Yorkshire firm takes lead in road to recovery

Pro-Development, Pictured are the Pro-Development team

A Yorkshire company specialising in employee engagement and development has developed a quick and cost-effective tool to help local businesses identify potential risks in losing talent as a result of Covid-19.

Pro-Development, who have been supporting local businesses for the last nine years, have been collaborating with the Yorkshire business community through Covid-19 to understand how they can best help.

Their research has shown that whilst leaders reacted quickly in response to the pandemic to protect their people and business, implementing new working arrangements, many will see the impact of these rapid changes as we start to move into recovery.

Founder of Pro-Development, Michelle Mook, is concerned that many businesses will lose key talent as people are now dealing with the aftermath of the changes and is particularly concerned about those workers who are currently furloughed.

Ms Mook said their research has highlighted that as people moved to working from home or were furloughed, a lack of communication and connection with team members is having a detrimental effect on engagement and wellbeing.

She said: “We are already hearing of people who feel their company has not managed this process well, and that the limited communication and seeming lack of concern is leaving people feeling undervalued and disconnected from their team. The transition involved in bringing furloughed workers back into either a virtual or physical workspace along with those who have been working at home for many weeks now cannot be underestimated.

“Without consistent communication and engagement, along with the sense of belonging and purpose we get from being part of a team, some people are already looking at alternative options for the future which could lead to more disruption and further impacts and cost to businesses.”

Ms Mook, who is also chair of York Professionals, is keen to support the local business community by helping to develop a plan to ensure leaders are considering the next steps both, physically and emotionally.

The new engagement tool can quickly give business owners insights into what is currently working well and what needs adjusting ready for the next steps of this journey.

Pro-Development have helped several companies in the last couple of weeks to make changes and can already see the difference it is making.  One of their valued clients, Ardent, a financial services business based in York, employ a team of talented professionals and, like many other businesses, have a mix of people working from home and furloughed. They have worked hard over the last few years to engage their team and were keen to understand how everyone was feeling.

Managing director Gary O’Brien said: “I would recommend this process to every business owner. It’s amazing how much insight we got from a questionnaire which literally took each team member about two minutes to complete.

“The feedback is very clear, easily understood and massively impactful. On digesting the findings, I went through a range of emotions but quickly realised how valuable and important it is to understand exactly how your team is feeling during these very unusual and, for some, frightening and stressful times.

“Michelle’s findings have instantly become the foundation of our communication plan with our team. We will still be using the knowledge we gained long after the current crisis ends.”

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