The simultaneous promotion of all interests has been a key driver for Randstad since the 70's. It led to the company being involved in numerous socially responsible projects long before the term CSR (corporate social responsibility) was coined. However, until 2004 these were mostly national projects. That triggered then CEO Ben Noteboom to create a social partnership on a global level. The goal was to achieve a bigger impact to society while ensuring all employees around the globe could participate and contribute. After extensive research to find the right partner for this social partnership, he landed upon VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas). Celebrating its 10th anniversary that year, this holistic program allows Randstad to support an NGO fighting poverty in developing countries. 

In a joint effort, IESE Business School, Boston Consulting Group and Codespa produced ‘Global Corporate Volunteering: a strategic tool to involve companies and employees’, which was co-funded by the European Union. This handbook on global corporate volunteering offers a number of business cases, including one on the Randstad – VSO partnership. It presents an inside look into how the partnership came about, how goals and activities were developed, and how the program is managed on a daily basis.

Two excerpts from the Randstad business case below, the complete handbook is available here. 

“The agreement should be for a long-term stable alliance. Randstad felt that VSO was the best fit for the project because the main objective of VSO is the eradication of poverty and above all, because they saw a striking similarity in their activities: both work in recruitment, selection and placing people with a client (Randstad) or a local partner in a developing country (VSO). A Randstad/VSO association would be positive for both. VSO could choose from an expanded range of qualified professional volunteers, sending them to developing nations to effectively combat poverty; and Randstad would have the support of a global and highly experienced NGO that would enable Randstad to collaborate in poverty eradication around the world, while offering its employees the opportunity to take part in an experience encompassing several ideal components: By volunteering, employees could give back to society while also honing their professional skills, ability to adapt to complex settings and make decisions under difficult circumstances, and would also lead to greater motivation and enhanced feelings of belonging within the company.”

“ The idea of the partnership was not to simply send volunteers to developing countries, but to support VSO in more ways, including financially, and to help VSO develop better processes, tools and protocols, thus enabling it to do a better job of fulfilling its mission as an NGO. Randstad saw corporate volunteering as an important component of its strategy to support VSO, but realized from the start that it could put the force of all of its teams and employees behind VSO to make it a stronger organization. This realization led to consultancy projects with VSO. For instance, one project was designed to help improve VSO’s global volunteer recruitment and selection processes. “In a way, it is more productive to use the skills of our nearly 30,000 employees to help VSO do a better job in volunteer recruitment across the globe, than to send 25 volunteer employees to an overseas project. We see volunteering as a key part of our plan to support VSO, but our commitment goes beyond supplying our own corporate volunteers”, explains VSO Partnership Manager, Eveline Kramers. “We are currently helping VSO overhaul their recruitment and placement processes, which will help VSO achieve better results: VSO will be able to place more volunteers in a shorter amount of time at a lower cost.”