How to effectively manage staff redundancies
Due to the current economic climate, businesses may be presented with some difficult decisions to make regarding their workforce, including redundancy.Managing and making staff redundancies across a business is often an unpleasant but necessary task that many employers may have to consider when reducing their headcount. When faced with the prospect of making redundancies, it’s important for employers to manage the process effectively and efficiently to minimise the impact on both the affected employees and the entire business.Here are some steps employers can take to manage staff redundancies:Create a redundancy planHaving a redundancy plan in place will help employers effectively manage every stage of the process, from consultation and planning to notification and evaluation. It’s important to make sure the initial plan includes checks to see if there is a genuine redundancy situation, what the timescales are, and how consultation will take place.For each stage of the plan, a record needs to be kept, ensuring the entire process is accountable to be delivered efficiently and legally. Redundancy plans should include: An explanation as to why redundancies are being made A timetable outlining next stepsThe meeting process for all affected employeesThe meeting process for all unaffected employeesAn outline of the redundancy criteria and selection processHow the announcements will be madeIf redundancies are in fact unavoidable, the latter stages of the plan should also include selection, notices and payments.Be lawful, fair and transparentRedundancy can be seen as a fair reason for dismissal, but should only be used in certain circumstances where the employee’s role no longer exists and/or is no longer required within the business.As such, when considering employees for redundancy, employers should use a selection criteria that is fair and objective, which might include an employee’s:SkillsExperiencePerformanceLength of serviceEmployers must comply with employment laws and regulations when managing redundancies. Following the correct legal procedure is imperative, as failure to do so can lead to wrongful dismissal claims. Employers should consult with employees and/or their representatives when making decisions that affect their jobs.Offer clear communicationAs with most situations that concern employees, communication is key when it comes to managing redundancies. Be open and honest with employees about the situation – it always helps to explain the reasons for the redundancy and provide as much information as possible about the process.This information can be hard to hear, so employers are encouraged to act sensitively to the emotions of those affected and provide support where necessary. For that reason, the process needs to be transparent, and employees should know what to expect throughout.Alongside the employee, it’s important to remember that redundancies can impact the business in more ways than one – and stakeholders with an interest in the organisation should also receive clear communication. Anyone from customers to suppliers and investors have the right to be informed about any changes, but the focus should be on reassuring them about the future of the business.Remember, communication is there to help to manage any negative impact on the organisation’s reputation or relationships.Provide employee support and guidanceRedundancy can be a traumatic experience for any employee. Therefore, providing the necessary support and guidance to help affected workers cope with the news can go a long way, not only in terms of maintaining best practice but for business reputation.Employers can help employees through:Finding new employmentAccessing training and reskilling opportunitiesCV support and career coachingJob search advice and recommendationsAs redundancy is a last option, it’s worth considering whether there are any suitable alternative roles within the business that impacted employees could be offered.Anyone who has worked for their employer for at least two years at the time their job ends should be offered an alternative role if one is available, or at least be made aware of any opportunities across the business. This may involve individuals undertaking training or upskilling to take on different roles – but if the offer isn’t taken up, the employee will be deemed as dismissed through redundancy and be entitled to receive statutory redundancy pay.This payment is there to help employees during the transition period as they look for new employment, and should be calculated correctly and paid in a timely manner.Consider remaining employeesRedundancies can have a significant impact on remaining employees, who may feel demotivated, stressed, or uncertain about their own job security. As much as the focus may be on creating a supportive environment for those leaving the company, be mindful to keep your existing workforce updated and supported throughout the stressful period.While those workers may not have faced dismissal, they may have been affected by witnessing the experience of their colleagues, which can negatively impact their morale. This can be harmful to the working environment, business operations and to employee performance.Continue to learn and adaptManaging redundancies can be a difficult process, but it can also provide an opportunity for an organisation to learn from the experience and improve upon its practices. Employers should conduct a post-redundancy review to evaluate the situation and identify any areas for improvement so, if it does need to happen again, the business is better prepared.During the redundancy talks, it may be worth taking any feedback on board from the affected employees. This can be used to make changes to any practice and policy currently in place, and, most importantly, improve the support and guidance provided. Proactive measures can help build resilience and better prepare managers for any future challenges.Employers should also look at their redundancy process as a whole, making sure line managers are able to confidently deal with these types of situation. According to research by employment law support firm WorkNest, 74% of employers aren’t providing any training to their line managers on how to handle redundancies – indicating the scale of potential emotional damage that could be routinely occurring though no fault of their own.Staff redundancies can be a challenge, but it’s imperative that the process runs as smoothly as possible. By taking the time to plan, execute and evaluate the task, employers can minimise the impact that redundancies can have on all involved.
