Helen Barry - HR Advisor

While the Covid-19 pandemic has brought a wave ofextraordinary challenges and uncertainty to Irish businesses, Local Enterprise Office Waterford is providing a wide range of business services to SMEs.  Free HR, digital and finance advisory clinics are available to any local business, regardless of its scale or sector, which needs assistance in accessing support.

Helen Barry of SimplifyHR is an experienced practitioner in HR and has mentored with Local Enterprise Office Waterford since 2016.  With a passion for practical, business-lead HR, her experience and background in employment law ensure that the complex worlds of people and change can be safely navigated.

Since the advent of the Covid-19 outbreak, Helen has worked with clients, on a virtual and confidential basis, to advise of ways to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on their business and their staff.

Helen Barry

“The changing landscape and level of uncertainty about how long this will last is making it difficult for SMEs to plan staffing and finances.  Some SMEs have had to close their doors, others are trading in different ways, by operating different hours, changing production schedules, scaling back operations, remote working and online trading.  Naturally the focus is on the financial impact and how we can come through this.”

For many business owners there is an immediate focus on ensuring that they themselves and their staff retain a level of income.  The Office of the Revenue Commissioners, Department of Social Protection, Citizen’s Information Bureau and the network of Local Enterprise Offices provide information for business owners to access supports such as the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment.

With many companies grappling with the reality of some or all of their employees working from home, areas that need to be considered are health and safety, having the right equipment to operate with and staying motivated and connected.

“Keeping the connection with your team is crucial.  Now that most of us are working apart and in a very different environment, daily check-in calls will help keep the team focused and better prepared to work through their documented list of priorities.”

Helen advises reaching out to relevant advisors to talk through your individual situation and get the right information about the options available to you.

“It may be difficultbut try and depersonalise the situation.  Focus on where the business is at and where it needs to go and be practical.  Once you have your arms around the business and what it can or cannot support, then you move to communicate with your employees. Understand what you will be saying to them and what options are open to them.”

“Keep talking to your customers and suppliers, where possible, to understand what their requirements might be and when.  Use this information to develop a simple plan for your business going forward.”

“And don’t be too hard on yourself.  We are all human and all ultimately have the same concerns!”

If your business has been affected by Covid-19 and you need HR advice call the LEO Waterford office and a dedicated specialist will get back to you to discuss your business issue. This is a confidential service and is open to all businesses. LEO Waterford will also endeavour to signpost you towards further Government and State agency business supports.

Businesses can also avail of the Business Continuity Voucher, which is worth up to €2,500 in third party consultancy costs and can be used by companies and sole traders to develop short-term and long-term strategies to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The goal is to help business owners make informed decisions about what immediate measures and remedial actions should be taken, to protect staff and sales.

To book your free virtual consultation, via Skype or phone, call 0761 102905 or email info@leo.waterfordcouncil.ie and a dedicated mentor will get in touch with you.

For further information about any of the above measures visit here.