I spent time with a client today who is being severely affected by staff shortages caused by test and trace notifications, and he firmly believes that the problem will ‘only grow’ as lockdown rules ease.
Reading the news today it seems a number of high-profile employers and unions have warned that businesses could be forced to close because of staff shortages caused by people being told to self-isolate by the NHS Covid-19 app. As the last of the coronavirus restrictions in England ease today, these companies have said the country faces a “pingdemic” unless the government relaxes self-isolation rules for vaccinated individuals. Currently, the government is not due to relax self-isolation restrictions until 16 August. However, the number of people being told to self-isolate is already causing problems for some employers. During the first week of July, there were more than 500,000 alerts issued on the NHS Covid app in England and Wales asking people to stay home because they had come into contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus.
The problem with staff being ‘pinged’ is affecting all sectors, some report show that factories are on the verge of shutting and that at some sites, hundreds of staff are off work. In addition, some sectors such as manufacturing, health, hospitality, retail and public transport businesses are now living in fear of being pinged by the app as it would mean they would have to isolate and be unable to work. This in a time when businesses are doing their best to recover from a treacherous 18 months already!
What can we do to avoid a ‘pingdemic’ – be flexible by freeing up staff from less business-critical areas and using temporary workers where possible, maybe implement Covid-secure workplace policies, including the use of screens or barriers and mask wearing, despite the relaxation of official guidance. Or should we encourage people to work from home where possible, to reduce the number of contacts their staff have in the workplace or when travelling to work, or for roles where employees need to be in the workplace, organisations should continue using measures to reduce staff contact, such as staggered start and finish times. All these are the types of strategies that we’ll be looking into at Heyllo! to keep us up and running and supporting our clients and candidates.
Share your thoughts and stories with us at ADD.
In the news this week it was reported that the proportion of school leavers who got a job last year slumped to the lowest level for a decade amid the uncertainty caused by Covid. The latest official figures show that 47,454 pupils left school last summer, and that nine months after they left 66.5% were in Higher or Further Education, the highest since records began in 2009. However, in contrast the number in employment was down from 28% to 21.3%, the lowest figure since records began. Also more worryingly, the percentage of school leavers who were unemployed increased from 5.8% in 2018/19 to 6.8% for last year's leavers.
Over the past decade there has been a significant rise in the number of pupils staying at school beyond 16. Is this a good thing in itself? Or is the education system simply having to adapt to the fact that in the modern world there are fewer good jobs for young people, and that unskilled jobs are disappearing? It is an interesting philosophical question to contemplate - one quite distinct from the question of ensuring all young people can achieve their potential in education, regardless of wealth or family background. The suspicion of some has always been that the education system has had to soak up youngsters who might otherwise have been unemployed - either because of economic problems or the gradual disappearance of some unskilled jobs. Backed by the fact that the number of so-called NEETs ( youngsters who are ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training) is at a very low level by historic standards. So we return to the question: is a school system where it is unusual for a youngster to leave early and a college system which has to find places for those who would otherwise be unemployed achieving something positive in itself? Or is it merely parking the youth unemployment problem?
Few people would argue that educational opportunities should not be as widely available as possible. But the issue touches on an intriguing question. Once, it was possible to leave school with grades and get a job with prospects. Not so long ago, many good jobs were available to youngsters. Today, other than apprenticeships, most good jobs for young people require a college or university qualification first. So is the education system having to deal with the practical effect of economic change? De-industrialisation and automation mean many of the unskilled, entry level jobs once filled by school-leavers no longer exist. Or what changes are required to help to provide the workforce the economy needs?
The argument is that England, like every advanced country, needs as skilled a workforce as possible to compete internationally and fulfil its potential. A skilled workforce does not just mean turning out scientists and surgeons - it means hairdressers and staff for the hospitality industry too. Once, fewer people in those industries would have received any formal college training and might simply have learned on the job or served a traditional apprenticeship. But the argument is that a proper course and training raises standards and allows the best to shine. Anecdotally, of course, many of the genuinely unskilled jobs which those with few qualifications may once have done (say stacking shelves in the supermarket) are now done by students or those with college or university qualifications who find themselves "underemployed" . Indeed, while the number of young people at university is close to a historic high, a significant proportion of graduates do not secure what would be seen as graduate-level jobs even if few would do unskilled work for long. None of this is to suggest a good education is not of value in itself, even if it does not lead to someone getting a better job than they may have got otherwise. But perhaps it is interesting to reflect on how in the space of barely 40 years since the 1970s, the time someone routinely spends in education has increased. Once, a basic education ended at 15; and now really low numbers are leaving the educational system to take up jobs and apprenticeships.
