People are our priority

People are our priority

In this ever-changing situation let’s remember, when we hear “staff cuts” and “reducing employee headcount” we are talking about people; people who may have other people to care for, families to feed and mortgages to pay. People who will be feeling emotional and anxious, and who need support.

In the past week of the rapidly evolving Covid-19 pandemic response, the dreaded ‘R’ words have been rearing their ugly heads: reorganisation, restructuring, redundancy, and recession. Air New Zealand announced publicly they could be reducing staff by as much as 30%. While many other organisations expect losses, some are already asking people to use up annual leave, reduce work hours, work from home, stop travelling and so on. As we all work together to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, the inevitable economic impact is of concern to all of us.

We must continue to look after our people.

Before decisions are made to reduce staff numbers, have all other options been considered? How can government subsidies be utilised to keep businesses running? Can a core of essential staff be retained? Could others be offered extended leave (paid or unpaid) until this situation passes? These are some of the questions we are all considering.

If the only option remaining is redundancy, there are legally required processes to be followed, and the current situation is no different. A proper consultation process can result in creative ideas and suggestions that hadn’t previously been thought of. Employers must also act in good faith, ensuring people are offered support as outlined in their employment agreement, company policy and/or the change proposal.

What feels different this time is the level of support people are going to need.

At Vargo + Lewis we work with people whose positions have been made redundant. We coach people to recognise and articulate their transferable skills and core values, prepare their personal marketing tools (CVs and LinkedIn profiles) as well as job applications and interview skills. We’re currently being asked, “what if there are no jobs to apply for?”

That’s why it feels different. So we’re adding in a big dose of resilience and wellbeing and taking our coaching online (via Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams), to meet people where they are at. We bring a clear focus on strategies people can use to maximise opportunity for themselves.

What opportunities can you discover for yourself in this situation?

There are already cries of staff shortages in some industries, so sometimes a temporary pivot into a different area could be an option. This not only fills a financial need but can also fill a gap or add new skills and competencies to a CV.

Yes, these are tough times, but this will pass and the economy will rebound as it has done before. Let’s be mindful of our people. Those who experience temporary job loss may be asked to return. It only seems like yesterday we were experiencing talent shortages! The people we work with will be supported to reflect, strategise and prepare to launch back into the job market when the time comes.

We are in this together. Please get in touch if you need any advice or would like to provide your people with support during this current unsettling time.

Don’t miss the journey to your destination

Don’t miss the journey to your destination

Over the summer break, I took the chance to walk some of the Queen Charlotte track, in the Marlborough Sounds. It as a beautiful spot to get some exercise to balance the summer festivities and a great opportunity for some time alone (knowing my kids would not want to join!).

I headed off from Resolution Bay heading to Furneaux Lodge with my head down, headphones in and keen to see how much faster I could get to the end compared to the 3.5 hours estimated on the sign where I joined the track.

Half an hour in I realised I wasn’t even taking in the beauty around me. I was so focussed on the end, I was missing the journey to get me there. A common problem for many of us in our busy lives. We set ourselves goals, we focus on where we want to be and we can be blind to what opportunities might be passing us by.

So this day I stopped, I removed my headphones and started looking around. The peace and quiet was amazing, only broken by birdsong and the odd waterfall. The views were outstanding. By slowing down I let the journey be part of the experience. I knew the cold cider would still be at the end, but I wouldn’t look back and regret having rushed through and missed so much along the way.

While the year is still ramping up, what goals are you setting yourself, what are your priorities? Set them for the year, the quarter, the month, the week or the day, but keep open to what comes along.

My tips for goal setting:

  • Challenge yourself and set various goals, big and small, individual, team and company.
  • Consider obstacles and plan for where you may need to involve others.
  • Share your goals with someone who can keep you accountable.
  • Regularly check in: are the goals still valid, do they need to be moved to stay applicable or challenging.
  • Keep your head up and your ears and eyes open.
  • Keep an open mind and think of the infinite game (Simon Sinek has a great book on this).
  • Celebrate the small successes, give thanks to those who help and support you.
  • Look at where you can help others in their goals also, don’t work in isolation at the detriment of others. We’re social animals who thrive on connection, you can not go it alone.
  • Be kind, non-judgemental, vulnerable and resilient in your journey.

If you would like to talk about goal setting, share your goals or have someone to keep you accountable, please do get in touch. All the best in achieving all you set your mind on in 2020.

Resolution Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound.
Imagine if I’d missed this…Resolution Bay, Queen Charlotte Sound.