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Employee volunteering at GlaxoSmithKline

Employee volunteering

Our employees devote their time and expertise to create positive change in our communities around the world. This gives them an opportunity to get to know some of our partner organisations and develop professional skills in challenging environments. In return our partners benefit from strategic planning, operational improvements and enhanced communications. Our two flagship volunteering programmes are PULSE and Orange Days.

What is PULSE?

The PULSE Volunteer Partnership is a skills-based volunteering initiative. Through PULSE, motivated employees are matched to a non-profit organisation for three or six months full-time, contributing their skills to solve healthcare challenges at home and abroad.

Since its launch in 2009, PULSE has sent nearly 400 employees from 45 countries to serve 85 non-profit partners in 57 countries, supporting partners that work on healthcare access and issues affecting children. The PULSE programme enables our employees to work full-time with non-profit organisations, leveraging their professional expertise and knowledge for the good of the organisation and society.

For instance, Doug Mackie from GSK’s Information Technology (IT) department in the US improved the IT communications systems for the OGRA Foundation in Kenya, ultimately enabling the delivery of critical healthcare services to some of rural Kenya’s most vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations. He brought back to GSK new knowledge about IT systems in the developing world, and an improved appreciation for being patient-focused, which is one of our core values.

What are the benefits of PULSE?

By using their expertise to help non-profits with their most pressing problems, employees are able to make a sustainable difference to the organisation and communities they serve. At the same time, employees benefit from this experience as they come back re-energised and return to GSK with fresh insights, ideas, and a renewed connection to our mission to help people “do more, feel better, live longer.”

The impact of PULSE is evident from the data we collect from our volunteers, our non-profit partners, and the volunteers’ managers and colleagues at the end of a PULSE assignment. For example:

83% of non-profit partners agree that as a result of the PULSE volunteer, their organisation is doing something differently even six months after the PULSE assignment.

60% of PULSE volunteers have increased their engagement in community service as a result of their PULSE assignment.

Orange Day

Our other major volunteer programme, Orange Day, gives employees one paid day off each year to volunteer for their chosen local community project. In 2011, thousands of US staff volunteered as part of the National Day of Service and Remembrance on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. Activities included packing more than 120,000 meals for people in Haiti, Kenya and Nicaragua and flood victims in the USA. The national day was initiated by MyGoodDeed, a charity of which we are a founding sponsor.

In 2013, for the first time we asked all our employees from 115 countries to work together to support a single cause. We set them the ambitious goal to raise £1 million for Save the Children as part of our global partnership with the charity. Fundraising activities during our 'Orange Week' alone raised almost £337,000, making a massive contribution to the target.

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