Despite nearing the end of 2020 the year is still presenting further challenges for businesses. ‘Non-essential’ businesses in areas of the UK placed into tier 4, have once again had to close their doors. Many organisations have already had a tough year and the ongoing battle with Coronavirus is set to carry on well into the New Year.
The year has also exposed some key areas for businesses to review, from cyber security to employee mental health. The Black Lives Matter movement has shone a light on the hugely important topic of equality and diversity and many companies have been striving to address any unconscious biases in the workplace.
The future of business has been a hotly discussed topic, with remote working becoming the norm and businesses reviewing the whole of their operations. With the UK’s departure from the EU, Brexit has also been an important consideration for businesses. 2020 has undoubtedly been an incredibly demanding year.
The impact of all these things across all organisations is huge, but we wanted to delve a little deeper into a couple of specific areas to gain a greater insight into the biggest challenges and future issues facing businesses now and into 2021, surrounding COVID-19 and workplace training. We surveyed hundreds of professionals, from a wide variety of industries, and here’s what they said:
Impact of COVID-19
- 60.8% say COVID-19 has negatively affected their business.
- 45% say business has slightly declined or drastically declined compared to 22.8% where business has increased or drastically increased.
- Top 3 challenges this year:
1. Staff absences (e.g. due to staff members self-isolating as a result of COVID-19 or illness)
2. Re-opening during & after COVID-19
3. Staff training
- Top 3 challenges now & into 2021:
1. Staff mental health and wellbeing
2. Staff health & safety
3. Financial challenges (e.g. budget cuts or difficulties)
Employee Health & Safety
- 62.8% say workplace discussions/meetings are used to keep up with industry news/trends.
- The biggest challenges surrounding health & safety at work include:
Mental health & wellbeing and Developing a safety culture.
- 91.8% are aware of the legal responsibilities regarding Health & Safety, HR, and Business Compliance training.
- Health & Safety, HR, and Business Compliance training was rated 9.3 out of 10 for importance.
- Whilst training is delivered in a number of ways, 67.4% use eLearning.
- 55.4% look for training or renew training as required as opposed to set timeframes.
- Quality is the most important factor when selecting a workplace training provider.
- Biggest challenges of training include cost, delivering consistent training and getting employees to complete it.
- The 3 greatest benefits of using eLearning:
2. More convenient
3. Staff can complete on any device at any time
- 77.8% use eLearning for workplace health and safety training
About the respondents:
- Size of organisation:
Under 5 employees: 12%
5-50 employees: 39.2%
51- 250 employees: 34.3%
251+ employees: 14.6%
- 72.7% were C-Level, Owners, Directors or Managers
- 84.3% were based in England
It is not surprising that COVID-19 has had more of a negative impact on organisations than a positive impact, as lockdown and further closures have had a devastating effect on business finances and planning. Businesses have had to be agile and navigate the challenges of the year, such as tighter restrictions, staff absences and re-opening their doors which hasn’t been easy.
Staff health & safety and training are key focuses for businesses in this challenging environment and will be high on the agenda for 2021. The survey revealed that staff mental health and wellbeing tops the challenges facing organisations in 2021.
Organisations are aware of the importance of creating a safety culture and supporting employees with their mental health and wellbeing. Business owners and leaders need to be mindful as to how they can achieve this, whilst juggling all their priorities.
Workplace training has an important future role, with the majority of businesses recognising that it can support a safe and productive working environment.
In January, look out for our downloadable report. It will feature some key workplace topics for 2021 including, Health & Safety, employee mental health and wellbeing and the future workplace, as well as a full report on our insights survey.