One of the many challenges for businesses post lockdown is about being lean but not mean.
What am I trying to say?
I am talking about balancing cashflow and the affordability to resource with customer and employee satisfaction.
Many business owners have had staff on furlough and are trying to get the timing right in bringing those staff back to work, whilst others are debating how much temporary resource they might need and when.
So how does this impact on both Customer Satisfaction and Employee well-being?
Two examples I have seen this week
Customer satisfaction: I am currently going through a house purchase. Our buyer changed solicitor mid-way through the process as the firm had furloughed so many people, he couldn’t get the service he needed.
Employee well-being: A client of ours was telling us about her husband who is being asked to carry the work of his department of three, working twelve-hour days to keep up. The firm can then maximise their use of the furlough scheme.
In both these examples firms are clearly trying their best to manage cash to preserve their future. However, the outcome is not good for the business with the first example meaning the solicitor lost the work. In the second the employee, already drained after everything we have all gone through in the last few months but sadly due to worries about job security is expected to accept increased workload.
What can you do to get it right?
Plan, plan, plan
Of course, no-one knows what the future holds right now and what the recovery will look like, but you still need to try. Doing so will help to estimate the optimum time at which you will need more resource. My advice; –
1.Make your best estimate on what income will look like
2.Assess the staffing capacity you need to service this well
3.Understand the trigger points in advance on when you need to bring additional resource in to service customers and ensure employee well-being
Consider Capacity requirements
• If you have used the furlough scheme, take advantage of its flexible nature. Remember you can bring people back on any working pattern now so assess what is right for you. Consider is it more efficient to bring people back for one day and get everything done for the week ahead or is a few hours per day more appropriate.
• If you use temporary or outsourced resource, then talk to them. Make the situation collaborative and talk about what you need, try to be flexible to ensure they can perhaps top up with work from other sources.
Once you’ve looked at what income you might get, and the resource required then look at your cashflow. What does that mean for you as a business, do you need additional funding to get you through the next few months.
The balancing act
It is very hard being a business owner right now.
We are all trying to manage cashflow as best we can in uncertain times. A little bit of planning will ensure you can look after your employees, your client and your bank balance.
Be lean but don’t be mean.