Managing people and costs in the “new normal”

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new and unprecedented challenges for employers across all sectors. Whether your business has been obliged to “shut-down” or not, you may be facing some difficult decisions as you navigate the “New Normal”.

Download as PDF

Managing Costs

What you need to know…

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

  • A new hierarchy of needs is emerging in a post Covid 19 world. People will value safety and flexibility much more highly than in the past.
  • Organisations globally and across most sectors are accepting that where you work and when you work barely matters – “in a company building Monday to Friday 9-5” may cease to be the norm or a requirement for billions of workers.
  • Job security remains high in the hierarchy of needs for employees – business leaders predict that in order to survive and flourish, mind sets need to change from a focus on job security to people security – jobs will go, but by retraining, upskilling and reskilling to evolve business models and innovative job design people can be retained.

Keep things as simple as possible

  • Inevitably some hard decisions may have to be made at certain times in certain sectors.
  • Changes to pay and conditions and job losses will face many sectors.
  • It is said that you can’t cut your way to growth, but you can cut your way to survival.
  • If you have to cut to survive, it is vital to look at all your costs

What do you need to do...

Review the balance of:

  • Permanent/temporary
  • Full-time/part-time
  • Directly employed/agency staff, consultants and associates
  • Zero hours
  • Casual

Restructure and if necessary, reduce your workforce to become affordable and effective

Review the costs in all pay components

Consider variations to contracts of employment that enable your cost base to be sustainable. Gain agreement to new contracts but be prepared to dismiss and reengage if necessary – a nuclear option but in extremis a necessary one for business survival.

Look at and reduce the spend associated with hours, shifts, rotas, etc

Review and if possible, revise the costs of benefits 

Review, reduce, monitor, and manage travel: seat class, mileage rates, hotel stars, subsistence rates, taxis etc.