Chamber News

Following the publication of the second Chamber Network survey Chambers Ireland and our nationwide Network of Chambers has today (10th April 2020) called on Government to join Chambers in calling for engagement with the prompt payment legislation and to send a message to business, both public and private, that if you can pay, you should do so on time.

The survey, which has over 1,100 responses (1,149) was conducted between 3rd April and the morning of 6th April 2020.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “Cash is king, as the saying goes, and we’ve been calling on businesses in our Network who can pay their bills, to pay their bills. Cash flow has been identified as a significant problem for businesses since the start of the crisis. Unless we can keep money moving in the economy, we risk exacerbating and prolonging the impacts of the recession to come.

Within our survey, we asked businesses if invoices were being paid by state bodies early and on time. While the majority confirmed this was the case, a significant minority (33%) said that payment was taking longer than 15 days.

We have been raising this issue with Government for a number of weeks and we are now calling on them to make an immediate statement on this matter and join Chambers in calling for bills to be paid on time by those in a position to do so.”

Chambers Ireland Covid Business Survey April 20Chambers Ireland and our nationwide network of chambers has today (9th April 2020) published the results of a survey of its members, which seeks to quantify and highlight the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses in towns, cities and regions right across the country.

Our survey which has over 1,100 responses (1,149) was conducted between 3 April and the morning of 6 April 2020.

The results published this morning are the second in a series of nationwide surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on the business community. All corners of the country are represented in the responses and the results will inform the advocacy of Chambers Ireland and affiliated chambers, on behalf of businesses throughout the country, and provide guidance to the Government on next steps required to support business through the crisis.

The headline results are:

Revenue:

  • 84% of businesses expect revenue to decline by in excess of 25% in the next three months, which is up from 73% in our last survey published on the 24 March.
  • Approximately 25% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by more than 90% over the next 3 months
  • Smaller firms are more concerned about loss of revenue and are more likely to expect a 100% reduction in revenue

Closures:

  • 42% of businesses have closed entirely, and 30% of businesses having closed the public facing offices and are now working from home
  • Of those that have closed, most expect to be closed for 12 weeks

Staffing:

  • 47% of businesses have laid off staff, with over half of those laying off in excess of 30% of staff
  • 20% of all businesses have laid off their entire staff

Commercial Rates:

  • 76% of businesses owners/operators believe that the 2-month deferral of Commercial Rates payments will not be enough to have any meaningful impact on their business
  • Most believe that it would need to be a six-month holiday to be of use, with a significant minority believing that the extension would need to be for 12 months

Next Steps/Economic Interventions:

  • 99% of respondents believe that there will be a need for a post - COVID-19 economic stimulus package
  • 95% of respondents believe that there is a need for liquidity grants to businesses
  • 96% of respondents believe that the measures that have already been introduced will need to have their timelines extended

Speaking this morning (9th April 2020), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “When we published our first set of results, neither the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme nor the tighter restrictions were in place, so we expected that the impact on business would continue to decline. Therefore, our findings that 84% of businesses, an increase of 11% on two weeks ago, expect a decrease in revenue of more than 25%, should not come as a shock.

“However, what our results do show is the gravity of the situation, particularly for many smaller businesses. 25% of those who responded expect revenue to collapse by more than 90%, with one in five businesses laying off all staff.

“For those who have closed their operations entirely, most expect to remain closed for at least 12 weeks. Unfortunately, as we’re seeing in other countries, the period of closure is likely to be longer for some businesses.

“Should this come to pass, an honest dialogue with Government will be required regarding how the staff and employers who have lost their living will be supported.

“Since the outset, we have highlighted the need for far-reaching economic intervention from Government to support local economies and job creators right across the country. We need action on a scale we have not seen before. The unprecedented nature of COVID-19 must be met with an unprecedented response.

“This view is shared by our members, where there is almost unanimous agreement that a post-COVID-19 stimulus package will be required and that part of these measures must include the provision of grants for business to help them re-open their doors and restore jobs lost.

“Measures already introduced, while critical in the first response to support business, will need to evolve in scale and scope.

“For example, the Government’s earlier announcement of a two-month deferral for commercial rates is found to be insufficient by three quarters of businesses responding to our survey.

“If a deferral is to have any meaningful impact, it will need to last at least 6 months, if not a full year, as was introduced in the UK. To ensure that Local Authorities can continue to serve communities, this short-fall in funding must be replaced by central Government.”

