We all know that 2020 is going to be a year to remember and not always for the right reasons. UK small businesses have faced new and unprecedented challenges with the economic downturn, supply of goods and services, Brexit uncertainty and adapting to new ways of working.
Here at HR Circle, 2020 has been a huge learning curve for us and we’ve implemented some long-term changes to the way we do business.
1. Remote working – Our intention was always to have a team of HR colleagues working flexibly and remotely from their homes. 2020 has meant our systems have been stress-tested in a real live context. When lockdown was imposed practically overnight, we all had to leave the office and work from home. We use HubSpot, Breathe HR, FreeAgent, SharePoint and Trello, all of which work brilliantly and are accessible remotely. Now all our systems, data and documents are securely held and accessible to clients and colleagues from wherever they are based.
2. Client service model – Back in 2019, approximately half of our work was delivered face-to-face on client sites, and it was difficult to imagine how we could hold those conversations without being in the same physical location. Fast forward to the end of 2020, and we have fully adapted to a remote HR model. We have taken on new office space so we can hold multiple video and telephone calls without distracting our colleagues. We are adapting to Zoom as a medium for holding those difficult HR conversations. There are both benefits and drawbacks, but it will be the way we work for the foreseeable future so we need to get used to it. We are broadening our reach to a national audience, rather than only within the South East. We now have clients in Aberdeen and Somerset which would have been unbelievable this time last year.
3. Moving online – Previously our website functioned as a catalogue or shop window for prospective clients who had already met us in person, and wanted to verify our credentials. Now it has to work much harder by bringing in new enquiries, a new payment portal for subscriptions and a self-service HR Toolbox for clients to download the templates they need. We have overhauled our old processes and pivoted our business approach, prompted by the 2020 lockdown which hastened our move into the world of digital delivery.
Reflecting on an unusual year, we are part of a community of small businesses who have had to adapt and will continue to do so. Bring on 2021 and the next round of challenges!