James Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Macildowie, discusses the importance of Furloughee’s

I am a big fan of building a trusted support network.  An inner circle if you like.  People who respect you and know you well enough to be courageous with the way they communicate with you.  Who tell you how it is. 

A few years ago I worked with an Exec Coach, I am still in touch with him and regularly go for a bite to eat or a beer.  Two days before lockdown, he said to me “JT, you’re going to have to make some tough calls in the weeks and months ahead.  Remember that people will remember the way that you make them feel”.

When we defined our Lockdown MO, we put Employee and Furloughee engagement the first point on our Operational Board Agenda and “Internal Comms” is the final point on the same agenda, it actually comes after AOB to ensure that we end the meeting aligned and in agreement on what and how we will communicate and when we will do it.  We meet three times a week as an Ops Board, so morale and engagement are front, middle and centre of our strategy.

I am not saying we’re perfect.  I am sure that we have made mistakes.  But we, like everyone else out there, are doing our best.  Everyone is different too, so what works for one individual doesn’t necessarily work for another.

I am delighted with the morale and camaraderie shown by the Macildowie staff who have been ‘at’ work since Lockdown began.   We named ourselves ‘The Macsketeers’ on day one… “all for one and one for all” felt very appropriate given that we have some brilliantly talented people at home on furlough and the success achieved as a group would be a factor in determining bringing other team members back from furlough.  We are bringing our Business Director, Dan Riley, back on Monday 1st June as his Construction market is showing more than green shoots with housebuilders back at work.

Back to “people remember the way that you make them feel”.

It’s a pretty great guiding principle in times like these.

And it’s why I believe that it is important for Business Leaders to define their FVP… a new three letter acronym… FURLOUGHEE VALUE PROPOSITION.

Yes you read it correctly, the FURLOUGHEE VALUE PROPOSITION.

Now I guess that we all hope that it isn’t actually a thing for too much longer as we’d all like to get out of lockdown and back to work to avoid the worst recession, or depression in over 300 years (according to the experts)… but it is a real thing in my opinion, and it might just be THE THING that prevents a company from bouncing back.

We all know the phrase, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”.  With that in mind, Board’s all around the globe are building their “New World Strategy”, but without engaging those vital team members who will be returning to work might mean that your culture does in fact eat your strategy before you have even had a chance to get going.  That’s a scary thought.   But it’s food for thought.  And it’s not too late as we still have two full months of ‘full’ furlough and we’ll find out in the next few days what the plans are for august, September and October.  So the FVP is an key strategic consideration for at least 5 more months.

I have spoken to hundreds of people from my garden office over the past ten weeks and we have also produced a pulse coronavirus, business continuity, pulse survey to help us to help our clients with the question “what are others doing right now”.

If you’d like to receive this information and insight once it has been aggregated, we’re sending to those who have completed the survey a week before it is fully released – please click here to complete.

As a six times, Sunday Times Best Company To Work For, we have been recognised for the level of employee engagement we have generated here at Macildowie.  Without going into our full FVP in this blog, I wanted to share a couple of ideas with you:

  • We have procured a best in class, on-line training programme for every member of staff.
  • We have delivered an Insights Discover Light session entitled “You Time” with a professional facilitator and Insights Practitioner.
  • We have partnered with an Emotional Health expert to deliver a diagnostic tool for individuals to complete on-line to assess their own emotional wellbeing.
  • We have invested in an Employee Assistance Programme, meaning that anyone who might be struggling with COVID-19 and Lockdown has a professional Counselling Service at their fingertips.
  • We have continued to carry out ZOOM gym/HIT sessions three times a week for all employees.
  • Two weeks ago we held The Macildowie Lockdown Ball, our Master’s of Ceremonies for the evening were two of our amazing Furloughees, the Macildowie Ant and Dec as they have become known.
  • We have continued to hold Friday beers and quiz’s.
  • We have recently partnered with a number of other organisations to make wellbeing, mindfulness and L&D opportunities readily available.
  • Most importantly we are carrying out one to one’s regularly, because people want to hear from their Manager.

I know from some of the external conversations I have had that some people out there on Furlough have heard nothing from their business at all.  This is frightening.

We host a series of Forum’s for MD/CEO, FD/CFO and HR Leaders to share best practice in a virtual networking environment.

At Macildowie we pride ourselves on being professionally curious, and on delivering elements of our service at no charge.  Whilst Recruitment is what ‘pays the bills’ we also have a passion for helping people and companies with their ‘Retention Strategy’ and that’s why we urge everyone to define their FVP before too much longer.


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