Over the past few weeks, you will have been considering various options within your business. We all want to know what the government’s exit strategy for lockdown looks like, as this will help determine some of the decisions you need to make.

The focus for business owners over the past few weeks has been on survival, managing cash and furloughing staff. In many cases, furlough is a short-term solution and has bought some businesses time to assess their business requirements over the coming months.

Although staff might be furloughed, business owners are already making plans around the next phase. They’ve also been working on their own lockdown exit strategy.

This includes a phased return for certain employees from furlough, and we’re already seeing businesses slowly bringing some key people back or making plans around what dates these will happen. We are aware the lockdown restrictions are going to be lifted in stages, and businesses are following a similar approach.

Here are some areas you may be looking at:

· Training – whilst staff are furloughed, are you using this time wisely to ensure your people are equipped to meet your expectations when restrictions are lifted?

· Managing Performance – are you thinking about a different approach to this in the future? We’ve held some webinars with clients and there’s certainly an appetite from business owners and managers to manage people differently in the future. In addition, ensuring underperformance is addressed and praise those who are performing well.

· Recruitment – do you have people on the right seats? When so many people are downsized, furloughed, and laid off, hiring seems like a low priority item. Like you, my wife and I know lots of people in our circle of friends who are out of work or are furloughed. A lot of people are not sure what their future holds. Now is the time to get your recruitment activity going, not once the rebound starts as you’ll be fighting for quality candidates in a crowded market. Update your careers section on your website, be visible on LinkedIn and social media and take the opportunity to see what talent is available to drive your business forward.

With remote working, can you widen your geographic talent pool?

  • Working from Home – This has been forced upon some businesses. Has it worked, is it a long-term solution for you? Does that allow you to save on office costs? what infrastructure do you need to put in place to support this long-term.

We’ve been set up for home working as a team for some time, but what I’ve noticed over the last few weeks is the amount of time we’ve saved on travel – we’ve demonstrated that some of the face to face meetings we’ve held can be done just as well over Zoom or Teams. That’s a significant saving for a small business like ours. I’m sure many companies will be looking at this for the future.

  • Redundancy – Despite having furloughed some or all of your staff, you might still be considering making redundancies. The Job Retention Scheme has been extended to 30 June, and this may help shape some of the decisions you need to make. For example, if you propose to make 100 or more redundancies, you need to consult for 45 days and if more than 20 it’s a 30-day consultation period. How does the 30 June date fit into these plans? You might also realise you can’t wait until 30 June and are looking to reduce the size of your workforce before then – what are your plans to achieve this?

 

  • Culture – the last few weeks will have shown the type of culture you have. Did you get met by resentment with any proposed changes, or were your people receptive to some of the things you were looking to put in place? Did you do anything to support your local community or see other businesses do this and think you should have done more? You are maybe thinking what can you do differently around the culture you have.

Contact us now if you would like any support to begin working on your exit strategy.