The ongoing challenges in Auckland with its latest COVID-19 cluster makes it timely to consider how restructuring and redundancies could be mitigated.
Recruiting to skilled roles remains a challenge in many locations so retaining good staff now could help into the longer term.
Questions that could help balance COVID-19 impacts with retaining staff for the longer term are:
Reduced Hours or Unpaid Leave
- What flexibility could you offer staff who might be willing to work less hours or days or different duties for different pay?
- Would any staff like to take unpaid leave in the upcoming school holidays for example?
- How could you offer that option to staff and does this requires a written variation?
- Have any staff got leave entitlement outstanding (already entitlement)?
- What leave do they require for planned close-down periods?
- Could you be requiring any annual leave entitlement to be taken to reduce numbers at work and your balance sheet liabilities?
- Can these be held in 2020?
- How could you communicate that to staff?
- What does the employment agreement state?
Internally Filling Vacancies
- Can the work be spread among the existing team or could you promote from within to fill your vacancies and not refill a lower level or vacant role in the short term?
Reorganising Planned Work
- Is there an opportunity to work with customers to bring planned work forwards or push outwards to maximise utilisation of staff available?
- Are your cashflow and debtors being managed?
- Do you need to access COVID-19 support available?
- Have you talked to your accountant?
- What support can your bank provide?
Review of Products & Services
- Are there other products and/or services that you could be offering to maximise use of your staff?
- How could you market those offerings?
- What can you do differently?
Think About The Long-term
If you're exploring short term options with staff remember to mutually agree any variations to employment terms in writing. If you have to reduce your overall headcount, options to consider include:
- Reduce hours, days or duties of specified, or all roles.
- Offer of voluntary redundancy package.
- Put employment into ‘hibernation’ for a set period with expected return to work at the end of that period (this is the furlough scheme that has been used in the UK).
Funding from the RBP Business Advisory Fund
Grow HR also offers services that are registered with the COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund. Small- and medium-sized businesses may qualify for funding to help pay for advisory services to support them through the COVID-19 outbreak. Find out more by visiting www.regionalbusinesspartners.co.nz