What do furlough changes mean for logistics employers?


Within the last few weeks, the government has announced several developments to lockdown measures and the management of Covid-19. This includes relaxing of the two-metre social distancing rule, reopening of hospitality businesses and changes to the furlough scheme. All of these factors will impact the British economy greatly, including the logistics sector. And with the end of the furlough scheme in sight we’ve seen a big change to the talent management strategies of employers across the logistics arena.

How will furlough changes impact logistics employers and workers?

From ongoing conversations with employers across the logistics sector, the WR Logistics team has noticed several trends emerge which have not only impacted employers over the past few months, but will also greatly affect talent strategies as we move further out of lockdown.

It’s perhaps unsurprising, albeit hugely unfortunate, that as we approach the end of July – when the furlough scheme begins to taper – some logistic employers will face the task of making redundancies due to the impact Covid-19 has had on their business. In fact, a survey of over 2,000 companies in the UK, conducted by lender, Marketfinance, found that a quarter of furloughed staff will likely face redundancy.

Despite this, however, the positive news we are hearing is that many who have used the furlough scheme to date, are making plans to gradually bring staff back into the business as the market begins to pick up again and they balance furlough numbers with business security. So while this clearly demonstrates that many employers in the sector are still suffering, signs of positivity are beginning to emerge against a backdrop of uncertainty.

And even though many logistics employers have either made the tough decision to reduce headcount, or utilise the furlough scheme, there are others who have taken advantage of a quiet market and been more bullish in their approach to increase their market share. By focusing on growth and preparing for the return to the “new normal” these businesses are now in a strong position to bring on talent to meet demand going forward.

Clearly, the strategies of logistics employers throughout lockdown have varied greatly, but one thing is for sure. We are now operating in a market saturated with professionals seeking employment. But while this on the surface appears beneficial for those employers looking to attract talent to help drive growth, it is not without its challenges. And this is something we have been increasingly talking to clients about in recent times.

Talent acquisition in the current climate

It’s clear that with a far greater number of applicants in the market, recruitment processes can become more difficult, time consuming and costly to the employer. And this is something we are noticing first hand with a number of clients that WR Logistics has partnered with. Many have expressed how recruiting in the current environment has placed greater burden on their hiring teams. And with research from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC), revealing that a bad hire can cost up to £132,000 in lost productivity and staff turnover, it’s perhaps more important than ever in a fragile market that businesses employ the right people.

Consequently, we have been working with a number of clients to streamline their recruitment process and help identify candidates that not only have the right skills sets, but who are also a good fit for the business. And one way we have successfully achieved this is through utilising psychometric testing.

Utilising psychometric testing

Psychometric testing, often known as behavioural assessment, is a robust tool which is becoming more popular amongst top businesses to help identify valuable sources of information when making hiring decisions. And when combined with recognised recruitment methods, hiring based on psychometric results can lead to better quality hires and a reduction in employee turnover. So while CVs are great for highlighting an individual’s qualifications and job history, behavioural assessment can delve much deeper into a person’s attitude and perspectives.

By having a clear insight into a candidate’s way of thinking, their methods of decision-making and more knowledge on how the person learns, employers can critically analyse if the individual’s skills and personality suits the company. This allows hiring teams to make much more educated decisions on the people they bring on board, which is proven to reduce costs and time further down the line.

And it is for this reason that we have developed our own tool to help clients navigate the talent arena and find the right person for the role – all for no extra cost.

Just in case you’re unfamiliar with behavioural assessment, although the process varies from company to company, it usually involves a questionnaire that asks the candidate about their opinions, preferences and priorities. Based on the results, and by comparing the answers against years of historical data and expert analysis, the individual’s attitudes and behaviours can be extrapolated. Behavioural reports can include information such as preferred working environment, how they respond to tight deadlines, preferred management style, approach to selling, and much more. If you’re sceptical, ask one of your employees – preferably one you’ve known for many years – to take an assessment. You’ll likely be surprised at just how accurate the results are.

Making the right choice

While there’s no disputing that the last few months have certainly been difficult and challenging for logistics firms across the UK, it’s by no means all doom and gloom. And as lockdown measures continue to ease and businesses begin to hire once more, it’s important that talent management strategies are adapted to ensure that employers have the right talent on board to help them grow in the ‘new normal’. If you’re one of those employers that have taken advantage of a quieter market, we have the people to help you continue on your growth trajectory. And for those logistics firms hoping to play catch up, we can help you get the right people on board quickly.

To find out how you access the best logistics talent for your firm, contact our experts today to find out how we can help you.