As restrictions relax, we discover the joys of the new normal and the picture is encouraging. Key indicators imply that whilst the worst is behind us, it may be some time until we achieve pre-lockdown levels of recruitment activity. Throughout June, we saw an increase in permanent placements on offer and many of our clients are taking on new staff as the economy begins to reopen.
Across the insurance and financial services sectors, clients are focusing hard on bringing their furloughed staff back to work or making redundancies where they cannot be avoided. We are working tirelessly with anyone who is being made redundant to match talented jobseekers with some of the great new opportunities currently out there – and there are wonderful jobs available coming to the market every day (just take a glance at our vacancies board [link to vacancies]).
Despite businesses taking reasonable measures to come out of lockdown safely, the shadow of a second virus spike looms larger with every report of regional flare-ups. Don’t panic! We have proved in the past three months that, as an industry, we can get through it -and now we know how, we are in a stronger position to weather a second storm.
So, how can insurance company clients gear up for a second spike? To help you make sure you are ready – drawing on the lessons learned from Lockdown 1.0 and insights from colleagues who are based in areas affected by secondary lockdowns.
Our colleague Miles, based near Leicester, has first-hand experience of a second lockdown. We asked him for advice that would be useful for clients facing this prospect. He has three words: Communication, Communication, Communication! As an example, Miles cites a local company whose communication was simple yet – by being regular and consistent – it was brilliantly effective at supporting employees’ wellbeing and maintaining productivity.
Miles urges that companies make good communication a priority to encourage team spirit and positive energy through regular chats and frequent contact. He also encourages clients to make sure that there is recourse for employees to have confidential, open and frank discussions if they are struggling.
As we try and fend off further viral spikes to avoid a second lockdown, it may take some time to return completely to pre-Covid19 business life. In terms of recruitment, we fully expect candidate engagement and interviewing, as well as onboarding, to be handled remotely for a while longer
Should we need to go back into lockdown, you will need to be address issues including:
- Monitoring performance
- Mental Health
Among the lessons learned from Lockdown 1.0 – which will be invaluable if we go into a second lockdown – are:
- Ensure you are keeping your employees and your teams engaged.
- Help keep your remote staff motivated and productive.
- Build a KPI register of work performed from home.
- Maintain a razor-sharp focus on goals, especially as it is much harder to keep remote workers working at the same level and pace.
- Monitor your employees’ mental health and ensure support is there if required.
- Encourage spontaneous meetings for collaborative sharing of ideas and energy.
- Nurture a strong level of connectedness between team members.
Our sector will need to be prepared for flexible working and working from home arrangements, as well as increased use of video interviews, for the foreseeable future. Social distancing rules will dictate that travel will certainly be more limited and if someone feels unwell, they will be asked to remain home.
To some extent, how quickly the working environment reverts to the pre-lockdown landscape, will be client-led. If clients return to the office, the industry will follow. If they switch to video meetings then we can too!
As long as we pull together as an industry and are mutually supportive, we will adapt, draw on our ingenuity and resilience, to emerge stronger from this – and any subsequent lockdowns!