Neil, Margery and Laura hosted our most recent webinar which centered on the topic of winter preparation for your business and team. We felt this was a timely topic given the time of year, the changes we see to weather and darker days coupled with the continued challenge that Covid-19 presents to business.

The session looked at three main topics and the team gave their thoughts and experiences of supporting clients at this time of year in relation to each. 

The first was Health and Wellbeing of the team at this time of year. It was discussed that now more than ever this aspect of managing a team is so important to maintain productivity, engagement and ultimately success.

Margery and Laura put forward a series of suggestions and approaches for consideration in checking on employee’s welfare as well as some practical initiatives for supporting employees. A key theme was to ensure businesses open up lines of communication with employees and create safe spaces for conversations on wellbeing to take place

Absence Management was the next discussion point, with Neil noting that winter tends to bring about a spike in absence with more illness going round and employees potentially being less active in the darker months; even without factoring in covid-related absence likely to affect many organisations.

Margery and Laura encouraged business owners to dust off the absence management policy and determine that it was up to date, ensure managers and staff alike are familiar with the obligations for reporting absence and process for managing it. 

Ensuring consistency across the organisation was highlighted as a key consideration for businesses to ensure employees do not feel unfairly treated with how their absence is managed vs. others. Similarly, carrying out return to works after every absence, was identified as an important step as this helps exercise the duty of care required from all employers for health and safety as well as being an opportunity to check on absence levels and interventions to avoid further time off.

The final key topic was HR related Business Objectives, chosen due to Gravitate’s experience that this time of year often sees business owners in touch looking to make changes to their business or deal with issues so they can start the following year more prepared.

This being the time of year that budgets are being looked at for the following year can often inform whether recruitment and new skills are required into the business, a realignment of existing skill or the possibility of a reduction in headcount. Margery encouraged planning to take place as early as possible as there are lots of recruitment challenges and skills gaps being experienced across a wide range of sectors.

The team also noted that for many businesses it is ‘appraisal season’ and emphasised the importance of carrying these out as scheduled in order to provide performance feedback, set objectives and also use this as an opportunity to check in on welfare as discussed earlier.

You can watch the webinar here and see what takeaways you should be considering within your business.

Details and sign up for our next webinar on 26th October 2021 can be located here.