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  • The UK high-street transformation: How HR can support small business owners

The UK high-street transformation: How HR can support small business owners

Find out what the July General Election means for the UK high-street and what these changes mean for small businesses. Learn how HR can help businesses during times of change.

First published on Monday, Jun 10, 2024

Last updated on Monday, Jun 10, 2024

4 min read

The high-street is changing, with small businesses like nail salons and takeaways replacing banks. Here’s how HR can help small business owners ride this wave…

New data from The Financial Times reveals small businesses like hairdressers and takeaway shops are rapidly replacing banks on the UK high-street.

The data, which looks at the transformation of the UK high-street since 2010, shows how the rise of online banking and e-commerce has caused a shift towards experienced-based leisure and takeaway shops.

Does this mean a full high-street revival? We sure hope so for the sake of small businesses.

But, if it does, how can you make sure your business is prepared? And how can small improvements to your HR processes prepare your business for change?

How HR can improve customer experience

It should come as no surprise that the rise of online banking has created a shift from store to screen. But did you know that 42% of consumers still prefer to do their shopping in-store?

If you’re in a customer-facing industry, keeping footfall high by focusing on customer experience is more important than ever.

One powerful tool for improving customer experience is a good HR and employee management strategy. Ultimately, good customer service starts with a positive employee experience.

Running a productive and safe business will reflect on your shop floor. Busy and stressed-out employees not only cause internal problems with retention for you, but can also be a bad look for your customers…

Creating a positive employee experience starts with your HR—whether that’s your hiring and onboarding process, your company policies, or your shift & rota planning strategy. Investing in rota software can help you improve your workplace efficiency, fill vacant shifts, and plan for last-minute employee absence, so you’re never understaffed.

What changes will the General Election bring to the UK high-street?

No matter which party wins the upcoming General Election, you can expect lots of legal change for your business in coming months.

If you’re a small business owner in hospitality or retail, you’re likely already used to fast-paced change. But keeping on top of what these changes mean for your business can be a little tricky…

The current Conservative government has said they’re dedicated to supporting high-street firms with the cost of business rates as part of their plan to reduce inflation and grow the economy. They have existing funds that towns can apply to for support on rejuvenation projects.

But the Conservatives have also come under fire from their political rivals for contributing to Britain’s high street decline because of the recent hikes in mortgages and rent due to the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis.

The Labour Party has announced a plan to improve Britain’s high streets as part of their manifesto.

They plan to: - Cut business rates for small businesses by raising tax on bigger companies

  • Introduce a £700 voucher scheme offering small businesses better energy efficiency through measures like double glazing and electric vehicles

  • Stamp out late payments by making sure bigger companies publish annual information on payment practices

  • Renovate empty shops, pubs, and community spaces by giving local councils the power to reopen empty shops

  • Combatting antisocial behaviour and shoplifting by introducing more neighbourhood police and PSO officers

The Liberal Democrats, on the other hand, have announced their plans to abolish the broken business rate system and replace it with a Commercial Landowner Levy to put the burden of tax on landowners instead of tenants.

As a small business owner, keeping on top of all these proposals and their potential impact can be tough. But you don’t have to do it alone, navigate changes with confidence with 24/7 employment law support from BrightAdvice.

Or, for instant expert advice on this topic, ask Bright BrAInbox: What are the main political parties' plans for HR if they win the General Election?

How HR software can support small businesses

Need more support with your retail or hospitality business?

BrightHR has a whole range of people management tools to support you as your business grows and changes, from compliance support to recruitment and HR documentation. Discover how BrightHR can support your small business today!

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