Future-Proofing Your Business

June 4, 2021

This article was first published in BL Global magazine.

With unpredictable world events, new and emerging technology and continually evolving regulatory requirements and risks, it is more crucial than ever for businesses to predict where new risks will come from in order to protect their future. As a law firm we aim to support businesses to adopt a strategic approach when it comes to planning for the future.

We can help businesses feel more confident around how they measure and control growth from a legal and commercial perspective. Here we look at some of the key legal and organisation considerations that you should be considering to future proof your business.

Employee Engagement

Most businesses will know that a key consideration for success is an engaged workforce. Some of the ways you can look after your staff are set out below:

  • Private medical insurance – Helping your employees to get back on their feet earlier reduces costs related to sickness absence. Private medical insurance does more for the progress and prosperity of your business than making sure that the health of your employees is looked after. As part of a remuneration package it is a compelling way to attract and retain the best talent. If you are including a private medical insurance clause (in an employment contract or otherwise) it is important to make sure this appropriately incorporated into any company documents to make it clear as to the extent and level of the cover: i.e. whether it extends to the employee’s spouse and what range of cover it will include.
  • Bonuses – These can be contractual or discretionary. There is no doubt that this is a very attractive incentive for staff. However, employers should be careful with how they deal with their bonus incentive schemes. Decisions by the courts in recent years have determined that there is no such thing as an “unfettered discretion” for an employer when considering what bonus payments to make. Businesses must be careful in exercising their discretion in good faith and on reasonable grounds to prevent any claims which could be brought for unpaid bonuses.
  • Life assurance – In a pandemic-aware society this benefit can end up meaning a lot more than share options, a company vehicle or pension if the worst happens. This is relatively inexpensive for businesses and highly valued by employees as it is often much more expensive for them to take personal life cover.
  • Pension – Helps your employees reach the lifestyle they want in retirement. Many employees appreciate their employer helping them start their pension early, so they can reap the benefits of compound investing.

True employee engagement is based on trust and integrity between an organisation and its employees. It is an approach that increases the chances of business success, contributing to organisational and individual performance, productivity and well-being.

Cyber security

With 43% of cyber-attacks targeting small businesses, cybersecurity really is something all businesses must consider.

Cybersecurity is important because it protects all categories of data from theft, fraud and damage. This includes sensitive data, personal data, intellectual property, personal information, and industry information.
Businesses need to familiarise themselves with cyber security protection to avoid the costs associated with data breaches.

Succession planning

Succession planning is a process for identifying and developing new leaders who can replace key business leaders when they retire or otherwise leave the business.

Many businesses lack succession plans either because they fail to recognise the fact that at some point the business founders will either want to or need to step down or because too much trust is placed upon the expectation that the current leaders will deal with this when it becomes necessary. It might be wise to spend some time to initially create and then re-visit any agreed succession plan/management structure to diminish financial or legal trouble for the company.

Relocation, relocation, relocation

As businesses work towards reopening in part or full, businesses must plan for return to the workplace in a way that supports staff and safeguards their health and wellbeing.

Many factors must be considered, including:

  • the size of the workplace;
  • the nature of the workplace;
  • are your staff/clients vulnerable;
  • caring responsibilities; and
  • flexible working arrangements.

We are able to assist businesses to ensure appropriate risk assessments are carried out and that appropriate policies and procedures are in place to support businesses return back to normality.

It is of vital importance that businesses are aware of the benefits as well as the risks that growth brings. Businesses should be aware of their legal obligations to ensure they continue to safeguard their future.

This article does not constitute legal advice, should legal advice be required please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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