  • To access the COVID-19 Business Community Survey results report, click here
  • To access the Survey results for Waterford, click here
  • To access the results report from the previous Chambers Ireland Covid-19 Business Impacts Survey from 24 March 2020, click here

Responding to the publication of the March Exchequer Returns, Chambers Ireland calls on Government to look to the future and plan how it will meet the challenge of restoring the country’s finance and rebuilding the economy.

Speaking today (2nd April 2020), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,“The impact of the measures we have had to take as a country in the last 3 weeks are mostly not reflected in these Returns and we can expect larger percentage falls in May and June. The figures published today foreshadow the profound impact that the Covid-19 crisis will have on our national finances and our economy. Government must react in accordance with the scale of this challenge.

As we pass through the initial shock that this is having upon all of us, we must start looking towards the future, beyond the unprecedented scale of this disaster.

We must also be conscious that today’s figures are not the worst we are likely to see. Reduced consumption, lower employment numbers and significantly slower economic activity will have consequences on the Exchequer for months to come. VAT receipts, which form a significant part of State income, are likely to continue to fall as only essential shopping takes place, typically at lower rates of VAT.

Businesses widely welcomed the supports announced last week in the Emergency Powers Legislation. The programmes of support are unprecedented, and while there continues to be questions about some aspects of how the various schemes will operate, we look forward to working with Government to resolve these issues, so we can ensure that they function as intended and keep people engaged with the workforce, maximising the chances of business continuity.

Government and business need to work together to ensure that policies are introduced as smoothly as possible. We have never experienced this kind of shock, or a shock of such magnitude. While we appreciate the efforts that are being put in by everyone across society, there is more to be done and there is much more that can be done.

Today’s Returns highlight that the worst of this crisis has yet to be seen. Momentum in how we respond doesn’t merely need to be maintained but needs to increase if we are to meet this challenge.”

We are appealing with you to complete the Chambers Ireland Covid-19 Business Community Survey on the following link:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CPBLP2J

The survey focuses on the actions that businesses have taken to date, and some policy responses that they would like to see Waterford Chamber and Chambers Ireland working on.

It is open to all businesses in the republic whether they are members of their local chamber or not so please feel free so share on your own websites, LinkedIn/WhatsApp groups, social media, and emails.

We would expect to be publishing the subset of data from the Waterford area next Tuesday and  to go to the national and local media with this on Wednesday 8th (assuming no major national breaking stories on that day).

If you have any questions please get in touch.

Skillnet Digital Classroom Apr May 2020 1

Skillnet Digital Classroom Apr May 2020 2

Performance Management – Thursday, April 2nd - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Identifying Performance Strengths and Weakness
  • Day-to-Day Performance Management
  • Feedback 
  • Identifying Underperformance
  • Development Planning
  • Dealing with Failure to Improve

Cash Management in a Crisis – Friday, April 3rd - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • The right processes and procedures to keep ‘cash flowing’ within your organisation
  • How to effectively manage your credit risk
  • How to successfully recover a bad debt
  • Options and resources available

Leadership in a Crisis – Friday, April 3rd - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • The 5 Pitfalls of leading teams in a crisis situation
  • The building blocks of Crisis Management
  • Taking back Control
  • Communication Flow for Sound Leadership
  • Leadership Styles and Crises

HR How to Devise an Infectious Diseases (Covid-19) HR Policy & Procedure - Monday 6th April 15:00 - 16:00

  • The key areas of consideration and definitions
  • Compliance with Government, HSE and WHO guidelines
  • Practical application of employment law & HR policy requirements
  • How to apply procedures around restrictions within the workplace
  • Go home
  • Stay at home
  • What if’s 
  • Guidelines for working from home/remotely 
  • Connection to other key HR policies
  • Applying timelines & amended terms

Managing Self – Tuesday, April 7th - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Emotional Intelligence in Difficult Circumstances
  • Time Management
  • Delivery of Results

Food and Mood: 3 key ways to support your teams nutritionally for greater energy, resilience and productivity" 7th April – 15:00 - 17:00

  • Discover how stress effects energy and food choices.
  • Jemma will share 3 key ways in which diet and lifestyle can help with creativity, reduced absenteeism and improving companies bottom line. 

