With a surge in redundancies due to the pandemic* employers can keep in mind top tips from HR experts to improve efficiency during difficult business periods.

The latest ONS research* has shown a record number of redundancies in 2020*, with 395,000 UK workers being made redundant from September to November 2020.

As a result of this increase in redundancies many businesses may be facing difficult times, with current employees having to absorb the responsibilities of staff that have been made redundant, in a consolidation of roles.

To help mitigate the potential risks for businesses as a result of a reduction in employees, and to help develop the remaining team in these unprecedented times, the HR experts at Breedon Consulting have compiled a list of ways that employers can ensure that companies remain efficient following a loss of staff.

Managing director of Breedon Consulting, Nicki Robson, said: “Over the last 10 months, we’ve seen an increase in companies interested in developing existing staff post redundancies, and as a HR firm, we recognise that due to the long-term nature of the pandemic and the redundancies it has caused, that both managers and employees alike need to be the very best they can be, to work effectively and efficiently – especially when working remotely.

“The focus should be less on the technical elements associated with a role and more on areas such as management development, communication, time management, and effective meetings. These things are important, alongside consideration of the mental health and wellbeing of employees, who are at the heart of everything.

“Breedon Consulting has a number of online toolkits which include packages aimed at specific groups. Our ‘managers toolkit’ is generally provided following a 360 assessment of an individual’s real learning needs, and it focuses on their areas for development, rather than giving everyone the exact same training, regardless of how good, bad or indifferent they are in their roles.

“The toolkit provides detailed insights into what good management looks like, alongside tips for improvement, and offers online bite-sized courses and links to additional reading materials for extra learning. We supplement this with regular coaching sessions to ensure lessons learned are implemented and real benefits are achieved. After undertaking these courses, we have found that businesses have seen a dramatic increase in the overall efficiency of operations.”

Here are the five ways that businesses can remain efficient following redundancies:

  1. Develop management

The increase in redundancies and a shift to home working for an extended period of time, has highlighted the need for businesses to develop management leadership skills. Skilling up managers will ensure that they get the very best out of staff members when they are working remotely and employers should explore management and leadership course options to provide employees with the opportunity to develop themselves. This allows staff who may have had their roles altered due to staff redundancies, the opportunity to develop and even re-train.

2.Regular communication

Maintaining frequent communication with staff is imperative in remaining efficient following redundancies. Staff members may be feeling alone after a reduction in team size and with so many currently working from home, this distance can feel even bigger. There are many ways to keep teams connected, from arranging Zoom calls, to creating a WhatsApp or Messenger group. Regular calls can also be a great way for teams to maintain creativity and bounce ideas off each other, in the absence of ideation meetings.

3.Improving time management

With teams reducing in size, individual workloads can increase significantly and it is important that the current staff members understand how to manage their new workload. Teach staff the importance of prioritisation to ensure that tasks of higher importance are accomplished before tasks of lower importance. Employers should speak to staff about organisation skills and introduce steps such as planning ahead for the next day and goal setting. These measures can really encourage staff to create a routine, improving their time management.

4.Regular face to face meetings

It can be extremely beneficial to get in face time with team members, so where possible schedule in regular face-to-face meetings that observe government guidelines. Meeting with staff members face-to-face can be a better way to gauge exactly how they are feeling and it is a good way of ensuring that tasks are running to schedule and that everyone understands their roles fully.

5.Improving mental health

The mental health of staff members is of paramount importance. The stress of redundancy periods can have a negative effect on staff members and can lower morale, especially if staff have lost a team member that they worked closely with. Working from home during the pandemic can also negatively affect mental health and employers should encourage staff members to implement a work/life balance. Taking regular breaks and getting fresh air outside is also very important, when staff are limited to spending lots of time indoors.