Redundancies – Planning ahead

Changes are coming

As a result of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ending on 30 September, employers will soon need to contribute to the wages of their furloughed staff.  With that in mind, businesses are strongly encouraged to think carefully now about their future, as redundancies are predicted to occur over the next few months. 

The CJRS was introduced as a way to protect jobs and ease the impact of Covid-19 on UK businesses, as a result of which 11.6 million jobs have been supported. However, under the scheme, employers were asked to contribute 10 per cent of an employee’s salary from 1 July, which then increased to 20 per cent in August.

With many companies now facing financial restrictions due to the repercussions of Covid, it is inevitable that workforce requirements will be reviewed to determine if current levels of staffing are viable. Employers who are concerned about the changes to the CJRS scheme may want to think carefully about whether to begin redundancy consultations so that they are in a position to make redundancies before the government funding reduces further. 


If redundancies are inevitable, as a first step, employers can ask if any employees would like to take voluntary redundancy, which may be an attractive option for some and will help keep compulsory redundancies down. 

Legal requirements for redundancy depend on the number of staff affected but regardless, a fair process must be followed. 20 or more employees being made redundant will require collective consultation, meaning consultation with staff through liaison with trade union representatives or elected colleagues. If only a small number of employees are affected, individual consultation should instead take place with employees whose jobs are at risk. The employer should listen to any suggestions that employees have for avoiding redundancies, for example by moving them into a suitable alternative vacancy within the organisation. At the end of the consultation period, employers need to confirm who is being made redundant and whether an alternative to redundancy for certain roles has been found.

Employees who are selected for redundancy are entitled to be given their contractual notice or a payment in lieu, in addition to statutory redundancy pay (if their tenure is over 2 years), which is based on an employee’s age and length of employment.

For more information or advice please get in touch

The UK government website can also provide you with some of the information you may need, click here.

The benefits and incentives that REALLY matter to your employees (it’s not what you think!)

Why should anyone come and work for your organisation? Sure, you pay them (and your salary is generous) and you give them statutory holiday pay (too right!), but what’s the real truth behind why someone should come and work for you?

SMEs will also be competing with larger organisations with bigger pockets, fancier offices and quite often more perks, so it’s important to really think about how you’re going to attract the right talent to your organisation. 

Here are some benefits and incentives that REALLY matter to today’s savvy candidates: 

Let them know they can make a difference

One of the benefits of working for an SME is the ability to wear different ‘hats’ and make a genuine difference to the growth of the organisation. Make it known that they can really contribute and learn lots of new skills – by choosing to work for you. 

Flexible working

Being a flexible employer is a MUST if you want to attract the right talent. This might include flexibility in the hours they work and where they work to suit their work/life balance. Consider ways that you ensure you take care of your staff and genuinely care about their life outside of work. Remember that those who strike the right work/life balance will be more productive and successful employees. 


With mental health issues cropping up more evidently in the workplace, it’s more important than ever to care for your employees’ wellbeing. Consider what initiatives you are offering employees. Ideas might include: 

Performance reviews

Employee satisfaction involves more than just financial compensation. Employees want to be fulfilled in their career, find their purpose and feel that they’re contributing to a meaningful cause. As such, your performance reviews need to be regular and something your employees look forward to. 

Training and development

Top employees crave being challenged and the ability to learn new skills.  Consider what training you can offer all your employees. Remember that this doesn’t always need to come from an external training company.  You could introduce knowledge-sharing amongst team members to build a sense a camaraderie and confidence-building. 

There’s a huge skills shortage right now and the market is driven by the candidates. In other words, they’re the ones that are holding all the cards. They get to pick and choose who they work for – the big question is … will it be you? 

Contact us to find out how you can implement any of the incentives mentioned above. We’ve got lots of ideas to help you attract the right talent. 

Is NOW the right time for SMEs to recruit?

To hire or not to hire? That is the BIG question for many SMEs right now. As we enter the final quarter of the year and businesses return to their “new normal” you might be wondering whether now is the right time to recruit new team members, and if so, what’s the best way to go about it. 

Here are some of the trends* we’re seeing across the UK:  

  • Three-fifths (60.8%) of organisations taking part in a survey* expect to recruit more permanent employees in 2021 than they did in 2020
  • The biggest challenge when recruiting is skills shortage. Notably for engineering roles (at 34.3%), IT specialists (29.9%) and manual roles (17.9%)
  • The majority of organisations in the survey (95.2%) are currently taking specific actions to boost diversity and inclusion in candidate-attraction and selection processes, or plan to do so in the next 12 months

Time to hire

It’s important to plan ahead if you’re thinking about recruiting a new team member. The recruitment process is likely to take an average of 8 weeks for a Director, 6 weeks for a Manager and four weeks for general office staff. Then you must factor in working their notice period – which for very senior people can be up to 6 months. 

Recruitment should be part of your overall business strategy and based upon your SME reaching milestones such as revenue, number of new clients and launching new services. As such, it should be something you plan at the start of your financial year. 

Other changes to the recruitment industry post-pandemic 

Covid has changed the way in which businesses recruit staff, and many of these practices are set to remain. These include video interviewing, online onboarding, and the introduction of HR software to manage recruitment processes such as induction. 

Adapting your recruitment process to include some of these can save time and reduce costs, but they need to be carried out effectively.  

Ask about our training to help you conduct your interviews and onboarding online so you feel more confident and comfortable with this process. 

Our recruitment recommendations: 

  • Be prepared to widen your search to attract people with the right skills. For example,  if you’ve changed your working practices due to the pandemic (such as homeworking), you’ll have access to a wider pool of talent that isn’t limited to your geographic location. 
  • Consider how you are attracting the right talent to your organisation, through incentives, promoting your company culture and becoming the employer of choice. 
  • Use mix of candidate-attraction channels to reach a broad and diverse audience.
  • Plan ahead with recruitment – you never know how long it’s going to take you to find the right people. 

We partner with NMS recruitment to source the right talent for many of our clients. If you would like us to help you create a great job description and help your organisation to become an ‘employer of choice’ – please contact us.

* Source ExpertHR June/July 2021

Useable responses were received from 134 organisations with a combined workforce of 249,613 employees.

By economic sector:

•                89 (66.4%) are in private-sector services;

•                27 (20.1%) are in manufacturing and production; and

•                18 (13.4%) are in the public sector.

Broken down by workforce size, the organisations for which respondents work comprise:

•                67 (50%) with between one and 249 employees;

•                42 (31.3%) employing between 250 and 999; and

•                25 (18.7%) with 1,000 or more employees.