5 Steps to Successfully Welcome Your Employees Back to Work

Nearly three months have passed since the beginning of the novel Coronavirus outbreak. It quickly reshaped how we do business and pushed us to “digitize” much of the remaining workforce. Now, the time has come — government restrictions are easing up and we are slowly returning back to work. Of course, much is still uncertain about how exactly this will play out but already, there are proactive steps managers can take to set up for success. Below are 5 key tips to welcome your employees back to work with greater ease, comfort and productivity.

Make Day 1 Count

Start off on the right foot. It may be a stressful time for some, as their responsibilities and schedules shift into something new, yet again. Research shows that 30% of employees have felt lonely working from home during the crisis which is why it is important to not overwhelm them with many important tasks on their first day but instead, emphasize the importance of collaborating with colleagues again. Help your employees decrease this level of loneliness by expressing how their voice and contribution is vital to the overall success of the company. Use the first day to slowly ease them back into managing a whole workload and remember to voice your appreciation. A simple ‘thank you’ can go a long way!

Remain Flexible

The transition will not be linear, so just flow with it. Each employee will slowly trickle back to work and into a more common routine, as was before Coronavirus. Or will they? Research shows that employers with options to work remotely have some of the highest employee engagement levels. This is in stark contrast with those who do not have any option to work remotely, resulting in some of the lowest levels of employee engagement. Is that incentive enough to allow your employees to choose for themselves and be flexible as an employer? We think so. 52% of employers are already considering it and as long as tasks are completed. As long as tasks are completed, it doesn’t hurt productivity.

Encourage Socializing

During the last few months, more than a third of employers found it difficult to maintain company culture. Even though the rise of innovative virtual happy hours came to the rescue, they did not prove to be a one-size-fits-alll solution. A recent survey disclosed that 26% of employees missed informal socializing with their colleagues, showing the great value of organic day-to-day interactions among employees. As they come back to work, encourage these by setting aside small bits of time in the day for casual interactions and relationship building as they not only make your employees more happy and engaged but also increase their effort at work.

Create Guided Learning Paths

Roles and responsibilities will have changed since the beginning of March. Some employees will be switching roles or adding on new tasks and overall, all employees will need training on new government-imposed safety measures. What is clear is that retraining and new training will be necessary. Set your employees up for success in their new roles, keep them safe, and train on anything they have missed while being away from the workplace with bite-sized training. Micro-learning makes information retention 20% higher, boosts knowledge application by 17% and increases engagement by 50%. Not only will this ensure they are prepared for the “new normal” but it will also show your investment in their growth. 94% of employees say they would stay working at their company longer if they felt the employer invested in their learning and development.

Start Welcoming Back ASAP

In a recent study done by Gallup, 52% of employees strongly agree that their employers have been communicating more effectively during Coronavirus. Why stop now? Continue this high level of interaction with frequent, open, and transparent communication. Start as soon as possible by preparing your employees for coming back to work with internal communication and create dialogue about the positive aspects awaiting them. Overall, continue assessing that you are communicating via well received channels and make sure the format is easily understood and snackable to ensure engagement with the content. Best case, set up a feedback loop to confirm your employees have read the news and can leave commentary. Here are some more ideas on things you should consider as your teams rejoin at work.

Feeling a bit more ready to welcome your workforce back to work? We hope so! It all starts with getting your employees re-trained and re-energized for their roles and responsibilities. For instance, guided learning paths are a great way to do that.
Good news for you, we have put together a short Welcome Back to Work learning path in Actimo Academy and we would love to share it with you! Read more about Academy and get your free learning path set up in just a few minutes!

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