Change Management – Wednesday, April 8th - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Models of Change
  • Identifying Responses to Change
  • Staff Needs of Times of Change
  • How to Make it Stick

The Lean Workflow - Wednesday 8th of April - 15:00 - 16:30

  • Know your value
  • Bring it to life using Mapping
  • Create flow
  • Assess customer demand and establish pull
  • Act and continuously improve

Motivating Staff – Thursday, April 9th - 9.30am to 1.30pm

  • How do We Motivate Others Remotely?
  • Motivation Model
  • The Three Elements of Intrinsic Motivation
  • Self-Motivation

HR How to manage your headcount in challenging times - 3.00pm – 4.30pm – 9th April - Ria White

  • Current Government supports & implications for your business
  • Contractual terms & condition requirements
  • Short term, lay-offs post lockdown
  • Definition of redundancy
  • Key HR policy requirements
  • Action planning, key points & checklist
  • Communication, documentation & paperwork 
  • Practical solutions

Remote Management  – Wednesday, 15th April - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Identifying all the challenges faced when managing remotely
  • Exploring tactics and tools to overcome these challenges
  • Experience what it is like to be in a remote team through a team activity, to gain empathy and reinforce learning
  • Identify the enhanced skills required when managing remotely
  • Achieve goals through communication, relationship building, coaching, delegating and trust

Role of a Manager – Thursday, 16th April - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • What do you need to Be, Do and Know
  • Supervisor/Leader/Manager
  • What kind of Leader are You?
  • Flexing between Roles

Change Management – Friday, 17th April - 9.30am to 12.30pm

  • Models of Change
  • Identifying Responses to Change
  • Staff Needs of Times of Change
  • How to Make it Stick

All Webinars are free of charge for businesses closed due to COVID-19.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to book your place.

Following the publication of today’s (2nd April 2020) live register figures by the CSO, Chambers Ireland calls on Government to ensure that post-crisis, the supports are there to ensure business can re-open.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “Today’s CSO figures illustrate just how much damage has been done to businesses and to livelihoods right across the country. A surge of 24,400 new applicants for jobseekers’ allowances in the space of one month is remarkable in itself. Viewed alongside the figure of 283,037 persons receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment and the 25,104 benefiting from the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, assessing how deep the damage will be to the economy is difficult to gauge at this stage.

To see the progress made in job creation since the economic crash over a decade ago, wiped out in little under a month, is truly alarming.

The results of our national Network survey last week have shown some indication of what might come to pass in the weeks and months ahead, where 94% of businesses see their revenue declining over the coming three months, 73% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by in excess of 25%. We can only assume that the associated economic down-turn will contribute to further job-losses.

There are of course some positives to note, due largely to Government intervention over the past week, such as the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, which retains employees on payroll. Supporting that link between employer and employee throughout the crisis will be instrumental when the health threat abates and economic activity starts to return.”

Also speaking today, Chambers Ireland President and Director of Noel Recruitment, Siobhan Kinsella, spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the workplace.

“While today’s figures show one part of the economy, where thousands of people have found themselves temporarily unemployed, this is only one part of the story. The world of work in many industries continues but has changed utterly.

We’ve long talked of digital transformation and the future of work. COVID-19 has triggered a digital transformation, which in ordinary circumstances would takes years, in a matter of days. Entire organisations have moved to remote models, with employees, managers and directors responding to the crisis and running businesses from their own homes. In fact, the Chambers we represent right across the island are doing just this and responding to the needs of their members remotely and digitally.

Amid this economic crisis, there are opportunities to innovate and to reimagine our ways of work. Life-long learning, a priority of Chambers Ireland, is even more important now. Many training organisations, such as Solas and Skillnet, have responded and evolved their offering because of the crisis.

If we had one message to the workforce, it would be to engage in training and look at ways to upskill. Anything we can do to build on existing skills will, once this crisis passes, support future resilience and productivity. This message of course includes those in work and those temporarily out of work.”

Webinar Agenda - Week Commencing 30th March 

Each Webinar is €15pp or €60 for a bundle of 5.

