CEO Blog – A Challenging Summer Lies Ahead For Business Leaders
With the ongoing lifting of lockdown restrictions, business confidence is continuing to increase. Great news for the economy! However, business leaders face a (further!) challenging few months.
Not only is attrition predicted to be high (in my last blog I wrote about the fact that resourcing volumes are continuing to increase, but that it’s a candidates’ market due to a skills shortage), but also the volume of work has definitely picked up, just as we’re about to head into the summer season.
The challenge of juggling your internal resource over the summer period is nothing new. However, a much higher percentage of your workforce has probably been holding off taking leave until the peak summer months, once restrictions are eased. Those who may have traditionally waited to take holiday when it is less busy or expensive are also likely to be trying to book their leave at the same time as everyone else, especially as few people plan to leave the UK this summer.
Your customers and suppliers will be facing the same challenges, making communication, pace and availability of people all the more difficult.
My warning to business leaders is to prepare for a challenging summer.
So what do you do to a) ensure your employees get the break they deserve whilst b) maintaining service delivery standards that have probably only just started to get back to pre-Covid levels?
- Get on top of your business contingency plans. Make sure you don’t have any single points of failure in your business. Where it makes sense to do so, cross-train teams and individuals in similar roles, well in advance of the holiday period, so you know that business can continue and your customers will be serviced at the expected levels even during summertime
- If you are considering reopening your workplaces this summer and are implementing a hybrid working model, now is the time to order and set up any additional equipment or technology required – you need to ensure your employees can transition between home working and the office with ease
- Prepare for attrition or the juggle will only be worse and much harder to manage, meaning more pressure is put on remaining employees. Start building and nurturing those talent pools to make the hiring process as quick as it can be. This is especially important if you have niche skillsets which are tricky to find, let alone at pace and when your competitors are also looking for them
- Dedicate time to workforce planning. Be on the lookout for the early signs of the need to bring additional employees on board, as the workload continues to rise. Don’t leave it too late or you’ll only end up with an exhausted workforce, an increase in sickness absence, poor performance or attrition
- Communicate with your leaders and employees. Be honest about the challenges ahead and ask everyone to request leave as far in advance as possible. It is fairly common to approve leave based on a first come first served basis, but if you have multiple team members off at the same time due to the summer crunch, ensure your remaining team members have space and time to keep business going whilst they’re away
- Don’t over-commit and under-deliver. Be honest with your clients/customers about the pressures and if you need to, pause any heavy internal projects scheduled for the summer season so that you can give them the time and attention they deserve when you’re back at full capacity
- Stay close to your suppliers and your customers – make sure they are also prepared for the summer and have the cover they need in order to operate effectively too
- Consider outsourcing to trusted partners who can help to take the pressure off your internal teams, even if only for the short term, so that your employees get the break they deserve AND your business continues at pace.