HR challenges facing SME businesses?

HR challenges facing SME businesses?

  • In a recent presentation I identified three main challenges facing SME employers as we come out of lockdown in the UK. 163,000 jobs were lost in May, while 449,000 were lost in April. Unemployment figures are the worst since the 1980's and there is little doubt we are heading for a recession.
  • Most businesses need to reduce costs and re-structure in anticipation of reduced demand. This is likely to result in redundancies, however there is a risk of damage to reputation and the cost and time of unfair dismissal claims if firms get the process wrong. Recently I have guided a number of smaller businesses through the process of making individual employees redundant and a larger firm where 35 jobs were lost which involved HR1 notification, electing employee representatives, group & individual consultation and developing a robust and defendable selection criteria, notifying employees made redundant and providing outplacement support - there were not appeals and no employment tribunal claims and a glowing testimonial from the owner.
  • Consider the impact of changes to the furlough scheme - from the 1st July Furloughs are no longer in 3 week blocks, offering a more flexible approach and part-time working possible; from 1st August employers must cover Employers NI and Pension Contributions, from 1st September the government will cover 70% of wages with employers required to contribute 10% while in October Government contribution reduces to 60% with employers contributing 20%. But in November the crack Cocaine ends.
  • anxiety in returning to work - we have seen some instances of employees refusing to return to work or raising concerns about health and safety. In most instances fears have been allayed through risk assessments and employee communication.
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