Managing your people during coronavirus

The health and safety of your staff should be your primary concern amidst the coronavirus health crisis. Below is our practical advice on how to manage them through these uncertain times.

        Ensure effective and frequent communication 
        Set expectations around communication frequency and the methods will you use to release business critical information. 
Transparency with your people will help manage expectations, reassure them that you are leading, planning and preparing sufficiently.
           
        Facilitate being connected
        Create regular informal methods of conversation to include homeworkers and those who are still out in the field or in the office. Encourage people to bring their whole self to work and recognise the many challenges our employees will be facing at this time.
           
        Harness technology
        Ensure your employees have the required technology do their job as effectively as possible while working remotely.
Make use of the innovative technology that’s available to continue to connect, deliver and access real time information.
           
        Encourage pro-active wellbeing
        Managing our mental and physical health through these times is going to be critical. Finding new and innovative ways of encouraging wellbeing will help build team collaboration and resilience.
Ensure your employees know where to go for advice, for both work and personal queries.
           
        Prioritise supervision where needed most
        Social distancing and self-isolation may mean that large sections of the workforce are now being forced to embrace new ways of working.
Ensure your managers routinely check-in with staff and reassure employees of easy access to help.
           
        Recognise creativity and innovation
        Times of adversity and challenge can often uncover skills and qualities you didn’t know existed.
Embracing new ideas, workarounds and approaches, which will leave a positive legacy.

People and contingency planning


Workforce protection

Understand employee rights and entitlement

  • Make sure you understand your legal and contractual obligations, and then think through the practical implications for your organisation.
  • Stay informed of changing Government guidance and legislation. Seek specialist advice as needed to respond to the evolving global crisis.
  • Keeping operations going, maintaining positive employee relations and protecting your long-term viability will be a careful balancing act for the foreseeable future.

Workforce planning

Conduct regular impact assessments of your people

  • Gathering regularly essential data from across the workforce, including resource availability, utilisation levels, key skills, knowledge and experience, access to emergency reserve resources and critical incident leadership plans.
  • Knowing this information and updating it continuously enables you to plan and respond to changing business needs.
  • Be prepared to act quickly in mobilising resources to ensure business continuity.

Workforce restructuring

Hope for the best but plan for the worst

  • Crisis and contingency planning should consider each step of the worst-case scenario and the key metrics i.e. staffing levels, customer demand, cashflow etc to help identify the next phase of action.
  • Consider short-term interventions such as furlough of employees, reduced working hours, paying for those that need to keep working, or enforced annual leave. 
  • Stay informed of changing Government provision such as SSP, Job Retention Scheme and seek specialist advice as needed. Don’t avoid difficult decisions, such as restructuring, and downsizing which may result in redundancies.  
  • Look at the options of business grants or loans, but in the event that the organisation is unable to sustain itself administration may become inevitable.

Workforce agility

Plan – Do – Review – Repeat 

  • The working environment is changing daily on a global level, what is right for today may not be appropriate tomorrow.
  • Remaining agile is essential for survival, this requires continuous horizon scanning, responding to sudden external pressures and delivering creative plans. 
  • Leadership collaboration and visibility is key to navigating and unlocking a flexible and rapid response.
  • Frequent reviews are vital as the environment changes.

For more information on how RSM can help your organisation through these challenging times, please contact

Carolyn Brown Carolyn Brown

Partner, Head of Client Legal Services

Steve Sweetlove Steve Sweetlove

Partner

Susan Ball Susan Ball

Partner