Welcoming back your people from furlough is something to celebrate and hopefully mark the end of something we’ll never have to do again. Still, you’ll need to invest time into making reintegration easy as possible. For you and for them.
Here are a few of our top tips to make coming back to work a more pleasurable experience.
Consultation is key
It’s important never to assume you know how people will want to be dealt with, so ask a few questions about what they want from you when coming back to the workplace.
You’ll undoubtedly have a varied response, but surveying your staff will remove the mystery of what you need to do. Plus, it’s a great way to engage with them. You may also find out useful information that can help shape the future of your organisation.
Remove the worry
Anxiety can often be caused by not knowing what is happening when. People don’t always like change, but they can be reassured by communicating what will happen and when. This will help remove speculation and possible anxieties about returning to work.
Get the welcome banners out
Put on a welcome-back event. Set time aside to bring everyone together and have a company social. It needn’t be a grand affair but something that will see colleagues catching up with each other in an informal setting. It’s also an excellent opportunity to bring everyone up to speed with what’s been happening in the company and showcase your vision for the organisation.
Be prepared for questions
Your people will probably have a lot of questions and will want to have reassurance. Set time aside to offer ‘drop ins’ with your colleagues to allow them to ask questions that they need answers to.
You could be asked questions about:
Flexible or remote working
Support for health and wellbeing
How the business is doing
What happens if there’s another pandemic
It’s not always possible to tell your people every minute detail, and you might not have the answers to their questions at that point but where possible, provide transparency where you can.
Plan the return to work
While this is blindingly obvious, it’s worth taking a step back and thinking about planning return to work from your employees’ perspective. Think about how they’ll be feeling and what they might need to do. This is where employee consultation works really well.
Once you’ve asked questions and found out the answers, you can start to plan a return to work. You may also need to consider refresher training for your people too, which will help them hit the ground running.
Think of a return to work as almost the same process as welcoming a new employee to the business.
It’s good to talk
Communication is vital. Now is the time to look at how your internal communications work and if they should be improved. Again, it doesn’t have to be an all-singing and dancing programme of activity, but a plan should consider proactive communication and how that would work depending on the size of your workforce.
Share what’s happening in your organisation and you’ll have a more engaged workforce.
Provide the right support
Many successful business owners have said that their most valuable asset is their people, and it’s true, so look after them. The past 18 months have been very worrying for us all, and it looks like we’ll be living with Covid for some time. Therefore employers need to provide a work environment that’s supportive, caring and safe.
Providing access to a variety of workplace benefits or support will make them feel valued. Mental and physical wellbeing services are proving to be vital in ensuring an organisations success.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you make your people feel valued, contact us today.
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