Have you planned for the changes coming at the end of September?
Have your goal posts changed much this year?
We have all faced significant challenges with the rapidly changing business environment and we have all had to continually adapt to survive as individuals and organisations, whether we have seen an increase in or decrease in the demand for our services.
So how do you complete workforce planning when the future is so uncertain?
The Federal Government’s JobKeeper payment scheme has assisted many organisations with temporary subsidies over this period of uncertainty. However, by the end of September, the initial scheme finishes and Job Keeper 2.0 commences with tighter eligibility requirements for organisations and reduced payments for employees.
Many organisations will not be eligible for JobKeeper 2.0
These factors will force many employers to make difficult decisions regarding their workforce planning.
What is workforce planning?
Workforce planning put simply is: do you have the right people, in the right place, with the right capabilities, at the right time? This is difficult to achieve in uncertain times as organisations need to be ready to capitalise on any economic upswing and have the ability to mobilise a workforce quickly while also dealing with financial constraints
To gain a better understanding of operational needs, organisations should consider working through the following areas to have a better picture of their workforce;
- Clarify business strategy and workforce needs;
- Analyse current make-up of the workforce;
- Identify 2-3 future scenarios; and
- Determine gaps in existing skills, capabilities and competencies required to achieve strategic and operational goals for each of these scenarios.
On clarifying the points above, organisations can then proceed with strategies available to manage the immediate workforce and plan to meet future needs given their financial realities.
What can we do?
Some of the strategies available to you are outlined below:
- Change roles and responsibilities of the current workforce
- Change working hours / days
- Encourage employees to take leave
- Stand down some employees
- Introduce flexible working arrangements
- Introduce redundancies
What are the legal risks?
Most of the above actions require agreement from the employee and have other legislative compliance obligations. It is suggested you seek expert advice, prior to moving forward with any of these actions.
The area that continues to present the most risk is to introduce redundancies. Redundancies may provide immediate relief of costs, however organisations are required to pay statutory entitlements on terminations which include accrued annual leave, long service leave, notice period and redundancy payments. In addition to the monetary entitlements, the organisation must follow a consultative process as prescribed in the applicable modern award or agreement to avoid unfair dismissal claims.
The unwritten cost of redundancies is the loss of investment the organisation made in the training and development of the employee. When making a redundancy decision in this current climate, organisations should carefully consider if and when they do ramp up activities, the costs and time associated with rehiring and training a new employee quickly to continue to delivering a quality service or product to customers or clients.
Is your business equipped to review your workforce planning? Do you need help implementing strategies to ensure not only compliance but the best outcome for all involved?
The current circumstances are complicated and constantly changing. We recommend you seek expert advice to help you make these decisions.