In any business, the single most important resource is your people.
With the onset of Industry 4.0, many businesses had been planning for digitalisation and more flexible models of operation but it was something that was being worked towards gradually. The speed at which the Covid-19 pandemic took hold globally meant that, for many business leaders, this evolution was kicked into overdrive with particular emphasis on enabling remote working and monitoring, with existing continuity plans being changed on the fly and emergency measures to keep people safe and the business trading remaining fluid and uncertain.
With recovery on the horizon and talk of a relaxation of the current lockdown rules, it is now more important than ever to think about your recovery planning, people strategy and the journey towards a “new normal”.
Every business is, of course, unique and will have its own individual challenges when planning for recovery but we thought the tips below might be useful to factor into your thinking when planning for recovery.
ADAPTING YOUR PEOPLE STRATEGY
Employee health and wellbeing
has to be the top of the agenda and the primary driver in decision making about getting back to work in a structured and safe way.
Review your Business Needs Analysis. Are the needs and priorities of your business the same as they were before the coronavirus outbreak? Ask yourself whether there are new skills needed to aid recovery. This might be in digitalisation and IT infrastructure to allow more flexible working, it might be in facilities planning for social distancing or maybe your supply chain has been disrupted and you need specialist skills to get this back on track.
Engage with your customers and suppliers. To get the best picture of what is happening in your market and supply chain, leveraging your relationships with external parties is a critical input to the planning process. You could also include your contractors who may have useful intelligence you can use to drive decision making.
Design a framework for robust and frequent staff communications. In order to keep your people supporting your priorities as we move towards recovery, it’s important they understand the why and the when of your plan and their part in it.
Structure your return to work protocols. How are you going to check employees are healthy before returning to a place of work? Do you have a plan for workplace sanitisation and maintenance?
Undertake role and staff profiling. It’s useful to identify which roles are location dependent and can only be performed at your facilities and which can be performed effectively remotely.
Understand your space. In order to respect social distancing, new measures may need to be considered to protect staff. Do you need to introduce PPE? Do you need to change your office or facilities layout, do you need to procure screens or to manage access to communal areas?
Identify any training needs
associated with changes to your documented processes and procedures. How will you ensure your staff are fully aware of the new arrangements and their responsibilities?
BLENDED WORKING MODELS
Determining a way through the uncertainty of returning to work is not straightforward, and many of our clients are thinking about new ways of working that can support the overall business strategy. Some of the key initiatives we are hearing about include:
Phased return to work – introducing staff back into operations in a staged plan that aligns with the commercial analysis and mapping and meets the business and customer needs.
Rota systems for office attendance - in order to maintain social distancing, employees are being asked to work part of their week remotely and partly on site.
Maintaining virtual meetings - even with the return to work, many clients are introducing new protocols for internal and customer meetings, leveraging technology such as Skype, Microsoft Teams and Zoom to protect workers.
Split shift models – in manufacturing facilities where space is at a premium, businesses are considering a change to working patterns to ensure continuity of production but also employee distancing and safety
BALANCING BUSINESS RECOVERY WITH ANNUAL LEAVE
One point we are hearing regularly is that business leaders are concerned about managing annual leave entitlements through the recovery period. Many workers will have been on furlough for between one and four months so managing a full year’s leave entitlement whilst ensuring business continuity will be a challenge.
The Government has changed the rules with regards to annual leave, so workers who have not taken all of their statutory annual leave entitlement due to Covid-19 will now be able to carry it over into the next 2 leave years.
IT’S NOT BUSINESS AS USUAL
The key thing to remember is that business is not going to return to normal in the foreseeable future and maybe it never will. Preparing for a “new normal” is the key to successful recovery planning and your people will be the deciding factor in the success of these changes so it is more important than ever to engage with your teams, ask for their input and listen to their ideas.
CULTURE OF COLLABORATION
Maybe the single biggest lesson we have taken away from the pandemic is that we are all in this together. Foster your relationships with customers, partners and suppliers to find ways to collaborate to find solutions to problems and to work together towards success.
If you need help with your people strategy or if you would just like a no-strings chat with one of our highly experienced team, please get in touch. We’re here to help and support you.