In challenging times, key differences can only be made through partnership, support, rapid engagement and total and utter dedication.
Over the last few weeks, GRI has been proud to help many of the key sectors impacted by the coronavirus to staff up, rapidly, as the demands on the UK has intensified.
For our food retail clients, stockpiling has been creating punishing pressure on driver deliveries and warehouse operatives. For our NHS clients on the front line, hundreds of staff have been required at extremely short notice. Across our consumer facing logistics and delivery clients, the number of worker hours required has surpassed peaks that would normally only ever be seen in the Black Friday/Christmas period – but without the luxury of the usual preplanning for this type of uplift. Elsewhere, some of our major facilities clients have had to move with agility and speed to take-on complex, immediately required, deep cleaning projects, or to play their own vital role in the set-up of the UK’s new field hospitals.
The GRI UK team has been working incredibly hard, alongside our agency partners, to not only fulfil our clients’ staffing requirements, but to do so efficiently at speed in a safe and responsible manner, according to the latest government guidelines. We have linked our agency advice hub to our e-tips® VMS system, so that every time our panel agencies login they receive an alert to the very latest government advice and health protocols they must complete with their workers before proposing them to vacancies. We have also been asking our agencies to reassure workers over statutory sick pay and passing on relevant information about government support for businesses, employees, and workers – such as furlough payments. This is a difficult and anxious time for many, particularly those at the front line and it is important that people feel supported and equipped with the latest advice.
Clearly at a time where responsible businesses should be encouraging the very best health protocols, the number of agency workers available has been impacted, as workers become ill or self-isolate. This is where GRI’s large agency network of over 3,500 contracted agencies, neutral vendor model and expertise can help deliver the engagement of available key workers from a smaller pool than usual onto large numbers of shifts. Our contract and performance and fulfilment teams are chasing down every staff requirement and ringing all appropriate agency panels every minute of the day, every day to deliver the staffing needed. Whilst this administrative support is always helpful during business as usual, this particular aspect of our service has become a crucial way of taking pressure off busy hiring managers, who need to deal with other issues caused by the coronavirus spread.
At GRI UK HQ, our own business continuity plans are in full effect to ensure our internal teams are able to keep supporting clients from an operations, systems and finance perspective, from home and when essential/key, our offices (where the space allows us to follow the government’s social distancing mandate). Our investment in technology and the fact our e-tips® system is essentially a web portal means our service is available 24/7/365 and in the last few weeks our teams have been working through the night to meet critical, high volume deadlines.
Coronavirus is obviously everyone's key focus, but this does not mean that everything else stops. In the last 14 days we have also been working with clients to navigate the unwinding of the IR35 legislation, running final preparations for the uplift in national minimum and national living wage, as well as prepping our agencies on the new legislative requirements they face around the Good Work Plan.
Thanks to our services, and the commitment of our contracted agency panels and their incredibly dedicated workers, GRI has been able to deliver business as usual for clients’ critical projects - despite the highly unusual.