MAD-HR Spotlight

Our MAD-HR Spotlight feature looks at a business’s most valuable asset – its employees. We also investigate the role the virus has played in turning businesses into either a hare, a tortoise or a hedgehog. Read on to learn more.

Lockdown restrictions are easing, and businesses are trying to define and adapt to their new “normal”. Business leaders are faced with the challenge of managing the colossal impact of Covid-19 on arguably their most valuable asset – their people. Keeping all the plates spinning throughout this time will have undoubtedly taken its toll; managing your team’s return to work, managing flexible furlough arrangements, building resilience, maintaining your workplace culture and engagement that you have worked so hard to build, ensuring there are enough funds to go around, the list goes on! While the world is rapidly changing around us, it is important to take the time to identify your people risks and how you plan to overcome them.

The top people risks cited pre-COVID included workforce planning, retention of key talent and development, engagement and inclusion, litigation and protecting reputation, Automation and people systems.

The reality is that COVID-19 has changed economies, social systems, and consumer behaviours. For our employees, it has changed how they work and behave, and what they value and demand. For businesses to thrive beyond lockdown and maximise the return on what is commonly their largest investment, “people costs”, it is vital to quickly identify the people risks within your business: risks which will be largely dependent on the impact of the pandemic on your operation.

Are you a hare, a tortoise or a hedgehog?

So how has Covid affected your business? Some businesses have accelerated beyond imagination (Hare), some are managing to maintain some level of income (Tortoise) and others have seen significant or total reductions in business and have gone into hibernation (Hedgehog).

Each of these types of businesses will have their people risks to navigate.

The acceleration experienced by many retailers and PPE manufacturers (Hares) during this time has placed immense pressure on staff resources and additional staff may have been brought in to meet the increased demand. This translates into increased pressure on onboarding processes, resource planning, payroll and HR functions as well as line managers upskilling new workers. Looking beyond these current challenges for those Hares, they will need to scenario plan for what happens with these recruits in the future. Will they be retained or let go? How will that be managed whilst maintaining the culture and reputation of the organisation?

In comparison, the airline industry (Hedgehog) has gone into hibernation, heavily relying on the government Job Retention Scheme or embarking on mass redundancy programmes.  These tough decisions are vital to ensure the longevity of the business. Looking forward – rebuilding trust, stability, and the health and wellbeing of the remaining team must be considered in preparation for the return to the workplace.

And for the vast majority, the Tortoise. These businesses have furloughed the majority of their workforce, maintaining a low level of activity. They may need to consider reducing the workforce, reviewing the skill-mix of the employees retained and look at how they can grow their activity again.

MAD-HR Spotlight

How are you managing the return to work? It is not only the Health and Safety risks and being COVID-secure that need to be considered, but issues may also arise relating to your employees’ readiness to return to work, the key roles and skills required first, managing caring responsibilities at home, etc. and so on.

So what can you do?

The first step is to determine which category you fall into – are you a Hare, Tortoise or Hedgehog? Then work through the people risks, identifying the current and future impact by asking key questions and scenario planning. This is likely to involve areas such as workforce planning, resourcing, benefits and reward schemes.

Careful planning around your people risks will help you maintain your workplace culture, your hard-earned reputation and protect your bottom line.

Hopefully you have found our MAD-HR Spotlight helpful. If you need help in identifying and planning for your people risks, gain peace of mind by speaking to a member of our friendly HR team. Contact us today.