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 500 employees from 51 countries to serve 94 non-profit partners in 61 countries, supporting partners that work on healthcare access and issues affecting children – this equates to £16 million worth of skilled services. 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, Karolina Bielawska from GSK in Poland worked with Mundo Sano in Argentina to develop a communications strategy to support them in their efforts to combat neglected tropical diseases in parts of Latin America. Karolina developed communication materials and helped to train the local team on implementing the communications strategy to ensure that the work could be continued after her departure.

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:

  • 90% of non-profit partners agree that as a result of the PULSE volunteer, their organisation is doing something differently
  • 98% of PULSE volunteers believe that their assignment helped them develop their leadership skills

You can find out more about the programme in the PULSE 2013 Impact Report.

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.