Case study: SCVO.

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) recognises that supporting its employees to choose, access and pay for the childcare they need enables them to work with confidence because they know that their children are in safe hands. This link between employee performance and workplace culture and policy is why flexible and family friendly working is a core commitment.

SCVO believes that supporting its employees to balance their home and work lives generates large dividends by improving staff attitudes and motivation at work. Chief executive Martin Sime describes these mutual benefits as “a win-win for SCVO and our members.”

SCVO provides its employees with a range of childcare support policies, underpinned by a culture of understanding and on-going support. Around 14% of SCVO employees access the organisation’s childcare voucher scheme, which was introduced more than 10 years ago, to pay towards nursery and after school care. SCVO also appreciates that childcare arrangements can sometimes breakdown without prior warning and employees are actively encouraged to leave work to attend to family matters or to bring their children to work in cases of emergency. SCVO has an Adverse Weather Conditions policy which allows parents to work from home if schools are closed. The organisation also provides time off in lieu and flexi-time systems to enable employees to access leave for school events and family occasions. In addition, SCVO accommodate short-term changes to working patterns and offer up to 3 days paid leave per year to deal with unexpected matters.

SCVO ensures that staff training and other mandatory events are arranged to fit in with employees family commitments and pays for additional childcare if employees are required to attend events out-with their usual hours. The family-friendly environment at SCVO is further enhanced by a series of inclusive events which children and partners are invited to attend.

SCVO ensures that managers are trained and supported to confidently manage flexible working teams, enabling the organisation to continue to deliver its flexible approach to employees with childcare responsibilities.

The organisation is currently developing its childcare support system and is in the process of updating its Shared Parental Leave policy. SCVO is also developing its induction procedures for new employees and internal communications for existing employees, enabling staff to keep well-informed of all the support available to them.

SCVO’s low staff turnover, high uptake of childcare vouchers and positive employee feedback evidences the success of its family-friendly culture. When recently asked to share their experiences of family-friendly and flexible working at SCVO, employee comments included: “The childcare voucher scheme has certainly helped our family budget” and “If anything happens with my children I know that SCVO will be both flexible and caring.”