Covid-19 – Business Recovery and People Planning

business recovery and people planning

The Pandemic and lockdown period has provided many businesses with the valuable opportunity to reflect on their business priorities.

For some, the crisis has provided unexpected opportunities. For others, it has presented significant business decisions.

What changes are needed to aid business recovery?

The flexible furlough scheme ends on 31 October. Businesses need to take control of their staffing and operating costs and consider what changes they might need to make and why.

It’s vital you understand what your numbers are telling you in terms of:

  • Cash flow
  • Expenses
  • Orders
  • Turnover
  • Salary overheads

This will tell you what staffing you will need, and what you can afford.

Challenge your own thinking. Ask yourself if you have a valid business case for doing things differently and if it will stand up to scrutiny by your team.

The immediate focus should be on planning for the here and now. Longer term planning can wait until later.

How will business recovery impact your people?

What does your business need to remain trading for the next 6-12 months?

Your business decisions are likely to impact upon your employees.

Business expansion

Do changes mean business expansion and new opportunities? If so, how can grow your team whilst retaining some flexibility and cost control?

Changing ways of working

Will any temporary COVID-19 measures now become a regular part of how you run your business?

For example:

  • Working from home
  • Using video conferencing
  • Staggering shift patterns
  • Making increased use on-line processes

If so, you may need to introduce new policies or terms and conditions of employment. You should also consider if additional management training will be needed.

Where business change is driven by financial challenges

If change is driven by financial challenges, does this automatically need to result in redundancies?

Consider any other changes you could make to avoid this. Changes might include:

  • Amending hours
  • Changing rates of pay
  • Making changes to staff benefits
  • Reducing or removing other overheads

Think about how you will consult with your workforce around changes that may not be welcomed. You should also consider whether any changes will be temporary or permanent and how you will implement them.

What is your cash flow telling you? Is there a gap between what you need and what you can afford?

You may need to consider restructuring and / or redundancy. If so, think about how you will manage the redundancy process and make selection decisions.

People Planning for the end of the flexible furlough scheme

The flexible furlough scheme ends on 31 October. Many businesses may need changes to be in place by 1st November. You should plan ahead and allow sufficient time for any change management process.

Allow time for careful planning, initial communications, and meaningful consultation periods.

Notice periods need to be given after consultation finishes. If making redundancies, statutory notice periods may exceed contractual ones.

Subject to their length of service, some employees may be entitled to 12 weeks’ notice. Payment in lieu of notice can only be made where employment contracts have an explicit clause.

Remember to document decisions and key discussions. You should also confirm outcomes in writing to all employees.

Remember your employees are people and not just a resource

When business change is needed, be honest with your team. Explain the situation and seek their views. You should help them understand why changes is needed, how they will be impacted and how they can help you to secure a positive future. Demonstrate you have considered everything to aid business recovery. Be open to ideas, your employees may think of something you haven’t!

Would you like help with the HR implications of your Business Recovery Plan and implementing change? If so, get in touch today. Contact Debbie on 07885 370054 or email

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