April 20, 2020
It may not feel like it yet, but we don’t think it will be too long before the lock-down is relaxed and we can all start to plan our return to work.
As part of this process we have been spending time considering the various challenges that we will all face. With this in mind we were listening to an interesting podcast yesterday The podcast was good and professional with a focus was very much on the practicalities of cash flow and potential further restructure should your cash position not recover quickly. However, and in our opinion, the article didn’t quite hit the spot as it didn’t look at the bigger picture.
As we return to work and after the initial buzz and excitement has died down, it is important that you consider how to maximise the opportunity recent events have presented to you. We don’t mean this in terms of opportunism, but in terms of your business, what it does and what may need to change.
Whilst a lot of our recent focus may have been on how we operate, function and survive this crisis, rarely have any of us had such an opportunity (and the time) to truly reflect on our businesses, our lives, what we do and what we want to achieve.
For the purpose of this blog, we're going to focus on our businesses.
Before we get back to whatever“normal” may be, try to make the most of this time to think about what your business does well.
· How well do you service or support your market?
· What do your customers and clients think of you?
· How important are you to them?
· How do you want them to think of you?
· How important do you think you are to them?
Use this opportunity to consider how your business may need to change or evolve to adapt to the new normal.
· What have you learnt that you can use positively?
· How are you going to deal with homeworking?
· What technology has really delivered?
· Who has stood out as areal superstar?
· Who has disappointed you?
These questions and the answers are vitally important to you and it is imperative that you don’t hide from any hard truths.
When you have reached your conclusions and before you press GO, don’t make that fatal mistake of thinking that you know all the answers – you don’t.
Those fantastic people who have supported and grafted their way through this battle for you and with you will have loads to say and will have some fantastic ideas about how your business could run even better in future. We strongly recommend that you seek input and ideas from everyone in your business. Involve them, engage with them and ensure they know that they are an important part of the thought process in your business and that their ideas can and in some cases will form part of your future plans.
The people part of your business is so important and it brings us on to some of the more practical considerations you will face. As previously mentioned, the podcast we listened to recently was presented by a solicitor. We know them by reputation to be very good and they are highly regarded. However, and as mentioned earlier excellent though the content was, it missed the bigger picture about the importance of your people.
The focus was all about cash flow and how soon your business might get back to normal after the government furlough money has stopped. It focussed on the need to potentially make redundancies, agree short term working or lay-offs, pay cuts and other such re-structure measures to survive until cash starts to come back into your business.
These are valid considerations and you should work closely with your head of finance and finance team to plan as effectively as you can. If you are considering any of these options, ensure that you work with us or other professional advisers to make sure you don’t make costly mistakes.
Where it missed the point, in our opinion, was overlooking the investment that you have already made in those people.
Before you decide to potentially let these great people go or make their lives extremely challenging in the short/medium term (and as such potentially lose them), think about that investment you have made in them. These people have shown their skill, dedication, knowledge, commitment to you and your business and losing that huge investment may prove very costly.
At the moment there is a lot of cheap money available for businesses to borrow to see you through. If you reasonably think that your business will be back to February 2020 performance in 3 to 6 months, then rather than throwing that investment away, might it be better to consider short term funding to see you through?
The cost of recruitment,on-boarding, training and immersing someone in your business and your culture is huge and we would counsel that you consider these options first and certainly before you let any of your people go.
In 6 months time as you are working flat out to get back to where you were, if you then have to recruit new staff, apart from the normal recruitment challenges, think about how distracting and time consuming that might be. You and your colleagues will be investing considerable time and effort in this process just when your focus needs to be elsewhere. Having a dedicated, knowledgeable and committed team around you will make life so much easier.
People will have long memories of their experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic. Businesses who do their best to support their employees will find that they are repaid time and again by a dedicated and committed team.
All businesses are different and all face different challenges. Cream HR are here to help you every step of the way and don’t forget that our advice and guidance is always based around you and your specific business needs.
We remain open and look forward to your call.
We deal with employee issues so you can deal with what you do best