It kind of feels that 2021 and 2020 have merged into one!  I don’t know where the time has gone.

We started 2021 in another lockdown, which lasted longer than we hoped and whilst we’re ending 2021 with more restrictions, we’re all hopeful these don’t last long, and we get back to “normal” asap.

This year has been a year of change and growth at The HR Booth.  I suppose due to some of the restrictions we’ve all faced this year, I’ve not done much socially but knuckled down and focused more on the business than perhaps I might have done, and this has definitely paid off.  However, I appreciate the need to get some downtime too and not work so full on.

We started the year in lockdown so face to face interaction with the team was limited and we officially became an Employer Gateway on the Kickstart Scheme in January.

New People

As a result of the Kickstart Scheme, we had intended to employ an Employability Manager to help manage this project.  Instead, we appointed Claire Brook in March as HR Consultant and Claire would oversee the project with the long-term plan being that we could utilise Claire’s experience elsewhere in the business and tap into the significant HR knowledge she has.  Due to our partnership with our friends at eCom Scotland, we were able to move the majority of the Kickstart training online, allowing Claire to focus on other areas of our business too.

Ailsa Gollan also joined in March via the Kickstart Scheme, a couple of weeks after Claire, and initially was spending half her week on Marketing and the other half on HR admin.  Very quickly we realised that Ailsa’s passion and future was in HR, and she then took the lead on managing the Kickstart project and also accepted a permanent role with us a few months before her placement was due to end.  Ailsa now has a development plan where she will get more exposure to generalist HR work.

Jenna MacBeth joined as HR Consultant in July and quickly made a positive impact, supporting a range of clients with specific HR projects.

John Preston joined us part time in August and this increased to 4 days.  John has so far spent the majority of his time onsite with a specific client, helping them recruit, induct and train over 60 people whilst helping with various training matrices.

Vicky Park joined as HR and Recruitment Administrator in October as more of our clients continue to recruit.  Vicky has made a positive difference and helps administers our recruitment processes.

Ann Brown joined in October as HR Advisor and has settled in well, already supporting a range of businesses with their HR needs.

And our final appointment of the year was Sharon Stormonth, who joined us in November.  Sharon has also settled in quickly and recently managed a complex grievance case for a client, seeing this process from beginning to end.

Our People

As a result of our growth, we made some changes to our structure, and John Mullen now manages the team and is responsible for Service Delivery.  John is also in the process of completing the CMI Diploma in Leadership and Management, demonstrating our commitment to investing in our people.

Pauline and Calum both left the business in 2021, and whilst it was disappointing to lose good people, I was delighted they both secured roles that they felt would further their careers.  I’m pleased we played a part in their development.

Shannon, who is the star behind all our marketing and social media activity, went full time with us in August.  Shannon has worked for us for 4 years on a part time basis and we’re delighted to be able to offer Shannon a full time contract.  We’re already seeing the benefits of having Shannon in the business full time.

James Adam also joined via the Kickstart Scheme, and despite only being with us a short time, James made a positive impression and managed to secure a permanent role in Glasgow.  I’m pleased James managed to find a role he enjoys.

We have also invested significantly in training during 2021, a mixture of remote and face to face.  We’ve had some fantastic external trainers deliver a range of courses, all designed to enhance the service we offer and develop our team.

Kickstart Scheme

I’m proud we’ve been able to help more than 60 young people find employment via the Kickstart Scheme.  The scheme has been a mixed bag, and we’ve seen lots of businesses (including ourselves) do well out of this, but many others have not had the same success.  This has been frustrating, especially as we’ve seen similar roles in different locations with very different results.  I hope we are able to help employers fill these outstanding roles before the scheme closes in March for placements commencing.

New Office Space

With our team growing, the team wanted a space where they could meet and collaborate and mix socially.  We moved to a small office space in Kinross, allowing the team to meet up when they want to but still very much have the option to work from home.

Courier Business Award

We were proud to win the Small Business Award at the Courier Business Awards on 30 October 2021 in Dundee.  We enjoyed celebrating this occasion as a team and it was a great evening.  We’re delighted that our efforts were recognised by the judges.

Living Wage

We officially became a Living Wage employer in November.  We felt it important to lead by example as we’re advising a number of businesses about the benefits of being a Living Wage employer.  Whilst all of our existing team were already paid the Living Wage, being an accredited employer now means any new employees, including apprentices or Kickstart Placements, will be paid the real Living Wage.

Rising Stars

As a business, we’re committed to helping young people and we were delighted to sponsor the Fife Chamber of Commerce Rising Stars event in November.  We already devote some time to supporting Developing Young Workforce and Young Enterprise Scotland and we have some exciting plans for 2022 to enhance our commitment to young people.

Our Values

We sense checked our Values in November and December, over 2 off-site days.  Due to the changes in our team, it was important to check our values were still relevant and what The HR Booth stands for.  The outcome of the exercise was that there was no need to change our Values – everyone on the team agreed these represent The HR Booth.

Trust, Relationships, Quality, Solutions Minded, Agile and Responsiveness and Personal Development.

Social Impact

Our Social Impact is hugely important to us and we’ve continued to support Social Bite and CHAS during 2021.  Our team agreed these continue to be worthwhile causes to support, and as part of our commitment to our Social Impact, we have partnered with Social Good Connect in December.  Watch this space as we continue to enhance our commitment to supporting good causes.

Our Clients

It’s extremely satisfying to look after the people needs of so many successful and well-known companies throughout the country.  Some of our existing clients have grown in 2021, resulting in more support from us, and we’ve also added some new businesses to our growing client base.

There are many HR challenges on the horizon for employers and our clients recognise why they need to consider things like flexible working, hybrid working, being an employer of choice and creating positive workplace cultures.

More businesses are now recognising the importance of investing in their people, and the benefits of outsourced HR support.

It’s extremely satisfying knowing we have played a part in the success of our clients, and we congratulate them all for what they have achieved in what has been such a challenging year for all.

What about 2022?

There are still many uncertainties due to Covid-19, and although we appear to be over the worst of it, with so many restrictions in place that many challenges remain, especially for those businesses either in hospitality, or who are reliant on this sector.

Many opportunities exist and we’ve already seen the business community pivot and show great resilience – I’m sure this will continue during 2022.

Recruitment and Retention, and Hybrid working models will continue to be a challenge for employers and we’re well placed to support existing and new clients on any of these subjects.

I’m extremely proud of the team we have in place at The HR Booth and I look forward to seeing the team continuing to develop in 2022 and build on our own workplace culture.

We wish everyone all the very best for 2022 from everyone at The HR Booth.