Back to work

5 tips for successful reboarding

Some people compare digital working to a modern séance. Admittedly, it can sometimes seem like that: "Els, we can hear you, but we can't see you. Say something if you can see us. Is there anyone with you? ..." It might have been funny at first, but it soon became irritating. And now you can hardly wait to get back to the office (or the factory, or wherever).

However, returning to the work floor is not as easy as you thought. Many people are now familiar with a hybrid form of working. They have come closer together or instead have become more distant. As an employer or HR department, you are now dealing with new expectations, priorities and patterns. Your task is to make the return to 'the work floor' as smooth as possible.

There are some things you can take into account. 

Sergio Pengel
Sergio Pengel Onboarding Specialist

Business as usual  

Most organisations cannot resist the temptation to go back to business as usual. They see the current crisis as an unfortunate interruption. A mosquito trying to push down a wall. The results are good, people are happy, and your organisation is contributing to society. So, lots of reasons to continue as you were.

But just for fun, let's turn things around. The mosquito is no longer trying to push down a wall - the wall is trying to squash the mosquito. Are you still confident that your old way of working will give the best results? How sure are you that employees not only understand what the goals are but also believe that they can be achieved? And how can a disruption be an opportunity rather than a threat?

OK. Existential exercise over. What practical things can you do? 

1. Communicate about the (new) way of working

The least your organisation can do is provide clarity about the new rules and procedures that apply. And be clear who colleagues can turn to with their questions, input or for reporting important issues. 

2. Check in early

Not all your ideas are effective in practice. So, be flexible and be ready to abandon or adapt certain choices. The best way to find out what is going well or not is to check in with the teams in good time. Use a traffic light, for example. Ask people to list everything they feel positive about in the green and all the negative points in the red. You can then reflect and start addressing the problems. 

3. Bring people together

One of the biggest challenges is engagement and the simple answer to that is: connect. Because people are social beings. Use various conversation starters which are unrelated to coronavirus. Ask people what has been going well recently. Or what they are looking forward to. What tabs are still open?

And show appreciation. Tell your colleague that you have been looking forward to this conversation. Thank them. Tell them what you feel they do well. If you find it difficult to give a compliment out of the blue, think about a format like Pecha Kucha. Get some people to talk about their passions and why they are so special to them.   

4. Focus on leadership

Set a good example for people to follow. Prepare your leaders for the (new) way of working. Update them about rules, procedures and roles, but also check how they feel about things. Make sure that managers are comfortable so that they can help create a safe and secure environment. Use a format like stinky fish or a complaints board to discover problems. Want to know more? Contact us now

5. Think about the options for reskilling and upskilling

This is the moment to think about what skills are necessary for success. Some skills may no longer be useful or have been somewhat erased. At the same time, you might need an entirely new set of skills to guarantee success in the future. Give employees space to reflect on how and what they want to develop.

Finally, engagement starts with showing interest in each other. It is about you as an employer proactively approaching people so that you can find the right solution together. The current pandemic has forced us to take a different approach to work. But this might not be the last time that this will happen. A new crisis may well be lurking round the corner. You need the ability to proactively respond. Which is something you do together. 

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