If the challenging events of the last year have left you feeling dazed and confused, you’re not alone! It’s difficult to see the bigger picture when you’re constantly fighting fires. However, with the prospect of a return to something like normality in the spring, now is the time to get your head down and decide on the future shape of your work team – post-pandemic and post-Brexit.

As ever, Sapience HR Founder Sue Hook has some carefully considered steps for business owners and managers to follow, and is happy to share her expertise. “Having a clear team strategy for whatever lies ahead is really important,” says Sue. “Yes, there are challenges to be faced and companies need to be realistic about what the road to recovery might entail, but there are also opportunities for growth and development – but only if you have the people to enable that to happen.”

The 7-step plan below is a handy free HR resource, but if you need more help please get in touch.

Step 1. Horizon Scanning

Find some time and space to set realistic goals for your business

Covid has blindsided every business operator at some level. Whether your business has come grinding to a halt and is now floating in limbo, or you’re struggling to keep up with a surge in online orders, it has been a steep and painful learning curve for us all.

Try and find some headspace to take it all in and have a long hard look at what lies ahead – worst case scenarios included.

Q. What are the challenges likely to be, and where do the real opportunities exist?

Your people strategy must be aligned with your overall aims, so define what they are, and therefore where the HR priorities lie.

Step 2. Organisational Structure

Is your current team structure fit for purpose?

In light of these overall aims and priorities, ask yourself whether your organisational structure is fit for purpose. Does it need a total overhaul, or a tweak here and there?

Q. Is your current team a realistic vehicle to take you into your new business future?

At this stage you may be starting to think about redundancies, or creating new job roles. However, don’t get too far ahead of yourself – there are other factors to take into consideration which will influence those decisions…

Step 3. Workplace Culture

A positive work culture can have huge benefits

With so many big decisions to make, taking a step back to review your team culture may seem like something you don’t have time for, but trust us, make time!

Ask yourself (and your managers and colleagues) how positive and engaged are your workforce right now? Is your pay and rewards system fit for purpose? What kind of leadership is being shown, and by whom?

Q. Have you properly defined your values and culture, and how does that percolate through your team?

If the make-up of your team is about to change, that’s an opportunity to take ownership of your workplace ethos and ensure it’s something you’re really proud of. For ideas on creating a positive work culture in the months ahead, read our thoughts here.

Step 4. Workforce Make-Up

Get to know your team a little better!

Looking beyond numbers and departments, this is where you need to consider the make-up of your team in more detail, i.e. demographics, diversity, skills, training and staff turnover.

If you’re not attracting employees from diverse backgrounds, you need to look at your equal opportunities policy and recruitment strategy. If staff turnover is high in particular areas ask yourself what can be done to improve this.

Q. Look carefully at your aims and priorities – where are the skills gaps and what’s your training or recruitment plan to fill those gaps?

All of this will inform decisions about the evolution of your workforce, which comes next…

Step 5. Talent Management

Where will your team be in five years time?

Using everything you’ve learnt from this navel-gazing session so far, decide on the next steps for your team.

Q. What are the critical roles to help you achieve your newly-defined aims, and are the right people in those roles? Do you have succession planning in place for key employees, and mentoring and appraisal systems to encourage career progression?

If you need to recruit you should now know exactly where the gaps are. Use this as an opportunity to do more than simply grow your team, but also to put that equality and diversity policy into practice and reinvigorate your positive workplace culture.

If redundancies are on the cards make sure your approach is sensitive and stands up to internal and external scrutiny. No one likes making redundancies but there are good and bad ways of going about it, and the support of a HR agency like ours could be invaluable.

Step 6. Health and Safety

Do you have the right procedures in place to protect your team?

Again, at times of high pressure, updates to your health and safety policy can slip down the list. If anything Covid should have the opposite affect; it has never been more important to consider the physical and mental health of your workforce.

Q. Have you set out your Covid-safety procedures? Be sure to review them on a monthly basis, and send staff regular updates so they feel reassured.

In terms of mental health, be ready to offer your staff extra support. For ideas on the best way to do this, read our previous blog.

Step 7. Corporate and Social Responsibility

Discover the causes which motivate your team!

Many companies and consumers are framing the pandemic as a moment of resetting, particularly in terms of sustainability and the environment.

Now is a good time to consider how you can wield your people power to promote positive change – for the team, the environment, the community and for your brand.

Q. Talk to your team – what partnerships and initiatives do they feel most passionately about?

Whether it’s monthly beach cleans, or fundraising for a children’s hospice, a feel-good focus will bring your team together and support their physical and mental health.

Once you’ve gone through all of the steps above you should have a much clearer idea of what your people strategy looks like for the year ahead. Try and record this in a succinct and useful way – return to it every few months to pause, reflect and reassess.

If you need help with any of the above steps, why not give us a call? We can help you overcome difficult obstacles like succession planning, redundancy and recruitment, ensuring that you have the human resources to take you from surviving to thriving!