image Using your HR Advisor for strategic post-COVID business planning
Created by helen on 6/22/2020 11:02:20 AM

There is no denying that managing a business of any size requires a plan. In the current climate, most of the pre-COVID plans have been thrown out of the window and replaced with a hotbed of ’what if’s’ that would leave even the most sophisticated strategists confused and overwhelmed.

Much of my work this month has been listening to clients and exploring all the options. We are coming up with new business models and replacing the original strategy for 2020 with ever-evolving plans for scenarios A, B and C!

As an HR Consultant, there is a common misconception that we are the ‘P45 police’ or a fluffy pink cloud of politically correct hugs and kisses. Of course, we can be those things, but those that have worked with me, or any decent HR Advisor, will know that we are also valid and strategic members of the top table team. We are not just creators of contracts and managers of payrolls, but also enablers of change and advocates for your employees and your businesses. We help shape culture, scale teams and open eyes to opportunities that other specialities may have missed.

If there’s one thing you need to do in this climate, talk to someone in HR. If you don’t have one, you should find one. Many, like me, are able to offer a consultancy service that is scalable depending on your needs.  It doesn’t have to be big-budget and for me, it’s not just about the money. Be honest about what you can afford, I might be able to signpost you to some of the information and support you with the areas that require specialist input. I’m always able to listen.

This is especially important when dealing with a future that is dependent on so much that we don’t know. Plan A is full recovery, plan C is redundancies and plan B is everything in between! There is a lot of room for error and miscommunication. Whatever the plan, I would urge you to talk to your HR from a strategic and procedural perspective. Get this right and you’ll have a loyal and long-serving team with you, get it wrong and you’ll have disgruntled employees and costly tribunals to deal with.

Plan A is what you’ll ideally be planning if your income is unaffected and you just need to put a safe, socially distanced way of working in place. Your HR Advisors role will be to explore what the team need to work safely from home or within the workplace and iron out any issues with practicalities or output.

Plan B means your income has been affected, but through exploring other options such as streamlining and adapting the business model, your business should be able to survive. Communication is key, talk to employees about their cost-saving ideas, it could be that several would like to go part-time but it has never been an option. Job sharing, working from home, or taking on new responsibilities could all save vital income to keep you afloat. Using an HR Advisor to have these conversations can help you find a truer picture of what’s going on without fear of judgement, and the power of a fresh pair of eyes should not be underestimated. It could be a whole new start is just around the corner, with the creation of new revenue streams, more efficient and streamlined roles and less operational expenditure and complexity.

Plan C is the one we all want to avoid, with redundancies that are hard for everyone involved. If this is the case there are several strategies, with one option being to ask for volunteers. This can make the process less upsetting for everyone concerned, as long as the right people apply!

Without that, the difficult decision still remains and if you have an HR Advisor this is where they should step in and help you identify measurable selection criteria such as length of service, sickness or skills set.  The decision is based on facts and it’s essential that the redundancy is about the ‘role’, not the ‘person’.

In smaller companies this can be especially hard, relationships are built up over many years and to have to make someone who has become a friend redundant is understandably upsetting.  Using an HR Consultant or Advisor to help with this, means they can have the difficult conversations on your behalf and champion your colleague to get the right payout, put their CV together and help find another job. This can be a positive experience for all if it’s handled correctly.

Whatever plan you are working on there is always help at hand, and ACAS are especially helpful and have up to date information, employment law and advice. Alternatively, give me a call. I can always find the time to listen, talk through your concerns and offer you some helpful advice or step in and manage the challenges with you. 

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