AFTER almost eight months of remote working, it’s no surprise that many employees are beginning to feel disconnected from the company they work for.

One fledgling company, however, claims to have an interesting solution that will help keep workers motivated ... volunteering.

Social Good Connect, based in Dundee, is a digital search and match platform connecting employers and their employees to volunteering opportunities which positively impact the community.

“People want to love the company that they work for,” explains CEO and founder of Social Good Connect, Caroline McKenna.

“Now, more than ever, it’s more than just a profit approach. This is actually about engaging their staff, not just during difficult times but for the long run.”

As a result of the pandemic and the pressing needs of the local community, Caroline officially launched the service in May, five months earlier than planned. Social Good Connect has quickly attracted interest from private and public sector organisations throughout the country – so much so that Caroline was named as a finalist at the 2020 FutureX Startup Summit awards last month.

Forth Valley College, Murgatroyd Law Group, Morton Fraser Lawyers, Insights, DC Thomson, and Gleneagles Hotel are among the employers already signed up to the platform.

Caroline believes that shifts in culture triggered by the pandemic have presented “a massive opportunity” for the company. She says: “We launched six months early…I’ve got grey hair and bags under my eyes, but we launched early because we really believed it was the right time. People are feeling disengaged in their companies, charities are desperate for support – they’ve lost funding, they’ve lost resources, so there was never a better time to do this.”

With a background in financial services in London and York, Caroline decided she wanted to return to her hometown in Dundee to launch the project, which she has been developing over the past two years.

As a Scottish tech for good startup, she describes the company as “a not-for-profit, purpose-led business”.

“First and foremost, this is about employers signing up to support their people, and to support their community,” Caroline explains.

“We look for businesses who are passionate about people and community.

“It’s such a challenge trying to find organisations that want to use their skills for good, so we just wanted to make it easier for them – almost like a brokerage. To find a way in which charities can get their needs met and businesses and employees could do their bit for community but also manage their own mental health and wellbeing.”

Through an annual membership, businesses can sign up employers to search and match for volunteering opportunities that match their skill-set, interests and what they are passionate about. They have the option of carrying out their voluntary opportunity face-to-face or virtually, dependent on Covid restrictions.

“Every single penny of our profits will go back into our Social Good Foundation – our charitable arm which is in the process of being set up,” says Caroline.

Annual memberships are based per number of employees. For example, if you have 50 to 249 employees it’s £2,400, if you have 1,000 to 2,500 employees it’s £8,000.

Social Good Connect works in partnership with employers to drive and embed a culture of volunteering within the organisation.

Launching the enterprise five months early at the beginning of a global pandemic was “not without its challenges,” Caroline confesses.

“We got the digital development loan from the Scottish Government, but we’ve had very little support. Funding has been really tough, we’re a small start-up, but we have big goals.”

Caroline also had to recruit all 10 members of staff during lockdown through zoom. She says: “We haven’t all met face-to-face which has been really tough and challenging, we’ve had to forge our team culture, purpose and mission, set ourselves tough targets and work really hard to work together as a team.”

Caroline is aiming to grow Social Good Connect both nationally and internationally, by building a wider global community network through their digital platform – a target she admits is hard to predict post-Covid. “People have come such a long way I think since March… they really want to help the community. We want to keep that momentum going, and that’s the bit I’m nervous about.

“We talk about rest and recuperation being the solution to burnout and overwhelming work, but actually its wholeheartedness, it’s doing something that really makes a difference to someone’s life that gives you that warm fuzzy feeling.”