Induction checklist for new staff (downloadable template)
Inductions are vital to ensuring new staff settle into an organisation and make a positive impact. Using a straightforward induction checklist can make onboarding simpler and more effective.A concise and well-structured induction checklist for new staff can heighten the entire induction process, helping any new member of the team to get up to speed quickly and efficiently.An induction checklist can remove some of the pressures that managers and HR professionals face when effectively onboarding new team members.Our downloadable induction checklist includes:First day tasksFirst week tasksFirst month tasksTasks after three monthsTasks after six monthsWhile checklists are helpful in ensuring best practice and a thorough employee experience, they shouldn’t turn the induction into a tick-box exercise. Our free induction checklist template is designed to simplify the onboarding process and support your new starters through their first six months.Whether you are looking for guidance to use across your own company, or interested in learning more about what you need to include, this comprehensive checklist is an indispensable tool to help you and your new employees.
Addressing the digital skills gap in accountancy and finance
The accountancy and finance sector has undergone a transformation in recent years as digital technology has become an essential part of most industries. Financial professionals are required to have a range of digital skills, from using software tools to analysing data and managing complex financial systems. However, many organisations are struggling to keep pace with the changes and are facing a subsequent digital skills gap as a result.Research from Fintech Futures found that more than half (57%) of accounting professionals predict that accountancy will become automated within the next few years, indicating an urgent need for businesses to keep up or risk being left behind. Addressing the digital skills gap now rather than leaving it until the last minute means organisations have time to ease staff into new processes, reducing anxiety among workers who may not enjoy the changing elements of their role. In this way they will gradually learn the skills they need to be successful in their roles.Here are some steps employers can take to help prepare their workforce for digital transformation:Identify the specific digital skills requiredThe first step in addressing the digital skills gap is to identify the specific skills required. This will vary depending on the organisation, the role, and the technologies being used. Important skills to consider are:Knowledge of specific software programsMany organisations use specialised software for tasks such as accounting, financial reporting, and tax preparation. It’s essential that financial professionals are proficient in these programs to be able to do their job effectively.Familiarity with cloud-based computingCloud-based computing has become increasingly popular in recent years, offering organisations a range of benefits, such as increased flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness to help grow their business offerings.Data analysis skillsAs data volumes continue to grow, you’ll need to identify professionals who can analyse and interpret large amounts of data to make informed decisions and provide compelling insights to clients and senior management.Cybersecurity skillsAs financial organisations become more reliant on technological advancements, cybersecurity risks will increase. You need professionals who can identify and mitigate potential threats sensitive financial data and ensure compliance with industry regulations.Provide training and educationOnce the specific digital skills have been identified, the next step is to provide training and education. This might involve formal training, online courses, or on-the-job training to help professionals across the organisation enhance their skills and make them well-rounded individuals who can add further value to the company.Formal training programmes can be delivered in-person or online and may cover topics such as software applications, data analysis, and cybersecurity. Online courses can be a cost-effective way to train large numbers of employees, while on-the-job training develops skills in a real-world setting. Encourage continuous learningTechnology is constantly evolving, and it's important for professionals to continue updating and refreshing their digital skills. Employers can encourage this by providing access to learning resources, encouraging participation in training, and creating a culture where learning is easily accessible.Online learning platforms, such as LinkedIn Learning and Coursera, offer a range of upskilling opportunities to improve, while industry conferences and events are also a great way of encouraging professional development among the workforce.Creating a culture of continuous learning can also help foster innovation and creativity in the workplace, as employees are encouraged to explore new technologies and ways of working – enhancing employee engagement along the way.Partner with technology providersTechnology providers can be valuable partners in addressing the digital skills gap. They can provide training and support for their software and systems, as well as insights into best practices and emerging technologies that can have significant impact on the sector. A software company, for example, might be able to offer training or webinars on how to use their product effectively, supply a free trial period for an extended period of time, or provide access to an online user community where professionals can share ideas. Foster a culture of innovationA culture of innovation can encourage professionals to embrace technology and develop their ever-evolving digital skills. Organisations can nurture this culture by encouraging experimentation, celebrating successes such as the development of new technology solutions or the implementation of a new process, and creating an environment that supports learning, development and growth.The digital skills gap is a significant challenge for the sector. Taking positive steps to identify the skills required not only nurtures employees to enhance their knowledge, but also allows the organisation can ensure a future of continued growth.To find your next accountancy role, or the best candidates on the market, find your local Reed office.
