Another year has rolled by and what a year it has been. 2020 will go down in history. School children will study it. International and domestic laws will continue to be changed. New precedents have been set. The economic and social fallout will be felt for a generation. Of course, Coronavirus has been dominating the global news, but Brexit has also been on the horizon.
2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year for Metis HR clients and the Metis HR Team. Not only have businesses been struggling financially, but also from an HR perspective. Furlough, self-isolation, and social distancing have all thrown up unprecedented issues for workplaces and HR manager.
The Metis HR 2020
As early as February this year we were taking calls from clients about what was happening to the economy and the options that they had as employers. Neither they nor us had any inkling of the apocalyptic impact that COVID 19 would have on the economy, businesses, and the British workforce.
For the Metis Team, this year has involved much learning, much work and providing much support for distressed and stressed clients.
We worked hard to provide fast communication in plain English. It’s felt at times like we have been stalking the Government waiting for them to issue their guidance that we could then translate into guidance for our clients.
The problem was that the Government guidance was not always timely and was not always very clear. Things changed very, very, quickly, almost hourly on some days. But the Metis Team remained agile and committed. We knew the stakes were high for businesses all round the country.
As hard as it was, we were really encouraged by the lovely feedback from clients about our proactive communication and lovely comments about the clarity. There was a sense of being in it together. All Metis HR wanted to do was help the business community through.
2020 had a lot of lows. Isolation, grief, loss and hardship.
Thinking about the work we’ve been doing it’ll be no surprise to most people that it’s involved a lot of redundancy support for clients. Sadly, we have supported clients to make around 75 people across the north west redundant since March 2020.
It would be easy to think of redundancy just as a process, a set of steps that the employer goes through. But for us it’s more than that. Everyone in the Metis Team has, at some point in their life, been made redundant. We know what it feels like, how devastating it can be on your family, self-esteem, and career. We use those experiences to bring some humanity into what are some of the most difficult decisions an employer ever has to make.
Dismissing someone from their job because they’ve been fighting, or stealing is relatively straightforward once proven. They did something wrong and largely could be said to have expected dismissal as an outcome if caught.
No one deserves redundancy, they haven’t done anything wrong and that’s what makes it so hard. Employers having to make decisions that put skilled people out of work, knowing the likely impact they are going to have on the families is very difficult, especially when those involved have worked together for a long time. It is even harder during a pandemic, with all the financial uncertainty that brings. We’ve worked hard to take some of this burden off the shoulders of our clients and like to think we have been a supportive, guiding hand.
Although it sometimes felt like all we were doing was advising on redundancy, the usual issues kept coming in. Performance issues, absenteeism, grievances and TUPE transfers were all on our agenda in 2020.
Sadly, two of our clients ceased trading.
Although we are deeply sorry for those two valued clients who had to fold their business, we are aware it could have been much worse on the whole.
The spirit of togetherness was very strong during the worst of the pandemic. As a business community, we came together. We supported each other, passed referrals, and listened to each other’s problems.
We are incredibly thankful that we have met many new clients because of recommendations from our business friends and colleagues.
As exhausting and saddening as 2020 has been, the Metis team have found a resilience we didn’t know we have. We have bonded more strongly with our clients and each other.
As with all new things, we have learned a lot about our sector and ourselves.
We want to wish you all a peaceful, quiet end to 2020 and fervently hope that 2021 will see us all finding a way out of the mire that we’ve been working through this year.