Author: Celine Williams


Furlough Fallout

The online poll during this webinar indicated that 82% of participants believed that either they would or may have difficulties with potential “us and them” scenarios as we plan, prepare and expect a return to work or the workplace.  So in this population this issue is real and expected.  The potential arises as a result of groups of employees who were previously largely ubiquitous, were then treated differently as a result of the lockdown.  Some remained at work in the workplace; some home based working; some furloughed; some made redundant.  Now with restrictions being eased and decisions about the future employment of all employees, there is potential for uncertainty and the opportunity for unequal treatment and inequality.

There is a real role for careful leadership and management of these potential scenarios and whilst there is no rule book or definitive guide on steps to take we would suggest that the following could go some way to mitigate any potential difficulties:

  • Communication to all to set out the context – what is happening in the business; what are the priorities and challenges; how all the team can contribute to the future?
  • Be aware of making assumptions about how lockdown may or may not have affected employees.  Take the time to establish where each person is at and how they are feeling.
  • Be clear about roles and responsibilities now and moving forward as these may have changed over lockdown and as priorities may have altered
  • Agree how we are all going to come back and be prepared that might need to change over time as we get used to new ways of working
  • Be mindful that previous tensions and difficult relationships will have not gone away and could have become more entrenched over lockdown
  • Address difficulties and differences of opinions – don’t leave them to fester
  • Be clear about the way forward and the part that all need to play to move the business forward onto the next chapter
  • Have authentic and perhaps difficult conversations to pave the way to the new norm

There are no definitive answers to this potential tensions and differences.  The first steps is to recognise there is a potential; then to assess where each team member is actually at, rather than make some assumptions; have clear and robust communication that sets the direction forward and deal with issues as they present themselves – it has not been an easy time for anyone and furlough may or may not have been “flip flops and G&T on the deck” for everyone!

On Tuesday 14th July, 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm we are going to drill down on how to manage people who are reluctant to return to work  and how you might approach these scenarios.

Book your place here.


The Risks of Opening your Workplace and your Team Returning to Work

Bryan Mclelland of BSM Training & Consultancy joined us for our most recent webinar on 30th June 2020. With lockdown provisions continuing to ease across Scotland, many workplaces that shut down significant parts of their operations or potentially the entire operation are in the midst of planning to get up and running again.

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The HR trends, challenges and learnings since lockdown

It was great to catch up yesterday with Ewan Dunlop, Partner Account Manager from BreatheHR, today on the HR trends and challenges that have surfaced during lockdown.  Software platforms were identified as key to our new norm, communication through Zoom and other platforms and BreatheHR being used to record and keep up to date with HR administration and going beyond holiday and sick absence management which will support communication, recognition and developing culture.  Ewan gave some great examples of using notifications, the kudos feature to congratulate colleagues and boost morale, and setting and recording objectives on the platform.  This is feasible because of the accessibility of the platform and the simplicity of use.  Managers will be able to use the reporting functions to track who is on furlough (or not); holiday management; changes to working patterns and ultimately to inform payroll especially as we move towards flexible furlough.

We recognised the challenges associated with creating confidence and trust in helping people to get back to work as this will represent different reactions and responses from staff.  Some eager to get back to work, others more reluctant because of health, caring or other concerns and some opposed to returning to the workplace.  The opportunity to create a Return to Work policy was discussed and encouraged as this would allow the business to create new norms; establish safe practices and allow concerns to surface and be addressed including all the things that you have not thought about or considered as important.  So collaboration and communication, involving others to develop the Return to Work policy and then to talk to staff individually is suggested as good practice.

In every set of circumstances there are positives and negatives and these are personal and unique to each individual.  However business owners and managers will need to find a way to address those concerns and find a way in which we can work together, live with the threat and presence of Covid 19 and stay safe and productive.  Many of us look forward to the friendship and camaraderie that work provides to our every day life and we all face the challenge of doing that at a distance, remotely and with tinges of undercurrents of the threats that the virus may still present.

However the new norm will feature software platforms and our increased use and understanding of the value of accessible and secure platforms in our working lives, including BreatheHR.

You can watch the full webinar here.


Good Conversations – Part 2

I was really looking forward to having a good conversation today.  Against the backdrop of so much angst and aggravation it felt good to give some positive and practical guidance about having one-to-one conversations that actually address matters and allow solutions to come to the surface. I think this is particularly important at time when so many employers will be having difficult conversations or facing challenging situations with team members.

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Employment Q&A Webinar

In our latest employment Q&A session we were once again joined by Marianne McJannett of TC Young, this time to discuss some of the key changes and challenges foreseen with the introduction of the new flexible furlough scheme.

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The HR trends, Challenges and Learnings Since Lockdown

In this next webinar we will be discussing the HR trends, challenges and learnings since lockdown and what we can learn from them as we go forwards. I’m delighted to be joined by Ewan Dunlop, Partner Account Manager from Breathe.

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Good Conversations – Part 2 Webinar

Lockdown continues and is set to be with us for some time bringing continued uncertainty for managers and employees.

There’s a growing realisation that people are struggling with heightened levels of stress and anxiety, yet as business leaders in these challenging circumstances, we still need to manage our businesses, make difficult decisions about staffing, make essential changes, manage employee performance and still keep people motivated.

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Employment Q&As

Following on from our webinar last week, our next webinar will be a Q&A session where we’ll be joined by Marianne McJannett of TC Young and Margery McBain on Thursday 11th June at 12.30 pm to discuss the latest developments on the Job Retention Scheme. We will be discussing employment law and the challenges the new flexible furlough scheme poses.

  • Should you keep someone on furlough even though there is likely to be no work for them to return to?
  • How the new furlough scheme affects holidays and sick pay
  • Redundancy
  • The consequences of the track and trace scheme

If you’d like to learn more or want the opportunity to ask questions, register now.


Furlough Stories

Before the end of March 2020, the word furlough was not part of our vocabulary, now it is used multiple times a day.  Over the weeks we have got to grips with the technical aspects of the scheme, answered lots of questions, written countless letters, held numerous consultations and in doing so we have come across different sets of challenges and complexities.  We should not be surprised really as we are dealing with people and people don’t react and respond necessarily the way that we expect or want. 

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Employment Q&A Webinar

Following our recent employment Q&A webinar we have put together a summary of some of the most frequently asked questions relating to furlough and other issues.

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