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GTP21: New ways of working

HR Dept Wolverhampton, Sandwell & Halesowen

This blog post has been produced for the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as part of the 2021 Growth Through People campaign.

Growth Through People is the Chamber’s annual campaign aiming to help local firms boost productivity and grow through improved leadership and people management skills. In 2021 this involves 8 free online workshops taking place throughout March, and a virtual Growth Through People conference on 30th March. In addition, throughout the campaign the Chambers will be publishing thought leadership podcasts, videos and blog content such as this.

Thanks to our Headline Sponsors – Aston University, BMet College and the University of Birmingham’s Work Inclusivity Research Centre - all workshops are free to attend. Interested readers can find out more and register to attend Growth Through People workshops here, and the Growth Through People conference here.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to rapidly adopt new ways of working when time to plan was a luxury. What we knew as “normal” pre-crisis is unlikely to return post-crisis and thus we must look forward, not back, and create a “new normal” for our businesses. Where there are challenges, there are also opportunities. So, how do we make the most of those opportunities? Here are some tips:`

Redefining our Businesses

What is our core business? In which ways might we diversify opening up to new markets? Or have we diversified too much and lost sight of the core of what we do?

Let’s create a clear vision of what the business will look like going forward. Think how we want our clients to view our business. What do we want them to say about us? The same applies to our employees. How do we want them to view us as an employer?

  • Tiplook at what funding and/or grants might be available to support through the difficult times, retain jobs and to encourage growth and new product development.

Organisational Structure

Next identify the organisational structure to deliver this vision. This may be a few simple tweaks to the existing structure or a complete restructure.

Outsourcing may be an option to consider which enables a business to flex efficiently to peaks and troughs in demand for services and products, and this could involve a TUPE transfer.

Freelancers may make specialist skills accessible without the commitments that go with employing directly. However, the caution here is to ensure that the individuals are truly self-employed.

  • Tip - take expert HR advice in designing and delivering this in the right way both for your business and for your legal compliance.

Working from Home

According to current research*, 54% of employers have staff working continuously at home. 70% of employers intend to utilise homeworking compared to 45% pre-crisis. Working from home and the ability to work flexibly is here to stay in varying degrees.

  • TipSupport this with Remote and Flexible Working Policies as the considerations go far beyond what appears on the surface as a simple option.

Physical Environment

If you are in a growth phase, you may need larger premises. If you are downsizing or moving a significant portion of your workforce to remote working, then you may have the opportunity to move to smaller premises and save on overheads.

  • Tip - A review of technology, current systems, upgrades, new systems, data security will also be required. Do your employees know how to hold data securely at home?.

Managing Change

Managing change is always difficult and more challenging as a result of a pandemic. How well equipped are our managers to manage the change process effectively, to manage remote teams and getting to grips with new technology. Do they have the capabilities to be leaders of that change, inspiring and motivating the team to deliver the vision?

  • Tipwould your managers benefit from leadership development?

As business owners, we also need to take time to look after ourselves. This might include engaging external help to advise, support and share the workload of implementing new ways of working. Get in touch if you feel you need support, whether it is for some or all of the above or indeed, any other aspect of managing your team.

Denise Waite
HR Dept Wolverhampton, Sandwell & Halesowen

E: denise.waite@hrdept.co.uk  
M: 07961 741 238
T: 0345 296 2694