As we all know, a huge number of people and organisations are struggling as a result of the pandemic. The skills and experience of people professionals can and are making a big difference through our volunteering programmes, all of which now take place virtually. Hear more about the CIPD's Social Impact response to COVID-19 from Jemeela Quraishi, Social Impact and Innovation lead.

The CIPD’s Social Impact team is on hand to support volunteers with any questions and concerns. Our Coronavirus hub is also a useful source of free, regularly updated advice and guidance on navigating the pandemic.

Steps Ahead revamped

With the lockdown and the impact on employment due to the pandemic, we knew our mentoring support for jobseekers would be needed more than ever, particularly for young people who we know will be most impacted in terms of their employment prospects. All support was moved online when lockdown started and we have since relaunched our programme, with a focus on young people aged between 18-24. We are also still providing support to carers and parents who are looking to return to work.

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Our branches have risen to this challenge and many are delivering virtual sessions covering a range of relevant topics and learning to aid people professionals in these fast-moving times.

Support for charities

Charities are feeling the pressure of the current situation; in addition to grappling with this loss of income and resources, HR professionals in charities are working hard to deal with the myriad people related challenges this pandemic has triggered across all sectors – often singlehandedly. Our members volunteered their time in support of a range of UK charities by providing HR mentoring to help them navigate the pandemic.

Between June and December 2020, we worked with Charities HR Network, NCVO, Team London and Helplines Partnership to offer UK charities the opportunity to receive mentoring support from a CIPD member. In total our members supported 77 charity HR professionals, offering one to two hours of mentoring support per week for six weeks to help them navigate challenges such as remote workforce management and performance, furlough, and managing change.

Support for SMEs

SMEs are also in need of critical support and guidance due to the impact of the pandemic. Between June and December 2020, we took part in the Recovery Advice for Business Scheme in partnership with Enterprise Nation and in support of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CIPD members volunteered one hour of free advice to the SME community to support them in relation to their people issues (including redundancy, furlough and recruitment queries). Over 66 members signed up to the platform to provide this free advice via a matching service and many led webinars on critical people issues and themes.