Coronavirus: supporting employers & employees

There is only one story of immediate importance to most HR professionals at present, and that, of course, is the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With this in mind, Howden recently published a suggested 3-step plan to help employers and employees through what will be some really challenging weeks and months ahead. 

The suggested plan focuses on protecting and supporting employees through any period of remote working or close-down, whilst also maintain worker morale so that organisations are in the best possible position to bounce-back to full productivity just as soon as the crisis has passed.  I, therefore, thought it might be useful to share our three key recommendations below:

1)  Communications & Engagement

Firstly, it’s vital that the flow of communications to and from line management remains as close to normal as is possible.  So Howden would encourage Human Resources departments to establish company edicts on regular remote audio and/or visual communications between line managers and their teams throughout any period of home working or close down.  This will avoid a loss of focus and engagement, and ensure that corporate messages are still effectively communicated to all.

 2)  Practical Support

Although Coronavirus will doubtless be dominating the health headlines, employees will continue to face the everyday challenges of life.  Other health conditions will still need a diagnosis and possibly treatment too – and the National Health Service will, of course, be stretched dealing with the current crisis.  So it really is important that employers emphasise the wellbeing support that is already on offer, such as remote access to a qualified GPs, private healthcare, or cash-plans.

 3)  Advice & Guidance

Finally, and certainly not least, the importance of “remote” guidance and support options should be reinforced.  Access to Employee Assistance Plans, Counselling Lines, and Debt Management Advice should all be highlighted – and usage encouraged – to help employees respond to any challenges during a period when their usual work support-structure may not be as evident.

We believe that these three simple steps should be included in every employer’s planning.

Looking beyond the more immediate crisis (which I appreciate is difficult to do currently), I have this week written a more detailed article for Employer News looking at the longer-term implications of the pandemic regarding subjects as diverse as changed behaviours, flexible and home working, and even the business planning implications of Brexit. 

Finally, below are two useful links with more detailed supporting information regarding  coronavirus which our followers might find of use:

CIPD:  Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for UK employers

Gov.UK:  Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses


(Published 18/03/20)

For more information on any of the topics covered, please contact your usual Howden Consultant, or visit our website for further details and contact options.

Steve Herbert

Steve is Head of Benefits Strategy, Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, and is an award-winning thought leader on Pensions, Employee Benefits, and Human Resources issues. He is occasionally accused of making Employee Benefits interesting.

Steve Herbert

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