Five ways to attract and retain accountancy and finance professionals in 2023
Most organisations are struggling to attract new professionals, which is unsurprising considering unemployment is at its lowest rate for many years.This will become even more of a challenge in 2023 as professionals will think twice before leaving the security of their roles during economic instability. However, the cost-of-living crisis is leading people to seek out opportunities with higher earning potential. So, businesses that are looking to recruit – as well as retain their existing employees – need to consider their offering and ensure it is competitive enough to entice candidates to move.Here are five ways you can attract and retain top accountancy and finance talent this year:1. Be open-minded with requirementsBusinesses struggling to recruit in this market need to be open-minded – there are some excellent professionals who had their studies disrupted during the pandemic and who are now struggling to continue due to their high workloads. These candidates would be a sound investment. They have the skills and experience necessary to do the role, and by providing them with the flexibility to finish their qualifications, you will fill your vacancies with experienced, talented professionals, and be more likely to retain them.2. Upskill existing employeesThe skills shortage is making it difficult for employers to find professionals with the skills they need to grow their business. So, consider how you can invest in your existing employees. Offer them development and training opportunities and give them the support and time to complete relevant qualifications. Remember, it’s far less costly to invest in your existing workforce than to recruit and train new members of staff.3. Keep up to date with technologyCloud accounting and automation is driving real change for the sector. It is estimated that between 45-58% of businesses have already moved to cloud accounting and it’s expected to become a €10.3 billion industry by 2026. Some companies are also adopting automation which removes the need for accountants to complete time-consuming manual tasks. Professionals will want to work for organisations that are innovative, progressive, and enable them to really make an impact, so make sure you invest in tech.4. Streamline your recruitment processThere are more open vacancies than there are professionals seeking new employment opportunities, which means that the best candidates often get snapped up quickly. Gone are the days of three-stage interview processes, with multiple hoops for the potential employee to jump through before they finally receive an offer. Ensure that your interview stage is efficient, concise, and communicate regularly throughout the process to keep them engaged. They are most likely going to receive multiple offers, so the recruitment experience needs to be smooth and leave a positive impression on the potential employee.5. Assess your full salary and benefits offeringSalaries have become less of a priority for accountancy and finance professionals over the past few years, with hybrid/remote working becoming the key motivator for moving jobs. However, it is not likely to stay this way. The current recession and rising cost of living means professionals may be looking to increase their earnings, so businesses that are not paying at least the market rate may find themselves losing their existing talent and struggling to recruit.However, talent attraction and retention are not just about money. Think about what else you can offer in terms of training and development, generous pension contributions, extra holiday allowances, bonuses, and additional benefits that can support employees with the cost-of-living crisis.For more information on salaries and benefits in the accountancy and finance sector, download our free salary guide.
Inflation provides both challenges and opportunities for accountancy and finance practices in 2023
Practice professionals in demandThis year, accountancy and finance practices are looking to the future, with growing requirements for professionals capable of using accounting software such as Xero, and greater demand from clients looking for support with cloud-based solutions and provisions for MTD (Making Tax Digital). The rate at which digital transformation has grown for some has put strain on smaller businesses to compete for talent, with more opportunities for professionals in larger firms to improve their digital skills, which are highly desirable to employers at present.Developing grassroots talent with a strong interest in digital skills might be just as beneficial to employers as hiring those with existing skills or experience – because novices have the potential and motivation to develop to a high standard in a short time.Securing the best talentWhile the practice sector has been more robust than others in terms of recruitment, there are still fewer professionals in the market for a new role than there are vacancies. As such, there is hesitancy among accountants to leave a secure job without reassurance of a company’s stability and the role being right for them. Counteroffering has become standardised across the sector, as employers understand the value of their existing employees. That means bosses looking to hire will need to be more competitive than ever for talent.There has never been a better time for accountants to contemplate moving roles. Many professionals will have multiple options on the table and will be carefully considering each one before making their final decision. Remuneration is still a high priority for those in the practice sector, but in this economic climate, and post-pandemic world, the entire package is what really matters to prospective employees.Employers must be flexible throughout the recruitment process. Their requirements should not be too extensive and should account for those with potential – and avoid limiting themselves to having a set number of professionals on their shortlist before they start interviewing. When a professional becomes available, hiring managers must act fast to secure them. Providing support for graduates or those qualified by experience to develop their skills is one of the most attractive prospects for professionals, closely followed by hybrid or remote working options.The search no longer ends once an employer finds a great candidate – they must ensure their recruitment process is a streamlined and positive experience for professionals from beginning to end. The first steps to optimising the recruitment journey is to assess the company’s existing materials. Job descriptions, person specifications and applications should be as inclusive and accurate as possible, without too many restrictions. Using gendered language, for instance, can be a barrier to entry for more than half the population and will only limit the talent pool.Practice professionals’ prioritiesThe cost-of-living crisis has pushed salary expectations to their highest levels. For employers to know what they should be offering, a salary guide is a useful benchmarking tool. Offering a competitive salary and a well-rounded benefits package will ensure that businesses secure the right talent.While salary is a top priority among accountants and finance professionals, the best candidates will be attracted to more than that. Business leaders must provide the right benefits, working environment, and an inclusive company culture, to ensure employee satisfaction and retention is high.Jobseekers will expect all the standard perks, including discounts, pension, and a good annual leave package with the option to buy additional days.The most desirable and attractive offering for those in the sector is being able to work hybridly. Where this was once a perk, it is now considered standard. Since the pandemic necessitated working from home, professionals have been reluctant to return full-time to an office environment and will keep an eye out for a role with more flexibility to support their wellbeing. In this climate, firms can’t afford to limit their talent pool, and by offering flexible and remote options they will also attract those further afield encouraging a greater number of applicants and staying a step ahead of the competition.To benchmark the salaries and benefits of most value to professionals in 2023, download our salary guide 2023.
