At the beginning of this year, when things looked very different from today, key Downing Street advisor Dominic Cummings placed a job advertisement calling for “weirdos and misfits” to reform the civil service. He received tens of thousands of applications, but as far as we know, all his gmail-based recruitment solution ended up with was a white supremacist who lasted about a week.
He should have come to elementsuite. We are those misfits, but we practice great HR software and charity rather than eugenics. And we have a great recruitment solution too. But sometimes I wonder… perhaps we should be running the civil service?
Within days of the scale of the crisis becoming clear, our weirdos and misfits had designed and implemented a COVID-19 Self-Reporting App that allows companies to track the well-being of their staff, which integrates both within our own full suite solution, and as a stand-alone product on its own. As Boris fell ill, with even the cabinet in the dark about his health, our clients were able to manage and monitor the well-being of their thousands of employees (who have much better haircuts) on furlough.
Did I say thousands? As it stands today, over one in five workers in the UK have been placed on furlough since the start of April. That’s 6.3million people currently on furlough leave.
Although Boris’ much anticipated ‘comprehensive plan’ to restart the economy was so far a bit of a damp squid, nevertheless, the signs are becoming more positive that businesses and schools will shortly be reopening and people will be getting back to work. Sounds great, but as we all know, we can’t just pick-up where we left off. For many, COVID-19 has changed priorities, expectations and working practices forever.
Companies are now looking at how to scale up their business again, whilst trying to balance the health and well-being of their employees. Naturally, workers are concerned about the health risks they may face of returning to work, and this requires trust and confidence that their employer is taking every step available to minimise risks and ensure their safety.
Measures such as managing the use of space, imposing social distancing, one-way flows and ensuring staff maintain two metre separation apart are all practical steps that companies will need to implement. But more than that, companies must be geared up to track, manage and offer immediate assistance to those employees that come into contact with COVID-19. A company’s ability to provide a safe working environment will only be achieved if its employees are able to be open about any COVID-19 suspected health issue.
In the brave new “return-to-work” world, employees need to be able to notify their employer immediately of any suspected or actual health risk, such as family members showing symptoms etc. and thereby highlighting the need to self-isolate for 14 days. Having some form of health tracking facility is the only way to truly provide confidence to employees that it safe to return to work, without jeopardising the health and well-being of themselves and their family.
The extent to which companies have looked after their employees (or not) during the pandemic and the reciprocal commitment it may (or may not) invoke, could well be a game-changing differentiators as businesses return to normal– and we’ll have much more to say about this over the coming weeks, and look forward to hearing your views.
Meanwhile, us weirdos and misfits at elementsuite continue to stay one step ahead of our competitors, building software to help companies help their employees, and innovating our way through the crisis – pouncing on the multiple absence and payroll changes we’re having to implement every week as the treasury tweaks and introduces new schemes.
We’re all in this together. And we don’t envy the government’s position. But we also hope your business is looking after you (and your workforce), so that you (and your workforce) are suitably and safely empowered to go back to work when the time is right. And when you make your next HR software purchase, vote elementsuite.