HR news and updates from the E.L Blue Team

Lockdown Lessons for the HR Manager

27 Nov 2020 | COVID-19, HR, Human Resource Management, Human Resource Outsourcing, Recruitment

The art of war teaches us to rely not on the likelihood of the enemy’s not coming, but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of his not attacking, but rather on the fact that we have made our position unassailable.

Sun Tzu

5 things to get right.

While Australia appears to have a handle on COVID19, it appears that prompt lock-downs will be the state government’s weapon of choice when a flare up occurs. 

For businesses, this creates uncertainty around when and for how long a lockdown may occur. 

E.L Blue’s HRBP teams recently worked through the Victorian lockdown as part of an ‘essential business’ and identified 5 things that need to be done right.

Contingency Planning

  • Establish a layered operational plans in line with the various stages / levels of restrictions.  
  • Where working from home is not possible, HR team can lead management to devise staffing levels and rostering to maintain operations to meet business requirements, while remaining compliant with the COVID safe requirements.
  • Monitor the state government position and possible direction on COVID restriction levels – so it is possible to undertake preparation prior to actual implementation.
  • Prepare safety equipment and materials including sanitizer and masks as believed necessary.
  • Ensure management agrees and is aware of requirements at various levels of restriction.

Revise and Update Plan

  • Keep the plan ‘live’ and ensure any amendments or adjustments required by health and government officials is incorporated at the earliest time possible.
  • While it is good to keep management team updated, assume under pressure they will not recall any of the necessary details and it will be essential to provide them updates of their portion of the plan when required.
  • Plans and changes in plans, should reflect different jurisdictions and the different restrictions that may apply and how they change.
  • Expect changes and additional requirements.


  • Maintaining communication throughout the organisation is essential.
  • It is critical to ensure all messages from management are consistent – having one channel that is reinforced by the management team briefings appears to be highly effective. The HR team handling all relevant communications, gives staff a single point of contact to pass enquiries or concerns.
  • Make communication plans clear and concise with only line managers delegated to distribute communications that must be approved by the General Manager.

Leadership / Guidance

  • Sensitive and empathetic leadership during this time is essential. It is important that leaders are sensitive to pressures that all employees are under – both at work and home.   
  • In an uncertain environment, employees gain comfort from being made aware of the macro issues facing the business and understanding what is being done. Senior management leadership and confidence (not in-action) in a crisis is vital.

 Health and Wellbeing

  • Ensuring workforce safety is the priority. Maintaining and policing compliance requirements to ensure COVID safe operations is core.
  • Stress and anxiety have caused a range of physical and mental health issues.
  • Awareness of the mental health impact and giving managers the flexibility to take this into account when dealing with employees improves the wellbeing for all involved.

Getting these aspects right, allowed the business to operate through the pandemic and meet the client’s production schedule.