To register or to arrange this Webinar to run internally for you, your business managers and leaders, please contact Audrey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

skillnet

Role of a Manager – Monday, 30th March from 9.30am-12.30pm

  • What do you need to Be, Do and Know
  • Supervisor/Leader/Manager
  • What kind of Leader are You?
  • Flexing between Roles

 skillnet

Performance Management – Monday 30th March from 1.30pm-4.30pm

  • Identifying Performance Strengths and Weakness
  • Day to Day Performance management
  • Feedback
  • Identifying Underperformance
  • Development Planning
  • Dealing with Failure to Improve

skillnet

Change Management – Tuesday, 31st March from 9.30am-12.30pm

  • Models of Change
  • Identifying Responses to Change
  • Staff Needs of Times of Change
  • How to Make it Stick

skillnet

Team Development – Tuesday, 31st March form 1.30pm-4.30pm

  • Stages of Teams
  • Team Types
  • Effective Teams and How to Fill the Gaps

skillnet

Cash Management in a Crisis – Friday, 3rd April from 12.30pm

  • Having the right processes and procedures to keep ‘cash flowing’ within your organisation
  • How to Effectively Manage your Credit Risks
  • How to Successfully Recover a bad debt
  • Options and resources available to you

FREE Live Webinar - Leadership in Crisis: CV & Career Planning, Working from Home & Resilience

Date: Friday, 27th March

Time: 10:00am-11:00am

As part of SureSkills Effective Management and Working from Home Series, we have another complimentary webinar on Leadership in Crisis, CV & Career Planning, Working from Home & Resilience.

These are unprecedented times, for many, the possibility of self-isolation, social distancing and working from home for the next few weeks/months is becoming a daunting reality. Indeed, working from home is a new concept for many teams and their managers.

Waterford Chamber Skillnet and SureSkills can assist in helping you and your team transition and cope with this new reality.

Webinar Agenda

  • Leadership in Crisis
  • CV and Career Planning with SureSkills Resource Placement
  • Resilience and Working from Home tips
  • Q&A

Who Should Attend?

This webinar is aimed at those who have been impacted by COVID-19 and the effects it is having on the workforce and landscape as we know it.

Register here

If you would like to arrange this Webinar to run internally for you, your business managers and leaders, please contact Audrey @ This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

WC Skillnet Business Strategy Free Webinar

Date: Thursday, 26th March
Time: 9.30am-11.00am
Cost: Free of charge

This live Webinar will assist SMEs to review business continuity plans and emergency activation plans in the face of changing business landscapes. The aim of this webinar is to help business owners and managers to mitigate the impact this situation will have on critical business functions, products and services. What you do now will make the difference. 

This 90-minute webinar will offer business owners valuable ways and means on how their business can survive in the coming weeks and months.

Topics Include:

  1. Short-term finance options
  2. Adjusting your current business plan to revise profit margins
  3. Appraising your company expenditure
  4. Negotiating your payables
  5. Identifying alternative streams of revenue in the short-term
  6. Crafting a communication plan with Stakeholders
  7. Diversifying your asset portfolio
  8. Tips on personal wellbeing during a crisis

This Webinar will be delivered by Monere Development Services.

If you would like to arrange this Webinar to run internally for you, your business managers and leaders, please contact Audrey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Wordcloud Government action needed CIChambers Ireland and our nationwide network of chambers has today (24th March 2020) published the results of a survey of its members, which seeks to quantify and highlight the impacts of COVID-19 on business in towns, cities and regions right across the country.

Our survey which has over 1,000 responses (1,110) was conducted between the afternoon of the 19th March and the morning of 23rd March 2020

Today’s results will inform the advocacy of Chambers Ireland and affiliated chambers, on behalf of businesses throughout the country and provide guidance to the Government on next steps required to support business through the crisis.

The headline results are:

  • 94% of businesses see their revenue declining over the coming three months
  • 73% of businesses expect their revenue to decline by in excess of 25%
  • Cashflow, Revenue, and Staffing are the critical issues for businesses
  • Cashflow and Revenue are of greatest concern to Sole Traders, and Micro-businesses (<10 employees) [This sector accounts for in excess of 92% of businesses, and 69% of jobs in the workforce[1]]
  • Temporary closures only impacting a minority of businesses (Hospitality in particular) but deeply affects these sectors.
  • Staffing is of concern to certain sectors, particularly Digital, Agrifood, Transport, and Retail.
  • No part of the country feels unaffected, though the midlands are slightly more concerned about staffing problems.

Speaking today, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “The results of our network survey show us that the impact of COVID-19 on the business community in Ireland, the vast majority of whom are SMEs, has been severely felt, with more than 90% experiencing reduced cash-flow and reduced revenue.

As we publish these results, we are expecting further announcements from Government of tighter restrictions on how people move around and interact with each other. This will further impact the business community. Sentiment in the business community can only be expected to decline in the days and weeks to come.

A significant response by the State to support businesses and local economies right across the island is required. This must be far-reaching and unlike any intervention we’ve seen before. These are unprecedented times and therefore need an unprecedented response.

