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Community; the power of sharing during unprecedented times

Oakleaf partnered with Haines Watts to facilitate a ‘roundtable’ event via Zoom, which was attended by HR and Talent Acquisition professionals from five similar Mid-Tier firms. The aim of the session, given the uncertainty around the current climate, was to share and help each other through this period.

It was an insightful and open meeting and given the current state of play, delivered a real sense of community; so much so that the participants will continue the conversation as monthly catch ups moving forwards.

Hearing from several individuals, the general message is the same, that these firms are doing everything they can to protect their staff. The volume of redundancies is at 0, with firms furloughing anywhere from 5% to 20% of their workforces and topping up salaries to as much as 100%. Firms have also been able to honour pay increases and promotions to convey a continued recognition of talent. Worst case scenario, pay increases have been differed and may even be back dated.

Whilst current and future hiring remains under close scrutiny, and in some cases recruitment freezes are in place, offers that had been accepted prior to the lockdown have been honoured, with start dates deferred. On a really positive note, from a Trainee recruitment perspective, all firms are hoping to continue business as usual with assessment days scheduled to go ahead (with potential of pushing back the planned dates). The general consensus was that firms learnt the hard way from the last recession and so understand the future talent management consequences of a minimal trainee intake.

Wellbeing was naturally on the agenda also, and the importance of communication. One firm has an internal yoga instructor who has simply moved all classes online, a virtual DJ sessions is also in the pipeline. ‘Fizzy Fridays’ are now a weekly must along with team quizzes to boost morale and regular catch ups and team meetings are always scheduled. Interestingly for one firm, weekly pulse checks which historically had limited response have since had the highest ever response rate and scores during the last few weeks.

All in all, we had a very enjoyable discussion with lots of valuable input. Particularly during such indefinite times, it’s been wonderful to create a support network for valued clients.

Big thanks to Stephanie Morris and Jovana Marovic at Haines Watts for hosting.

If you would be interested in joining a similar, sector relevant, network please do get in touch on

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