People Business 2020 Newsletter

Welcome to our end of (financial) year roundup! There’s no doubt that 2020 was a tough year for everyone, so we decided to postpone our end of year newsletter to now, when Spring is just around the corner, the COVID vaccination programme is well under way and there is a tinge of hope in the air.

Staff News

Autumn 2020 saw us in need of extra resource in our HR department, and we were lucky enough to welcome two Consultants to the team; Sue and Lisa. We are thrilled to have them both in the team. We are also delighted to welcome Hannah as Andrea’s PA, Hayley as our new Learning Adviser and finally, Alex joins the Support team under the Kickstart Scheme.

We wish them all a very warm welcome to People Business!

Team News

Not surprisingly, Spring 2020 saw many face-to-face training sessions cancelled or postponed. The Talent team quickly adapted and were able to offer eLearning and virtual facilitation within weeks, helping companies maintain their L&D programmes.

“I think the technology was good – the separate rooms for discussions allowed many different ideas to be discussed at the same time without wasting our time. The fun things we did like drawing each other and the games were also very nice and contributed to the positive attitude of everyone throughout the whole day” BPM-D Team Event

The HR team became very busy almost overnight, getting to grips with the ever-changing advice, rules and government schemes. Many a weekend was spent reading the “5pm Friday” government updates in order to fully brief our retained clients on a Monday morning! As well as providing advice on shielding, furlough, redundancy, reorganisation, homeworking, COVID guidance for safe return to offices, the team also managed to deliver (online) the final module of a Manager skills programme on Diversity & Inclusion to 2 cohorts of managers and rising stars to IPS Pharma, as well as an HR Mentoring and Development Programme to their ‘in-house’ HR lead.

All our Consultants undertook training in September to become qualified Mental Health First Aiders

Meanwhile, the Support team were instrumental in helping everyone transition to home working, ensuring everyone had the necessary technology to be able to work effectively, and carrying out a full risk assessment to make our offices COVID secure (for the few weeks we were able to return).

Client News

We’d like to welcome AA Insurance, Assimila, Atek Accounting, Blixt, Buckinghamshire Building Society, CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments, Cheyne Capital Management, EPIC, Harding Financial Ltd, Heathway Medical Centre, ICEYE, Legal & General Retirement Institutional, NHS Property Services, Person Centred Software, Practical Action, Red Chutney, Saltus Partners, Shift4 Payments, The Tudor Trust and Velocity1, all of whom joined our client portfolio in 2020.

We’d also like to congratulate our client FSCS on winning the HR Excellence Awards 2020 HR team of the year – well done!

2020 also allowed us the opportunity to do a spot of international work supporting ICEYE, a Finish radar satellite imaging company who was looking to sponsor its first migrant worker in its UK office.

“I’m so happy that we got the sponsorship. One more time, thank you for your help. I cannot even describe how much it helped us.” Pauliina, HR Officer, ICEYE

What’s New?

Despite the turbulence of 2020, we are still working on new projects; here’s a quick summary…


  • Wellbeing audit, comprising of employee survey (now live) and audit report to help tailor action plan
  • Mental health awareness training: one workshop for managers and one workshop for all employees
  • Good Boss Wellbeing: using the findings of the Good Boss Questionnaire to help understand which behaviours help or hinder employee wellbeing
  • Contact if you’d like to find out more

Agile Manager Development Menu

  • A fully flexible learning programme. The manager selects from a menu of modules (all topics are available in e-learning or virtual workshop format) to build a personalised blending learning path. Ideal for companies of any size, those with just one or two managers needing development will join workshops with other managers from different industries or sectors.
  • Contact if you’d like to find out more.

Recruitment and Assessment

  • Transforming the recruitment process to run virtually
  • Selection & assessment for a new agile workforce
  • Interview Training
  • Best Practice for on boarding virtually
  • Executive Assessments
  • Contact if you’d like to find out more.

Maintaining Team Morale

Let’s face it, none of us aspired to be home school teachers… we missed loved ones and seeing friends and family. It was more important than ever to stick together as a team, even if it was virtual. We’d love to share some of our initiatives with you; maybe you can use some of our ideas in your own teams?

Everyone was paired with a buddy, so each buddy pairing would look after each other and catch up regularly. When allowed to do so, buddy pairs would meet up… we had treasure trails, walks, tea shop visits and many phone chats!

We set up weekly Zoom meetings for general catch ups and also some fun… here are just a few of the activities we arranged:

  • Who Wants to be a Millionaire quiz – complete with “fastest finger first” and of course the theme tune  Sadly we didn’t have £1m to give away, but we did make a donation to Blueprint for All!
  • Surprise cream tea – we made up boxes for all staff to enjoy fresh scones, clotted cream, jam, prosecco and a few other treats to enjoy at our June meeting.
  • Fundraising for Blueprint for All – People Business gave every staff member £10 with the instruction to “turn it into as much money as you can”. We were delighted to raise £250 by getting people to guess the amount of lego bricks in a bucket, selling craft items we’d made, donating commission earned on products and more (we’re still waiting for Andrea’s TikTok dance routine tho).
  • A virtual wine and cheese pairing with Bolney Wines (luckily the wine and cheese were not virtual!).
  • Wear your favourite hat to the meeting and tell everyone the story of why it’s your favourite.
  • Tell the story of your first job and what it taught you (this brought back some amazing memories!).


People Business has always been a company that likes to give back, but 2020 saw us formalise this value. A staff vote led us to partner with Blueprint for All (formerly Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust); as well as giving them pro bono HR support, we’ve enjoyed fund-raising for them.

At Christmas time, we chose our local Food Bank and two local schools, Ottershaw Infants & Junior Schools and Meath School for our Company charity donation.

We also introduced an internal Volunteering Policy which allows all employees to take one day paid leave per year to support a charity of their choice.

Spotlight on: Practical Action

Practical Action traditionally hold an annual leadership summit, bringing together leaders from around the world to strengthen relationships, develop their strategy and plan for the year ahead. This year, inevitably, had to be different. People Business facilitated an on-line summit, over the course of a week, connecting leaders from as far apart as Zimbabwe and Sudan, India and Bangladesh, Bolivia and Peru and the UK. We enjoyed working with the passionate Practical Action team and reflected that it was not only possible to create space online for thoughtful and challenging discussions – in some ways the technology can help to give everyone a voice.


Like many organisations, the impact of the COVID virus meant sadly losing valuable and often long-serving people. Practical Action were very keen to ensure that those leaving were supported and People Business were able to firstly listen carefully to their needs and create a bespoke programme that fitted well with their intentions and their culture overall. After initial one-to-one coaching sessions, each of the eight participants attended workshops to enhance their CV and to prepare them for interviews. All eight staff have now either found alternative employment or are moving on to set up their own businesses. Practical Action are now considering offering this service for all future staff who find themselves in a similar position.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this Newsletter and it’s given you some more insight into People Business. If you’d like to give us any feedback, please get in touch!