Boots prescribes community work to boost staff skills

Boots has added another dimension to its performance management cycle by
offering certification in recognition of employee volunteering.

The bespoke Certificate of Recognition as a Community Associate acknowledges
volunteering activity in company time and provides employees with a nationally
accepted accreditation.

Education liaison manager Mary Brittain, who is responsible for implementing
the strategy for supporting education within a spin-off of the HR department
called Community Investment, has worked on mapping education liaison activities
against the competencies required by the business. "We have brought this
whole menu of opportunities for employee volunteering under the title ‘skills
for life’," said Brittain.

Individuals negotiate development needs with their line manager as part of
their performance contract and then take responsibility to gain those competencies
through a variety of means.

Brittain’s department has mapped activities against the competencies
required by the business.

"This skills matrix could also help them identify which activities they
could support if they needed to develop specific skills. So rather than go on a
course, which would cost money, an employee might consider supporting a school
industry day," she said.

The skills matrix contains 19 competencies, from business focus to
analytical thinking and valuing leadership, which are mapped and rated against
activities such as literacy volunteering and acting as a school governor.

Candidates complete a learning log, shared with their line manager and
community partner – "which provides a quality framework that helps
individuals plan, implement and review their community activity
effectively," said Brittain. "It is also something they can access
via the internet as well as through a paper-based route, which makes it
flexible to meet all circumstances."

By Stephanie Sparrow

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