Last week our Director, Martin Burnett, hosted a virtual event entitled “The Balancing Act – People vs Profit”. The event opened a discussion with business owners, finance leaders and HR professionals around the effects of COVID 19 on business and the importance of building an effective strategy to retain cash and people in your organisation. Some fantastic points were made and we have compiled a short blog of Top Tips that materialised from the event. Top Tips: You need to be all over the numbers, producing rolling monthly forecasts and lots of ‘what if’ analysis. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Make sure that as a Business Owner or as Finance Director you are constantly aware of the state of your cash flow and chasing overdue debt the minute it arises. Speaking to numerous businesses across the East Midlands, one key internal change that has resulted in stronger management of cash and team moral has been to utilise your workforce and redeploy labour that would otherwise have been furloughed – e.g. tele sales helping chase debt in credit control – clearly cash management and cash flow has been fundamental to businesses surviving. Being on furlough and, alternatively, being part of a “core team”, both have unique challenges. It’s important to engage with employees and be transparent with what’s happening in the business. People who have worked all through lockdown are likely to feel exhausted and worried. Those on furlough likely feel anxious, and demotivated. So, to try and maintain a united team, communication is key. Stay in touch regularly with furloughed employees and be in open dialogue about work and employees mental health. This is an opportunity to create deeper relationships with your employees. 70% of organisations have reported issues / resentment between those that have been working and those that have been furloughed, especially as they are returning to work now. It’s important that any conflict is address immediately. Always encourage open conversations and you could reach out to an expert on change and conflict to help you navigate through these times. As we’ve all seen, redundancies have been the most common way of businesses reducing costs. The redundancy process can be an intricate web of legal issues, cost queries and business needs. Redundancies also cause huge unrest and nervousness amongst the remaining employees. So our redundancy expert Gavin says that “Transparency and clear communication is key. Understanding the legal process and balancing that with trying to maintain a strong business culture can be very difficult. If redundancies happen try to make sure it only happens once as cutting twice has a massive knock on effect to those employees who are left, they won’t really ever feel secure in their role” Finally, use employees to give you ideas. It might seem a bit nerve racking to conduct an employee engagement survey during these times but it is an honest and productive way to show your employees you value their opinion, you are committed to improving your culture and it makes them feel included. If you have any questions about cash flow, finance or HR issues following COVID 19, please reach out and we can put you in touch with one of our experts. 68% of organisations across the UK have said they will be making big internal and external changes to their organisation. So if need advice on more finance, cash flow and future proofing your business please reach out as Allan Caven is a turnaround and distress specialist, with a real focus on profit and building a plan to achieve it. He is an experienced leader with a proven track record in both PLC and SME environments across multiple industries including Energy, Waste, Retail, Financial Services, Recruitment, and Manufacturing. Allan has extensive experience across business partnering, business growth, stakeholder management, business re-structuring, mergers & acquisitions, exit route planning, turnarounds, raising finance and private equity. People and Hr process was as much of a focus before COVID as it is right now, and it’s arguably even more important than ever as organisation need the best people in place to succeed. Gavin Peace FCIPD - HR Director – was on our event to offer advice and guidance on all things from redundancy, restructure and employee engagement. Gavin has several years’ experience overseeing redundancy, restructuring, change and transformation projects. He has industry experience across Financial services, hospitality and Retail. Gavin has previously led a 250 employee TUPE transfer and 450 headcount redundancy consultations simultaneously with zero litigation. He’s also managed redundancy projects both small and large scale up to 1,500 heads. Gavin has extensive experience across business and team consolidation, team restructures, culture change, system implementation, large and small scale recruitment projects and people management.