recession

The Bank of England’s warning of a ‘sharp economic slowdown’ has sparked further fears that the UK could be plunged into recession.

The Government’s announcement of a review into how it can best support a thriving future UK labour market is welcome news, but with the two stage review taking place over spring and summer, will that support come quick enough?

As the UK continues to see a contraction across all sectors of the economy, we consider what steps employers should take regarding its staffing, to deal with the impact of a downturn.

Review Future Plans

It is important to look ahead to commitments you’ve made to establish if they are critical, and if they are, whether or not they can be deferred until you have some certainty.

For your employees this might mean reviewing training activities to ensure future relevance, and staffing plans, considering whether a recruitment freeze is an option.

Employers do need to ensure though that they consider how they will not only weather a recession but also respond in the aftermath – halting all training and recruitment may mean you’re not skilled and fully resourced to respond to future challenges.

Talk to Your Employees

It’s a balancing act for employers to ensure they keep employees appropriately updated on business plans, but without creating alarm and seeing your key staff jump ship. Key to this is relevant and meaningful communication.

You may not have all the answers or any fully formed plans, but communicating that it is on your radar and that you will share information when you can will help to gain trust and provide reassurance. It may encourage employees to review and consider their personal circumstances and avoid over committing. It can also provide clarity if you do decide to take steps such as putting training or recruitment on hold, avoiding your staff feeling even more frustrated and concerned. 

Follow a Fair Process

In the unfortunate event that redundancies are necessary, ensure that you follow a fair process to facilitate genuine and meaningful consultation that is sensitive and respectful to those affected. If you’ve communicated about your business plans appropriately, it should help staff to see this response is less of a knee-jerk reaction.

You need to prepare in order to run a process smoothly – use the time now to get clarity on your staffing numbers and commitments, making sure to consider all staff who may need to be involved such as fixed term contractors and temporary staff. 

For specialist HR support with any of these issues, please contact Sue Meehan Boyes in our team on 07384 468797.