Our team at Heyllo! are championing a campaign to help all young people ‘Feel Awesome’ and a core part of this campaign is to ensure all young people have the opportunity and chance to get high quality jobs and apprenticeships. If you want to join the campaign, you can pledge your support by signing up using this link https://www.heyllo.co.uk/pledge.html
#heyllo #feelawesome #pledge
Everyone at Heyllo congratulates Hartlepool United FC and their fans for getting back into the Football League. We were glued to the TV as Pools put us through the mill, but even though we’ve got no fingernails left we are delighted to see Dave Challinor’s boys winning promotion after a win on penalties against Torquay.
We know the town will be buzzing for the next few days, but when the dust settles and the hangovers ease we know that promotion will give the town a huge economic boost.
Our Managing Director Nicola Burrows said: “As a Hartlepool business that deals with scores of other businesses across the town, we know how much this promotion means to a lot of people.
“Last week when we were speaking to our partners about recruitment and training opportunities, the first thing they talked about was Pools. It seemed as though everyone in the town was planning on a trip to Bristol!
“From an economic point of view, this football result cannot be underestimated. The exposure the town will get from being back in the Football League is huge, and hopefully if restrictions are lifted in time for the new season we will see fans allowed back into The Vic, not only from Hartlepool but from the visiting teams too.
“That has a knock on effect for the bars and restaurants, the hotels, there are so many businesses that will benefit from this. We know it has been tough over the last 15 months with lockdowns and restrictions, but we’re on the right track to getting back to normal and the fact Pools are back in the Football League give the whole of our local economy a shot in the arm.
“It is fantastic achievement from everyone connected with Hartlepool United to finally regain their place back where they belong, and while we’ll enjoy the rest of the evening by raising a few more glasses to the team, we’ll be back in the office in the morning ready to help businesses in and around Hartlepool with their training and recruitment needs.
“Let’s hope this promotion can help to bring the feelgood factor back to the town and all of the businesses in it.”
For more information about Heyllo, give our team a call on 01429 363160
The Prime Minister has announced the delay in the final step of the Government’s coronavirus lockdown-easing roadmap by four weeks. The effect on our clients businesses could be significant, with some referring to a cliff edge of costs.
It is clearly a huge blow for many businesses, particularly those in the retail and hospitality sectors. With government support for business ending or beginning to taper off, you can definitely see why it’s being referred to as a cliff edge! It is now vital that this government support is pushed out commensurately with the lockdown extension. Such things as the need for businesses to start contributing 10% towards furlough costs from 1 July, all the return to work planning and business rates relief tapering off…..all need to be considered amongst the announcement!
Although the announcement is not a surprise – it will still be disappointing for our clients in certain sectors, particularly for example, those in hospitality. We’ll be supporting our clients to use this extra time to continue supporting their staff and offering them flexible training opportunities. It is important that the sectors like hospitality can retain the talent required to meet the new timescales, considering all the efforts that have gone into recruitment strategies to date. Together, with our clients, we will help engage with all affected individuals to help them use the next 4 weeks wait positively
If we can help you retain your staff across the next 4 weeks get in touch.
In the news today was an article quoting a research finding that suggested a third of workers would leave their job if employers do not continue to provide for flexible working beyond the pandemic.
It seems it is becoming more and more apparent that employee sentiment is perfectly clear and employers could be taking risks by not adopting flexible working approaches. So is flexible working the way forward?
It’s seems hard for us as employers to adopt either a blanket ‘back to the office’ or ‘only work at home’ stance based on these findings. We risk our employees feeling dissatisfied about the company, and in today’s competitive job market, the cost of this decision in recruitment and retention terms far outweighs the cost of a new flexible approach. It is therefore, really important that we carefully consider how to provide more flexible solutions as pandemic restrictions ease, and use this as an opportunity to change outdated ways of working. In real terms more flexible working in all its forms can help to attract and retain people with the right skills for the job and can lead to more diverse and inclusive workplaces, and it can also be good for wellbeing and productivity.
It all sounds too good to be true, right? If you look at alternative research to provide a balanced perspective then you’ll also find information on working from home leading to an “ergonomic timebomb”, due to decreased levels of physical activity. Or that while productivity has improved among those working remotely, employees have been working three hours longer on average per week, leading to concerns of burnout. Therefore, flexible working is not a simple equation to solve, and emphasises that employers must review their whole approach to health and wellbeing as more chose to employ hybrid working policies.
It is clear that wellbeing and productivity are two sides of the same coin, and in the same way organisations plan for market changes, if the last 12 months has taught us anything it is that the health of our people is the most valuable asset to help businesses recover and grow. Therefore, flexible approaches to achieving this should be a critical element of any employer’s plans as we re-emerge following a challenging year. What works for one employer, won’t work for another – but if ever a time to try and test new approaches has existed, then this is it!
#flexibleworkinghours #flexitime #wellbeing #productivity #growth #policies