As the pandemic swept across the country SCVO realised that our voluntary sector colleagues were struggling to manage the impact on their organisations and especially their people. ‘HR’ was the second most popular search term on the website.

Knowing how often guidelines and processes were changing for employers and organisations alike, we wanted to ensure there was a platform available to support colleagues and the idea of an HR and Employment Support Service was born. In November 2020 it became a reality following a successful application for funding from the National Lottery Community Fund Scotland.

The pandemic, as many people have commented, made some of us stop and think about life and were we really making the most of it. That may not be the case for you, but it was for me.

Roles that give you the opportunity to really make a difference to a wide range of voluntary organisations don’t come along too often. For both myself and my colleague Lorna the opportunity to set up and develop the HR and Employment Support Service was one neither of us wanted to pass up.

Our goal is to be the place to go for small organisations that don’t have any or have limited HR expertise internally and to offer relevant and useful support while being as inclusive as possible. We aim to and are already collaborating with existing services across the public, private and voluntary sectors to ensure that no organisation is without some HR based support.

So, what has happened in our first six months? We have set up an Advisory Group, covering a diverse range of organisations, to help the service develop and evolve. We have reviewed and updated our website content and have held webinars covering such topics as making apprenticeships work for your organisation and identifying what organisations may need to consider as the furlough scheme comes to an end in September. We are also developing a calendar of events, topics for which will be chosen based on the case topics we receive and the patterns that emerge from them.

Our proudest achievement to date? We have supported over 100 organisations, from across Scotland with a wide range of queries. We’ve covered topics such as employee rights, organisational change and the process of returning to the workplace, from a people perspective.

Earlier in this blog I said we wanted to make a difference and I think it is safe to say we have and will continue to do so. There are so many negative aspects/impacts of covid 19 however for me taking the time to review what I really wanted to do and finding the role that is focused on and providing help to a wide range of people, has been a small but important personal positive to come out of all the heartache.

Find out more about SCVO’s HR & Employment Support Service