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How prepared is your business for unexpected events?

Karen James

A lack of preparation for unexpected events can have a major impact on a business in a short space of time

Over the last few weeks the news has been dominated by the growing number of people infected with the Coronavirus. Amongst the rumours, misinformation and fear being spread about the virus itself, there have also been concerns raised for businesses and HR departments, and the lack of preparation for sudden changes to employee attendance, or business processes.

Even though it’s only been a few weeks since the outbreak started to move across the globe, there has already been a knock-on effect. With companies who have international travellers returning from China and Italy among those requiring employees to stay at home to prevent further infection among staff. This has put HR departments under the spotlight, with sickness policies, home working, and enforced holiday questions being asked by staff and management. Often the technologies required to ensure this can be handled have been highlighted as something that needs improving. To reduce the short term impact for businesses and employees, the right document management system needs to be in place to keep track automatically.

The Covid-19 Coronavirus has already impacted global financial markets

Future proof your business

It’s not only pandemics such as Coronavirus that can have a negative impact on a business in a short space of time, there could be weather issues, political, and economic changes. These are very real concerns with more frequent flooding preventing employees travelling, and the more complex procedures needed for international travel post Brexit. So how do you ensure that your HR department is prepared to cope?

Have a contingency plan

You may have a plan in place, but when was it last reviewed, and does it fit in with the real world of your business today?

  • Does your existing HR department have the required set up to track remote workers?
  • Can your employees log in, access the right information, store and retrieve data?
  • Does it allow for full tracking of activities from outside the office?
  • Are there resources for the appropriate equipment, access to broadband and video calls?
  • Can your HR department analyse and track short term leave and enforced holiday? If you can’t, now is the time to investigate the options and make sure employees and employers have the means to communicate and manage documents from any location. Things move fast in business, and if your competitors can work effectively when you can’t, they can soon get the edge. You should review your contingency plan regularly to ensure it’s relevant and meets the needs of your business.

Can your business handle the pressure?

At crucial, high pressure times businesses come under extra strain to cope. One of the key factors that causes problems for organisations is manual document management. If you’re relying on paper documents, physically signing and approving, or even filing and storage, you’re wasting valuable time – and of course, it’s impossible to do any of this from remote locations. With a cloud-based document management system in place your HR team can manage the vast majority of your business processes faster, easier and with a greater amount of accuracy. No lost paperwork or multiple versions of documents, but full tracking and auditing, and from anywhere as long as you have a mobile, computer or laptop connection and the correct access permissions.

Coping with sudden redundancies

Many areas of business have struggled in recent years, and those in the retail world have hit the headlines, showing that even high profile, well known high street names are not immune to changes in customer behaviour. The swing to more ‘click than brick’ buying habits, and the reliance on mobile shopping has caught those businesses off guard. But there are also short-term effects such as those mentioned above that can cause a business to look at the need to make redundancies with little warning. This needs to be handled delicately, and carefully by your HR department to reduce disruption, stress for employees, and ensure the correct legal requirements have been followed to prevent legal action against your business.

As an employer, you need your HR department to follow correct procedure and inform employees of their rights and the development at each step of the consultation period. By law this must be disclosed in writing and include:

The reasons for the proposals

The number of redundancies and descriptions of those proposed to dismiss

The method of selection for dismissal

The method used to calculate the amount of redundancy payment made
Avoid costly mistakes

If the company fails to follow these procedures the employee can take the employer to an employment tribunal. This can be financially costly and damage the reputation of a business. In order to manage all of this for multiple employees, across departments effectively you need a robust document management system.

 

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