Digitalisation of business is transforming working patterns in Malta
The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way most of us live and interact with each other, while it also had a huge impact on consumption behaviour and patterns. However, the Maltese labour market continues to grow, as businesses bounce back, with the candidate market currently highly competitive as organisations battle to find the right talent.We witnessed significant growth in inflation across most world economies in 2022, resulting in increased prices of various goods and services. This has had a knock-on effect for businesses and their employees, which means the biggest challenge now is how to navigate the cost-of-living crisis.Throughout 2023, wage growth is projected to be relatively strong as employees start demanding additional compensation to maintain their current standard of living.The patterns emerging throughout MaltaAs working patterns continue to grow and adapt throughout most European nations, we’re seeing a trend towards digital platforms in Malta. Over the past 12 months, technology has become a major influencer of change across the business landscape, which suggests organisations will need to transform to become more efficient and effective in the future.Some areas are growing at exponential rates, including iGaming and financial services. In both sectors, organisations are searching for top talent across all parts of the operation – we are currently receiving requests from employers to help identify professionals with their desired skill sets.Increasing trends towards digitalisation and remote access, as well as flexible working conditions, are highly indicative of potential pressures on future demand.Cost of living2022 was a great year for Malta as all restrictions were fully lifted, which helped the tourism and hospitality industry get back on its feet. Without any restrictions in place, most businesses across the country were operating at full capacity, in order to make up for lost time, resource and profit throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.That said, Malta has not been immune to the impact of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis. The ramifications of soaring inflation rates have already begun to take their toll, as many businesses have been forced to raise their prices to counteract escalating costs. As a result, many professionals are looking for higher salaries and increased job security. Because of this, we would advise businesses to ensure they are keeping new and existing employees engaged by not just offering a competitive salary, but also investing in their careers by promoting development opportunities and offering on-the-job training. Malta operates in a candidate-driven market, which means it’s harder to find the right candidates for roles, so a focus on retaining existing employees should be considered. Existing employees who are happy and valued can also act as advocates for the company and help show jobseekers it’s a great place to work and develop a career.An increased priority on skill setsOver the past year, we have seen demand increase for jobseekers with enhanced skill sets and experience. As HR functions become more specialised, employers are now seeking professionals with higher levels of education for areas such as talent acquisition and learning and development.There is an increasing number of marketing and sales roles that now require professionals to have some digital experience, and a greater focus on transactional positions like accounts assistants and credit controllers in the accountancy and finance sector. The technology sector has also seen demand increase for many roles, particularly in business intelligence, system administration and software development.The impact of salaries and benefits on talent acquisitionSalary and benefit expectations among professionals continues to play a huge part in talent acquisition and retention strategies, as Malta remains a desirable country for investment in Europe. We see no reason why this may change throughout 2023 and beyond.The Maltese job market offers various attractive employment perks in many sectors, as well as growth opportunities for professionals looking to enhance their careers. The benefits in Malta are pretty standard across most sectors: alongside their base salary, the majority of employees benefit from life/health insurance, wellness memberships and annual bonuses. However, the most valued benefit without a doubt is flexible working, which gives employees the chance to focus on their work/life balance, while assisting with commuting costs.While companies are willing to offer competitive salaries to secure the talent they need, employers want to make sure any potential applicant has the experience, qualifications and skill set to add value to their workforce. Jobseekers can be more desirable for hiring managers by showing their capabilities through critical thinking, work ethic, and professionalism, alongside important traits including teamwork, communication, and leadership skills.Recruiting and retaining professionals has become the biggest priority for many companies in Malta. Organisations need to ensure they are listening to their employees and looking after their needs in order to become an employer of choice in 2023.Download our free 2023 salary guide now.