Here are some quick tips on how to survive the impending slowdown and the employee underutilisation that is no doubt on the way over the next 12 months.
As a business you will need to be preparing for 4 different situations that can cause underutilisation:
1. Sick Workers – heard up to 60% of the workforce may be affected by COVID-19 but reports vary. What is the company plan if 50% of the workforce call in sick next week?
2. Workers Isolated but not sick – self-imposed or not, how can they still generate revenue? They can still work, just has to be remotely. How can you embrace this to help the company survive?
3. Work site quarantined – how to make revenue when you can’t be physically there. This may require a pivot on what work you can complete to generate revenue while you wait. This will require an open mind.
4. Contracts get delayed or cancelled – what’s the back-up plan for your business and staff?
But first, make sure you get into the right headspace. Don’t accept that this is the way it is, and you have no control. That’s Bull$&*t. Be proactive and give a damn about your business, your staff and your network. I’m still surprised at how many business owners I hear say things like, ‘well if the project gets cancelled, we will just have to let go of the project team.’ Not only is that short-sighted on your behalf but imagine what the rest of your employees are saying about loyalty when you are not listening. Particularly when there are simple things that you can be doing to help weather the storm.
Here are 3 quick tips that could help smooth out the impact of these 4 situations.
‘Make hay while the sun shines’
Now is the time to speed up the completion of your current projects. Get as much done now as you can before the work sites and workforces are affected. Have every worker focused on revenue generating work right now and leave all admin, training, paperwork and any other task that doesn’t help bring in revenue for when it suits the business strategy. These tasks can be applied to workers who are isolated but not sick and can’t complete remote revenue generating work. Bring in additional support from your networks to complete essential tasks right now. This will help bring in much needed revenue that will give you cash flow in the future when projects and contracts are being delayed.
Plan for the loss of key staff
In the tech world, they talk about a ‘minimum viable product’ or MVP which is the very basic functionality that you need for your platform to make the business model work. Using an MVP approach allows start-ups to generate revenue with the least amount of outlay or staff in the early days. But, this can also apply to established businesses.
You need to be looking now at what is your business’s MVP. What is the bare minimum in terms of workers and skill sets that you need to keep going. Now that you have those identified, what is your plan for when those workers are ill? Recruiting is an option but you may not need them full time once your staff are back. Business Talent Sharing is also an option if you have a strong business network and have effective means in communicating contract requirements and worker availability. Have a talk with companies you regularly work with and see what their MVP is – perhaps there are some synergies there that can create a win-win.
New revenue streams
In times like this, business owners need to get scrappy. How do you turn an isolated, underutilised worker into a revenue generating capability? The benefits should be obvious: increased revenue, increased productivity, employee wellbeing and employee engagement improvements. For those that employ consultants, this part is easy – find a contract that can be completed remotely and give the employee the assignment.
What about if your staff require a workshop or warehouse or event space to do what they were employed for? You need to find out what else they are good at. What are their additional skills that you may not have hired them for. Your project manager might also be a qualified developer. Your floor manager might also be a training supervisor that could write up a new training manual while in isolation. Talk to your people – Let them know they are important – Find out what they can do and come up with a plan together with them. They will feel engaged and part of the solution and you will come out the other side stronger for it.
For more information about plans to manage the peaks and troughs in industry, please contact us at [email protected] or 1300 0 BENCH (23624)
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Well thought through article. Especially the flavour of keeping one eye on the long term. We all got through the GFC, we will get through this. Opportunity will be there for those that keep a level head and are brave.
Thank you Todd! Keep a level head and be brave! Love it.
Well done , great advice to stay focused and vitial in the face of adversity!