Insights to help deal with COVID-19. Part 1.
Despite all the challenges in the world right now I hope you all had a lovely Easter and had a chance to enjoy the sun (if you're in the UK) and have some fun (at home).
With so much content and news coverage of the Coronavirus, I expect every business leader is well informed, so I’m not intending to go over old ground. However, over the past few weeks, I’ve collated some insights from talking to business owners, clients, webinars I’ve attended and forums I’ve been a part of. In turn, I have been sending these out to my customers and friends, but as this is such a continually moving feast, I thought it might be useful to share this information with a wider audience.
So below are a few topics that cropped up. I hope you find the content useful.
Whilst most will have undertaken a thorough assessment of the business in light of COVID-19, the PwC document I have found to be one of the most useful, providing a comprehensive checklist that covers strategic considerations, scenario planning, incident management coordination, with specific focus on; workforce, operations & supply chain, communications, customers and revenue and head office functions. Couple this with an astute focus on the well-being of your staff, you have a comprehensive template to crisis response.
As this process becomes more abundantly used, a lot of people are talking about what happens when a former employee who has just left asks to come back and be furloughed because their contract with their new company has been voided before they start.
In most cases its reasonable to expect you'll want to help them, but do consider the risk you take on, both from a legal and HR standpoint.
It is likely the government will retrospectively audit firms that furlough staff, and, as this is not what the scheme is designed for, if you have a paper trail, e.g. P45, you risk getting in hot water with HMRC. Remember, it’ll be us that pays this back eventually (and possibly our children and their children too).
From an HR perspective, it's likely they'll need a new/amended contract, a review of notice periods (and give them notice again), and clarity on holiday entitlement, as this will accrue whilst being furloughed. It’s worth considering the impact on staff also, could this breed any animosity?
Undoubtedly, it’s a difficult decision to make. There's some useful information from Peninsula and August Equity, including a furlough template letter.
Hardly a new process, and I suspect the majority already apply for and receive R&D tax credits. However, it is worth exploring the opportunity again, as I know there are profitable businesses out there wiping out their entire corporation tax bill by approaching this process rigorously, even incorporating work with clients as justifiable R&D.
Consider R&D as anything where you are adding to the collective knowledge base of the UK, such as solving system uncertainty. With this in mind is it worth a revisit? To mitigate risk, it is also possible to get your R&D pre-approved.
Not exactly new or news, but have you considered how systems like this give you an advantage over face to face meetings or phone calls?
Firstly, you can capture valuable data from your prospects and clients using polls and surveys, gain feedback, measure engagement either whilst on the call or immediately afterwards. I've been on a couple of webinars, where this was used to steer the next part of the session, polling the 120 odd people there and then.
Secondly, recording calls (with client’s permission), sales managers and leaders now get a far greater opportunity to coach individual sellers - a win for everyone, including customers and prospects.
Moving out of Triage – a positive step forward?
Cranfield University have a Business Growth Programme that covers 3 phases of action specific to COVID-19, 'Triage', 'Stabilise' and 'Bounce Forward'. Whether you follow their programme or not (there are free, resources provided), the terminology is a useful analogy to consider. Currently we’re in 'Triage'; understanding how our businesses can survive, evaluating all options and prioritising actions.
For most business leaders, with this now complete, we’ll be moving in to 'Stabilise'; getting back into a controlled routine and structure, both as a business and the teams and the individuals within, before moving to 'Bounce Forward' where we can embrace the new normal with an adapted business strategy and a now embedded business development approach fit for purpose for the new world.
All the links provided in the comments section. I will also be sending out a weekly email with content like this. If you'd find this useful, please contact me and I'll add you to the list (you can opt out at any time).
If you'd like to talk through any of these ideas in more detail or any of the challenges you are having 121, then please message me, I will be happy to help.
Thank you to everyone who've shared their insights with me thus far.
PwC document - This version is 2 weeks old now, which may seem like an age, but the checklist is worth reviewing - https://cloud.email.pwc.com/covid-19-response-considerations?Medium=UK&Channel=Web&Format=Landingpage&Campaign=Feature BGP programme - https://blog.som.cranfield.ac.uk/bgp-response-programme-hub
Furlough letter from Peninsula - http://go.peninsulagrouplimited.com/lWM6p000BLJ72K06O0c0P0I
Furloughing information - https://www.augustequity.com/insights/looking-externally-navigating-covid-19/
Challenger Bank Countingup - provides some simple tools to use for grants and furloughing - https://support.countingup.com/hc/en-us/sections/360002098897-COVID-19-Support
This blog was originally posted on LinkedIn.