Government must give businesses and the self-employed a lifeline immediately, and when the coronavirus threat passes ensure that the businesses community is supported through further state interventions. Employers’ are job creator, without whom we would not have an economy and would not be able to support the economic well-being of citizens. For jobs to be restored following the crisis, our members will need as much support as possible to re-boot the economy.

Under-reacting to this crisis is now the greatest risk. This crisis will pass, our economy will recover, but we cannot afford a chaotic recovery.

Government measures to date have the approval of almost 70% of the business community despite the huge costs borne by them. But Government must become more responsive in a number of key areas.

Deferrals and moratoriums on VAT, commercial rates and other changes must last for the duration of the crisis at a minimum. The business sector also requires greater clarity on insurance. We call on Government to work with the insurance sector in providing solutions for the business community.

The pace at which Government departments and agencies are operating at to respond to the crisis is applauded but it is important to ensure that the detail of schemes announced is carefully considered and communicated. When this does not happen, it adds to the confusion and uncertainty facing our local economies.

Finally, as is highlighted in the results of our Network survey, cash-flow will be critical to surviving the crisis. We reiterate our call to all Government Departments, agencies, Local Authorities, State and Semi-State bodies to pay invoices at the earliest opportunity. Government must take the lead on this and make a clear statement on the urgent necessity that all State bodies settle all outstanding bills promptly.

As a Network, we stand ready to work with the State to meet the challenge of this crisis and support the business community through it."

[1] https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-bii/bii2015/sme/

 

Sustainable Business Impact Awards 2020On 12th March 2020, Chambers Ireland opened applications for the Sustainable Business Impact Awards, the renamed Corporate Social Responsibility Awards, which celebrates the achievements of the business community in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Despite the ongoing uncertainty from the COVID-19 outbreak, Chambers Ireland encourages the business community to share their excellent work in CSR by applying for these Awards.

The Awards recognise the meaningful and high quality-work from companies through different Awards categories, including Environment, Community Partnership (divided into Charity, Volunteering and Community Programme), Workplace, Marketplace, CSR Communication, CSR by an SME and Diversity & Inclusion.

Ian Talbot, Chief Executive of Chambers Ireland, spoke at the opening of the renamed Awards, “We have been running the Corporate Social Responsibility Awards for over sixteen years. In that time, we have seen many great companies with different projects receive recognition at this event. These projects have benefited the environment, communities, staff, charities and people both in Ireland and abroad.

Last year, Chambers Ireland decided to take leadership in aligning the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with our organisation strategy. To continue the process of alignment with the SDGs, from 2020 the Corporate Social Responsibility awards will be known as the Sustainable Business Impact Awards.

While the Awards categories and entry criteria will remain unchanged, we believe the new description will greatly improve our ability to evolve this concept further into the future, building on the success of all the work of previous winning and applicant companies.”

Theo Cullinane, BAM Ireland Chief Executive said, “We have been a long-time sponsor of the CSR Awards and are proud to continue this partnership as the awards take this evolutionary step in becoming the Sustainable Business Impact Awards.

We fully endorse that this enhancement is driven by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. BAM adopted a new sustainability strategy in 2016, driven by these global sustainability targets. As a result, we have set ourselves the target of having a Net Positive Impact on Climate Change, Resources and People by 2050, and are proud of our prestigious “A” rating on the global Carbon Disclosure Project. With the Sustainable Business Impact Awards championing the SDGs, we look forward to seeing the innovative initiatives that Irish businesses have implemented for a sustainable future.”

The awards are sponsored by BAM Ireland and run in association with the Department of Rural and Community Development.

Applications for the Awards are now open online at www.sustainablebusinessimpactawards.ie

*The closing date for applications is Thursday, 9th of April 2020.*

 

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What Our Members Say

"Waterford is a very attractive location for Foreign Direct Investment as it is a dynamic city which is very much open for business – the city has a proven track record of attracting investment from start-ups and expanding business, who are hugely supported by Waterford Chamber. The city, county and region offers a young, well educated workforce and is easily accessible for international visitors. Waterford’s quality of life for employees is exceptional as it blends elements of rich cultural heritage with a new and vibrant lifestyle – with new additions such as the Greenway further showcasing the county to not only locals, but visitors from all over Ireland and overseas. The Chamber has been a vital link in welcoming our companies into the local Business Community – helping them not only network, but also gain a sense of community and belonging."

Brendan McDonald, Regional Manager, South East Region, IDA

 

 

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