Employer COVID-19 FAQs

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Virtual interview during COVID-19:

Here are some common questions and answers about setting up virtual interviews during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Should you move your current in-person interviews to virtual interviews?
To practice social distancing, move your in-person interviews to a virtual setting. If you don’t need to hire immediately, you could postpone your in-person interviews until you return to normal business practices. Postponing in-person interviews means you may miss out on more qualified candidates, so it’s better to set up a virtual interview system.

What video platform should you use for virtual interviews?
Many online messaging and emailing systems have video functions that are easy to use. Check the email or message platform you use to see if you can set up virtual interviews. You can also choose from a variety of paid and free services, such as Zoom, depending on your needs, such as screen sharing or the ability to invite multiple people.

What should your recruitment timeline look like?
Since it’s difficult to determine when the COVID-19 pandemic will pass, you need to be realistic with any candidates you interview. Even if you make a recruitment decision, be very clear about how the candidate will be onboarded during this time of social distancing. This includes making sure the candidate knows how you plan to keep them safe and healthy during the outbreak.


Navigating Business Uncertainty:

Review some of these frequently asked questions about COVID-19’s impact on businesses:

Can I seek financial assistance if I’m forced to close my business temporarily because of COVID-19?
Companies do have some recourse for financial assistance during local, national or international hardship. Check with your government’s website for any recent legislation regarding assistance for businesses. Business support helplines for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can be found on the GOV.UK website. 

How can I support employees who can’t come into the workplace for their normal shifts?
Several options are available to support employees. Offer increased flexibility and understanding as employees manage changes in other family members’ schedules or reduced transportation options. Provide additional sick days or paid time off if possible. CIPD.co.uk offers an employer response guide which provides you with more ideas and suggestions on how to respond to your employee’s circumstances.

When can I resume normal business?
A return to normal business recruitment, practices and hours may take some time. At present, there’s no clear answer when normalcy will return. Continue to check local, national and international sources for updates to quarantine and other safety measures.


Additional funding

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding additional funding to help you better determine your options:

What are the eligibility requirements for small business loans?Eligibility requirements depend on the lender and loan. Your eligibility and approval typically rely on the way your business receives money, its ownership and its operation location. Loan providers also want to know that you’re able to repay them and that your business has a valid purpose. Here are the main eligibility requirements for a small business loan:


  • It’s a for-profit business
  • It conducts business in the UK
  • You’ve invested in your business
  • You’ve exhausted all other financing options

How can employers reduce their employee turnover during these incidents?

Employers can decrease their employee turnover rate by implementing various practices and guidelines for ill or symptomatic employees. Here are some practices from the GOV.UK website about handling sick employees who can spread COVID-19:

Encourage sick employees to stay home
Small business owners are being encouraged to maintain the health of their staff, customers and themselves. This ensures you can continue to offer your goods and services with the same quality customers know and trust.
Given the spread of COVID-19, the government has recommended employees with symptoms such as acute respiratory illness stay home to avoid further contamination. According to the GOV.UK website, they can go outside again 7 days after the onset of symptoms if they feel better. This may be extended to 14 days if living with others – see the GOV.UK website for further guidance.

Review sick leave policies
Business owners may also find benefits in reviewing their sick leave policies and their adherence to public health guidance. This can help them assist employees who fall ill and ensure legal compliance. Notifying employees of company policies ensures their compliance and the understanding of their rights.
The NHS has also provided isolation notes which are to be used instead of GP notes. These can be sent by employees to employers only if the employee or a member of their household are displaying coronavirus symptoms.
Additionally, employers should encourage their staff to notify them of essential travel plans. This can help business owners better prepare for their employees’ return should they contract the disease.

Separate sick employees
The GOV.UK website recommends business owners send employees home as soon as they show symptoms. If a member of staff has helped someone who was taken unwell with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they do not need to go home unless they develop symptoms themselves. They should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after any contact with someone who is unwell with symptoms consistent with coronavirus infection. Symptoms for acute respiratory illness include coughing and shortness of breath. According to the NHS, all individuals need to conceal their noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing through the use of a tissue or their elbow.

Routine cleaning
To maintain a clean environment in food businesses, for example, the government recommends that businesses implement or continue their regular environmental cleaning. This refers to the cleaning of workplace surfaces such as countertops and doorknobs. You can also consider providing your employees with disposable disinfectant wipes to encourage these practices.

Encourage hygiene and respiratory etiquette
Consider placing posters in easy-to-read places that promote proper hygiene practices, and recommend that employees stay home if they’re ill or feeling unwell. Other measures to consider include providing tissues and soap and water for employee hand wash use.

How can small businesses seek additional information regarding government resources?
Take a look at the GOV.UK website to see which resources are available to assist small businesses during this time. Business support helplines for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can also be found there.


Crisis communication FAQs

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions regarding business communications during a crisis:

What are the phases of crisis management?
When it comes to crisis management, there are three primary stages:

  1.  Pre-crisis: the key aspects of the pre-crisis phase are prevention and preparation. Prevention involves identifying and minimising any known risks that could potentially result in a crisis. Preparation involves developing a crisis management plan (CMP), choosing and training a crisis management team, performing exercises to test both the crisis management plan and team, and pre-drafting a few messages that can be used in the event of a crisis.
  2. Crisis response: this phase is when companies react to the crisis. Whether it’s through words, actions or a combination of the two, public relations professionals usually play a large role in a company’s crisis response by guiding them as they create messages that are directed to target audiences. The extent of the response depends largely on the crisis at hand, but this phase can typically be divided into two different sections – the initial response and then the subsequent repair to a company’s reputation.
  3. Post-crisis: at this point, the situation is returning to normal. Even though the crisis no longer requires a lot of attention, there still needs to be some follow-up communication to the employees, customers and media. Ultimately, the amount of follow-up information needed during this phase is dependent on how much information the company promised during the crisis. Aside from communication, the post-crisis phase should come with some self-evaluation so that the company can assess how the crisis was managed, learn from any mistakes and then adjust the crisis management plan accordingly.

What is the purpose of a crisis communication plan?
Crisis communication plans are guidelines that companies develop and use to prepare for an unexpected event or emergency. The primary function of a crisis communication plan is to create a strategy for how the business will respond in the event of a crisis and how it will communicate with key audiences throughout the event. These plans usually include steps to take when the crisis first takes place, strategies for communicating with the general public, stakeholders, media outlets, customers or clients, partners and employees, and how to prevent similar problems from happening in the future.

Overall, well-established crisis communication plans ensure that companies are able to release information and consistent messaging as quickly as possible.

What are the different types of crises?
Crises can come in many forms, including:

  • Workplace violence
  • Organisational misdeeds
  • Confrontation crisis
  • Crisis because of deception
  • Crisis because of malice
  • Natural crisis
  • Financial crisis
  • Technological crisis
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