I want to talk today about the government's announcement about the part-time furloughing scheme that (fingers crossed) we’ll get more information about before the end of this month.
The things that spring to my mind when it comes to employees and the smooth transition into any processes (in particular this one) are really about planning, accountability and engagement. For me there are two types of organisation - there are those that will be waiting and hoping.They'll be waiting for the government's guidance towards the end of this month, and they’ll be hoping that they will be able to do something around that guidance. If they can't they will probably be blaming others regarding why they can't implement this - and then they'll be panicking.
Then there will be the other organisations that will be talking about this now. Planning for this now and thinking about it's 80/20 now in terms of the split between the government and the employer for employees’ wages. So it's going to be something different!
If it was me, I'd be planning on 5% increments and saying well if it's 75/25 or 70/30, or 65/35, etc in all of those increments. What does that mean for us?
At some point there will be a line that you'll probably cross that means you're going to start then saying you can't afford it. You might then be talking about redundancies rather than furlough.
Really looking at those different scenarios and (absolutely critically) looking at those scenarios with your Trade Union Representatives or your Employee Representatives. Involving those in that discussion so they can understand what that means for the business. They can understand what, at the moment, you think each scenario would mean for the business. Have that discussion now, when it's not reality yet - because you still don't know, but you’re pre-planning on what those various scenarios could be and you can have those different conversations. It won't be as emotive now as it would be if you were in a panic scenario and it’s thrust upon you. So, I'd really suggest planning these things now.
How are you going to phase people back on a part-time basis? How are you going to select those people? How you're going to engage with them - which is absolutely critical on everything obviously. Another thing as well is payroll.
Payroll will probably be quite key in this regarding how you’re going to transition people's pay. One thing you don't want to get wrong is pay. Health & safety is absolutely critical as we all know, but pay is probably the next most emotive thing you can get wrong with people.