The role of skilled volunteering in staff development

The role of skilled volunteering in staff development

Published on: 
Monday, 20 June 2016

Macquarie Group is a leading provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services internationally.

Through its philanthropic arm, the Macquarie Group Foundation, it supports engagement and volunteering in local communities.

Volunteering also makes a unique contribution to developing the business skills that Macquarie looks for in its staff.

Learning & development
Macquarie has a commitment to staff development: it’s key both to recruiting ambitious people and to ensuring Macquarie’s continued competitiveness.

Competencies are an integral part of the appraisal process. But how do you develop skills like leadership and relationship building?

‘There’s formal work in the classroom and there are simulation exercises, but neither are a patch on learning by doing in a real-life context,’ says Annabel Morgan, Learning and Development Lead at Macquarie.

Macquarie’s thinking is informed by the 70:20:10 model, which recognises that for most people, experience ‘on-the-job … working on tasks and problems’ accounts for 70% of their learning. Another 20% comes from feedback and examples, and 10% from courses and reading.

Providing opportunities for employees to stretch themselves is key. At Macquarie, Lisa Merry, who volunteered with Global Generation in Islington, takes up the story: ‘I knew in advance which skills I wanted to work on. The project had me coordinating much more senior team mates. It was an invaluable chance to be seen in the best light, without preconceptions, and to take my new confidence and leadership skills back to my day job.’ Feedback from the team formed part of Lisa’s next appraisal
at Macquarie.

Of course voluntary sector work can be very different to the business world. ‘You don’t always know just where a project will lead,’ says Annabel Morgan, ‘but handling that ambiguity is a valuable experience in itself: the ability to adapt to change is a competence we’re looking for in appraisals.’

‘We want to help our staff develop their skills in a range of ways. Identifying their competencies and mapping them to opportunities with our partners in Islington at the beginning of volunteering projects is a win-win for all involved.’
David Fass, CEO, Macquarie Group, EMEA

‘Volunteering is a really effective option for professional development. And then you can add the impact on personal development and staff wellbeing.’ Annabel Morgan, Learning and Development Lead, Human Resources, Macquarie Group

‘It wasn’t something I’d get to do in my day job. It was hugely confidence-building to have the chance to be stretched and to shine in a completely new context.’ Lisa Merry, Global Talent Senior Associate, Macquarie Group