As we breathe a sigh of relief with the hope that Level 2 is just around the corner, our attention has turned to the experts’ views on the ability of our economy to absorb the stresses and losses of the past four months. For many business owners and their staff, it is only just the beginning of what has been described by economists as a long road to recovery.
Dr Tadhg Ryan-Charleton, Lecturer at the University of Otago believes “entrepreneurs will be a critical driver of our economic recovery”. He explains that the survival of businesses will depend on their ability to innovate and adapt, rethink their business models, embrace technology and develop new products as New Zealanders move their allegiance to locally made goods.
As I swap stories with employers and business owners, we share the realisation that new thinking is emerging at every level of how we do business, including where we do business. For some, extensive travel for face-to-face meetings and costly office spaces are no longer seen as a necessity. For others, working from home has resulted in operating more effectively, with increased productivity and also substantial savings in travelling and overhead costs, not to mention an increase in work-life balance for employees.
Many businesses have welcomed the Government’s 12-week wage subsidy as they work hard to retain staff, ensuring service delivery once lockdown is over. For most businesses, their people are critical to their success, and difficult decisions are being made about whether to let people go and start again, or try and carry staffing costs through a time of low or no profit – both options comes at a cost.
For most employers, the focus is now on restarting what is, for many, a cold engine, and identifying the key skills and values they need to rebuild their ‘new look’ post-Covid-19 business. Restructure is an inevitable response for many businesses, and for some, timely changes will lead to a much healthier, stronger business. All employees respond differently in these situations; flexible and agile staff will embrace the challenges ahead while others will become overwhelmed as they come to terms with change. It is the responsibility of employers to support their people as much as possible through these inevitable and difficult transitions, and this is where New Focus NZ can help.
We support employers to identify the key skills needed to find success through recovery and enable the ‘best fit’ people to be retained, upskilled or recruited. We also provide expert outplacement services to ensure your outgoing staff feel valued and supported as they work to reassess their options and secure employment elsewhere as quickly as possible.
Out of Covid-19, we have seen the best and worst of people. This is a time when businesses can show genuine caring and goodwill to their people by prioritising staff wellbeing. We need to remember we are all in this together, and how we behave now will reflect on our businesses – not just with our ability to adapt and innovate, but also on our reputation as a great employer – for years to come.