As organizations gear up for a post-pandemic workplace, the approaches range between returning to office fully, hybrid model or completely virtual. The workforce is heavily split in their preferences on flexibility with some ready to take pay cuts and others willing to move jobs to work for employers who can match their choices.
We are witness to this “great experiment” on workplace and workforce models as the world settles down to the new normal amidst panic on the next wave/s still hovering over humanity.
Just when the workforce has adjusted to remote working norms and taken steps to find their flow in the virtual work environment; organizations have begun to evaluate competition and perspectives of industry leaders on the workplace of the future. They are making decisions on what is best for their company and workforce. However, It is natural for employees to be apprehensive about the next management decision and communication that could potentially disrupt their work & life once again.
Communication, clarity and transparency are key as always while employees adjust to the revised organizational norms – making a case for “reboarding” as leadership makes decisions on the way forward.
Employees need to be made aware of their workplace and work mode options and the associated benefits that come with these choices. For instance certain teams can operate fully remotely in the long term and organizational benefits around home office set up etc could vary from a team which is required to return to office fully or be out in the field.
The safety measures, ongoing testing and vaccination data disclosure requirements vary significantly depending on the roles which are fully remote, partially remote and 100% in office. The communication on protocols cannot be standardized and need to be fit for purpose.
Concerns on business continuity, clarity on social distancing measures, the new do’s and don’ts on commute and travel, measures and back ups planned in the event one needs to shift back to fully remote in case of changed circumstances due to new waves all need to be thoughtfully assuaged. It is a lot of information to consume and change to adjust to. Byte sized approach to Policies and processes redesign, and structured communication is essential to build confidence amongst the workforce.
Organizations now have a grip on emergency employee support, medical assistance, access to information and have had the opportunity to revamp the wellness support and avenues to extend help in the time of crises. These play a significant role in building employee trust
Diversity being a key agenda for most organizations in the last decade, return to office plans need to accommodate the needs of a diverse workforce. Clear communication and visibility to employees on the changes they can expect is essential.
The role of the direct manager and leadership has changed dramatically in the new world. They have the onus on being advocates of organization decisions, communicating change, assuaging concerns and also understand the pulse of their people and extend timely help in times of distress. Equipping people managers & leaders with information as well as training them on the competencies in the new are critical for team morale, motivation and delivery of business outcomes.
Employees, especially new hires and new managers have reduced ease with face to face connect and need hand holding as well as tips and nudges to keep them intentional on forming connections with co-workers as they return to physical workspaces. Making the best of short f2f connects; being inclusive of others’ needs, conducting oneself mindfully with regards to others’ apprehensions are competencies of the new world of work that we need to upskill the workforce on.
Whichever part of the spectrum an organization chooses to position themselves; “Reboarding” for all employees plays an essential role in ensuring the success of “return to office” initiatives and must include :
● “Return to office” tasks around revised documentation,data and declarations to be collected from employees.
● Revision in work contracts and benefits if any as employees choose the flexi options that work best for them.
● Communication of revised policies and workplace norms
● Protocols to be followed while working at the office workspace
● Business continuity protocols in case of resurgence
● Wellness support and options in times of distress
Digital technology can ensure customization and scalability in reboarding efforts. A solution that is integrated with organization HRIS and LMS platforms can enable efficient reboarding.
● Leadership vision, plans and broadcasts in a timely manner while ensuring reach in a hybrid environment
● Thoughtful communication and nudges delivered to the right audience to promote desired behaviors.
● Compliance and data consistency of the distributed workforce seamlessly ensured across different IT systems.
● Key information on wellness, support, emergency protocols made handy and accessible 24/7
● Mandatory learning interventions for manager and leaders enabled to engage with renewed needs of team members
Questions to reflect on as HR and leaders – Is your reboarding strategy well thought through? Are you leveraging technology sufficiently to manage the chaos of change?
Contact Xpand.io to partner on your organization reboarding journey!