunteering to their development plan,” Ms Lai said.

“Volunteering is embedded as a recognised employee benefit, and staff are able to choose the organisations they want to support.

“It was also positive to see the number of hours Hydro Tasmania allows their employees to provide is not limited and negotiated in consultation with management, which is an approach aligned with current best practice.”

With 800 employees, Ms Hickey said that Hydro Tasmania’s focus is to keep increasing employee participation in the program and to influence other corporate organisations to implement their own formal employee volunteering programs.

“We would love to see more Tasmanian businesses introduce employee volunteering programs,” she said.

“Over a quarter of our employees are participating in our program and we know that by giving them the opportunity to volunteer it increases their engagement and improves their skills.

“Our employees have such a positive impact, we would love to see more programs so that the community can benefit from the time and talent of employees across the Tasmanian corporate sector.”

With limited information available on corporate volunteering in Tasmania, Ms Lai said that research currently being conducted by Volunteering Tasmania will shine light on how many programs are being implemented and how.

“Information has certainly been sparse and in the past few months my team has undertaken a comprehensive review of corporate volunteering in businesses across the State,” Ms Lai said.

“We have spoken to organisations across multiple industry sectors, the community organisations that involve their volunteers, and also the staff.

“We’re in the process of reviewing the information and our initial finding confirm that there a number of different approaches happening, which we’ll compare to best-practice programs delivered interstate and overseas.”

Volunteering Tasmania’s corporate volunteering research will be released on the 5th September to coincide with the 2017 International Day of Charity.