Halfway through 2021 and looking ahead for the remainder of the year, a little time for reflection and speculation. It has been 12 months of roller coaster activity as we absorb the bumps, ups and downs of wave after wave of employment issues on behalf of our clients. In the past there has been a predominant theme to our activities but currently the spread of types of activities is extraordinary. In many ways that is great as there is a depth and breadth to what we are doing, lots of variation and having to think outside of the box to find new and different ways to address issues, solve problems and advise sensibly.

We are managing lots of recruitment, mostly in technical and developmental roles as some businesses grow, take advantage of growth in environmentally sustainable commercial opportunities, suck up a never-ending thirst for data analytics and fill gaps left by those who have returned to EU countries and playing catch up on those vacances that lay dormant during lockdown.

We are helping businesses restructure to align with the current needs of their business which does not necessarily mean cost reduction but driven out of the need to have the right set of skills and competences to meet their ever-changing business landscapes. There are the usual raft of statutory processes (otherwise known and disciplinaries and grievances) which arise as a result of better governance expecting more accountability and not accepting poorer standards of reporting and performance; tensions in the workplace exacerbated by poor cultures and frustration of inappropriate management practices of those working from home and a realisation that management has to manage despite the fact that people are working from home and not in the line of sight.

Investigations can take so many different dimensions, even those with a small number of people involved can have many different moving parts. They are influenced by the vagaries of people who demonstrate the wide range of human behaviours that can distract from the key issues, provide complexity, delays and distractions. This keeps us on our toes to ensure that we are focusing on the real issues, identifying the evidence and pulling together a fair, impartial and independent assessment of the facts upon which decisions can be made by those charged with reaching an

We are working with clients to formulate a different way of working that will address the new norms of hybrid working, use of alternative working spaces, more flexible working patterns, and managing outputs and outcomes rather than time spent. This is particularly interesting as it is different for every business, impacted by leadership styles, governance regimes and culture. We have been training domestically and internationally. The power of digital reach is that you can take your message across the globe. A recent training initiative to develop consistent recruitment practices across different geographical regions took one of the team to Edinburgh, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda. The legal frameworks varied from country to country but the organisation’s desire for consistent practice in line with their value was the driving force for this piece of work.

And then there is the need our internal management practice to ensure that our team are well informed, supported and developed. We spend a lot of time checking in on each other, working collaboratively and sharing good practice. We spend time on our business development, catching up with clients, planning webinars, updating content on social media and our website. The inner wheels of the business must be kept well oiled to ensure that we can deliver effectively.

There is always something to do whether client facing or looking after ourselves. It is a bit like a garden with lots of seasonal tasks. The joy of a garden just now is that the flowers are blossoming, the vegetables coming into season and the trees green and lush. All the work during the year to bring colour to the garden pays off and creates a safe and productive environment to enjoy. Last week I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a client. “It is just brilliant to work with such a professional and dynamic team at Gravitate who share our values and who are always there
when we most need them!” So great to get such good feedback for all the team.

The other quote of the week was “Expert HR advice on tap just when I need it – couldn’t have got through the last few months without you guys!” We will never rest on our laurels, but we can pause for a moment of reflection and take stock of a very busy and varied six months of 2021 which has taken us through the darkness of winter into the bright summer days. All the hard work has brought us and our clients to a place where we can enjoy some summer rays, smile at the fruits of our labours and prepare for the rest of 2021.