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In this blog, Chris Grimes from Matrix SCM, provides an overview of the panel discussion and key points to take away.

The purpose of this webinar was to provide insight into the current challenges COVID-19 is posing on the recruitment sector. We discussed the key topics that will affect us as we transition out of lockdown, including;

Social distancing

Karen Grave from the PPMA started the discussion on the key topic of social distancing, stating that Public Health England have been sharing really useful materials and guidance around social distancing.

For the reintegration of staff back to working onsite, Lancashire Council emphasised the need for a phased approached, and are exploring options such as staggered start times and utilising the technology, such as Skype and Teams calls. In the meantime, the solution has been working virtually from home – this isn’t ideal but its important to understand the challenges being faced and that they can be overcome.

Workforce challenges

Ian Middleton from Matrix SCM went on to discuss the workforce challenges, expressing that dialogue is going to be key. It is important to maintain all support parameters and utilise all available resources to help understand the potential future workforce problems so that councils and partners can be proactive.

Regarding future workforce pressures, Natalie Ludlow from Worcestershire County Council explained that they have extended their existing temporary workers through summer, to act as a port of call before they engage with their supply chain to help soften the shortfall.

Returning to business as usual

Returning to business as usual was next on the agenda for our panel. Karen Grave from the PPMA raised the point that re-deployment has forced organisations to take strategic workforce planning seriously, and this has led councils finding skills in existing workforce that they were not originally aware of. Natalie Ludlow from Worcestershire Council Council explained that as a result of this, a lot of pressure has now been put on front-line staff. When transitioning into the next phase these members of staff will need to be able to rest before the next wave.

Karen Grave went on to explain that moving forward, the need for local authorities’ services are potentially going to increase. As we start to ramp up service delivery, we may find ourselves in a problem elsewhere, we need to keep this in the back of our mind when we are planning our workforce strategy.

Social care challenges and traditional challenges

Vanessa Carthy at Lancashire Council shared their experiences, explaining that they have trained agency staff up to help with the social care homes. The care workers are using their experience to help run the homes and temporary workers are then there to support them, taking on workload such as cleaning to free up their time to focus on delivery.

A key piece of work for Matrix SCM has been setting up infrastructures to ensure that should they see numbers increase dramatically they can support such requirements.

Supply chain management

Ian Middleton at Matrix SCM covered the final topic about working with supply chains and how it has been key in this time of crisis. Matrix SCM has worked with clients to identify where further expansion was needed to their supply chain, some authorities use the same suppliers but as the demand becomes greater, they will need other agencies to support them.
 

The panel all agreed the key lesson for the HR community from everything that is happening at the moment is ‘to know your workforce’. This goes from understanding where they are and if they need support through to identifying their capabilities and abilities that can be utilised by the organisation.

The full panel discussion is available to watch here, catch up now!

Matrix SCM will be joining us on 3 June at 10am in our latest webinar to provide further updates on the position of the temporary recruitment landscape and what changes and challenges they are experiencing, register to join us

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Chris Grimes

Sales Director
Matrix