There is little doubt we are living in unprecedented times, as the world makes sense of the consequences of the Covid-19 health emergency. With this in mind, it is important to underline that we are following all Government advice and taking every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our customers and own people are protected.
Understandably, many businesses are reviewing their hiring plans in the immediate term, although we have seen a hiring surge for interim professionals in the last few weeks to support staff shortages and increased crisis management workflow.
Those organisations handling food and essential supplies are busy trying to keep up with increased consumer demand. In these instances, businesses are looking to employ shorter-term staff to focus on cost management and stock and inventory control, as well as supply chain finance within larger businesses. More than ever, companies are needing to keep a close eye on their cash and liquidity. Treasury and risk teams will play a crucial role over these coming months as financial and operational risk management is at the forefront of discussions.
In the public sector particularly, our customers have been focused on short-term interim solutions in back-office functions (finance, HR, and project delivery) to support their business-critical functions.
Regular communication has been key in us assisting our customers during this time. We continue to provide guidance and support on how to engage in ongoing recruitment processes and facilitate remote processes.
Dominic Tivey, Manager
Michael Page Finance – Government and Transport
Identifying crucial finance skills for crisis management
In these trying times, specialist functions such as treasury, tax and internal audit become even more important, especially for those businesses with large-scale, complex or international operations. The delay in the implementation of the IR35 reform to the private sector provides the perfect opportunity for businesses to utilise highly qualified and competent contractors to fill a short-term gap throughout the next three to six months.
In treasury specifically, interim employment opportunities are rising as companies assess their liquidity and look at financing opportunities for the short to medium term. Accurate and visible cash flow forecasts are paramount to many businesses, which is seeing work become available to contractors to do some more comprehensive cash flow modelling for SMEs and larger businesses.
Assessing crisis management is very often a core part of internal audit roles, and in the current climate, has become even more crucial. To support businesses at this time, internal auditors are needing to look beyond the annual routine and focus on supporting business continuity, and providing updated insights into the opportunity and risks of the current landscape. Many businesses have been utilising the broad business knowledge and positioning of internal audit by manoeuvring the teams to become crisis response teams.
Adapting to working from home models
Across the globe, many organisations have needed to put in a lot of work to ensure the rapid move to home working has been possible and continues to be productive.
While productivity is key, among many businesses the biggest focus has been on ensuring the wellbeing of their people. To help support their teams in this transition there have been several changes. Many professionals will now be working at home with their families and juggling their daily tasks with their home life, at the same time. The reaction from businesses to this challenge has been in allowing more flexible work hours for their teams to support them in flexing their work and personal lives around the day.
In addition to this, many of our customers have said that daily group check-ins, as well as more team-based activities such as a photo of the day exercises, have been introduced to keep everyone connected and spirits high; highlighting that looking after one another and protecting individuals’ welfare is a top priority.
Implementing remote hiring processes
While not the way many businesses would typically choose to run their entire recruitment process, there are advantages to hiring remotely. Firstly, video interviews are much easier and faster to organise. You can also interview more people in a shorter period, which significantly reduces the time of the process. And finally, it is also likely you will get more from a candidate interviewing remotely as professionals are often more at ease answering your questions from their home.
Virtual interviewing and remote processes in recruitment are going to be key and will be important tools used to make hiring decisions. As it appears we will be operating remotely for a significant period, video interviewing needs to be made the new norm.
Laura Beasley, Manager
Michael Page Finance - Treasury
Many organisations are currently focusing purely on business-critical hires. As many professionals across the UK settle into a remote working pattern and start getting to grips with the myriad of technological options available, we continue to support robust and thorough recruitment processes for our customers.
The key advice we are giving to our customers in this new world of work is to be as sensitive as possible to the emotional challenges associated with an entirely remote recruitment process. Accepting a role without having seen your potential new place of work is something very few people have ever considered.
Daniel Perriton, Associate Director
Michael Page Finance – Treasury
Providing support through uncertainty
We are working closely with companies looking to execute restructures or are in consultation periods to understand how we can give reassurance and support in this way as well. At Page, we utilise digital tools and platforms to ensure that we can continue to execute all recruitment. In addition to this, we also provide support to professionals facing uncertainty in the forms of CV workshops, tailored career advice, and interview preparation.
If you would like to discuss how we can support you throughout this time, please feel free to get in touch with your local Michael Page Finance team.
We can provide immediate relief to stretched businesses and line managers with immediately available, screened and referenced finance professionals. As a business, we continue to work closely with our customers throughout this time to support whenever and however we can.