The pandemic rocked the foundations of the workplace in several significant ways. An unprecedented number of companies made the change from working in the office to remote work models. Thus, many vital operations were suddenly facilitated online. Moreover, droves of employees were laid off or put on short-time to cut wage bills.
This shift was a massive blow for the workforce and for companies in general. A large percentage of the population suddenly lost job security, and communications moved entirely into the virtual space.
While the corporate world readily and rapidly adapted to operating online, the lack of face-to-face engagement was problematic for many who were suddenly working from home. Businesses had to make several difficult decisions and adjustments during this time.
Many organizations are now faced with the challenge of bringing employees back onto the team and filling the positions of those who’ve moved on. This article addresses some of the steps that organizations can take to ensure a smooth re-onboarding experience for employees in a post-pandemic hybrid workplace.
Communicate Company Culture
With employees working on adapting to a hybrid model, there’s more opportunity for companies to evolve their corporate culture. This process is key in incorporating new and returning team members into the workplace. You want, above all, for team members to understand your revitalized values, goals, and vision.
Different organizations take different approaches to establishing and communicating company culture. Some like to make it explicit throughout the re-onboarding process and drill it into new hires from the very first day, while others prefer to let it emerge naturally in the office space.
Whatever your philosophy may be, it’s in your best interests to provide employees with ample opportunity to get acquainted with your adaptive company culture. This benefits you by ensuring that both new and returning team members can settle into their roles and working in the office with ample time to adjust. The more they know about what to expect and how the culture fits in with the workplace, the more productive and outgoing they will be.
Allow New and Returning Hires to Become Familiar with Your Digital Toolset
Each organization generally has a standardized set of software that they prefer to use to work remotely. This software will likely have changed during the pandemic, especially if you are now operating under a hybrid model. Use the re-onboarding process to get people acquainted with your new digital toolset.
For example, conduct any online interviews or teleconferences with employees on the company’s preferred platform. If you now use a communications software like Zoom, MS Teams, or Slack, get your employees set up as soon as possible and pioneer the reintegration process for them.
Give your hires ample time to get acquainted with both the basic software they may already be familiar with, and with the more unique, potentially more complex software they will have to use. If their first day back on the job is the first time they see what their digital toolset looks like, the re-onboarding process will make employees feel even more stressed.
Onboard in the Same Way You Work
Conduct your re-onboarding process using the same model by which your hybrid workplace now operates. If you, like many others, have transitioned to a hybrid model, then conduct your re-onboarding process both online with those who work remotely, and in person.
Combining working from home and in-person re-onboarding operations gives you the opportunity to be flexible. Any human-centered event that needs to happen can and should happen in person. For example, introductions to new colleagues and team leaders on an employee's first day, changes to the office space, and presentations of revised training material can all be adapted. Any individual-focused activities can be done online, such as a review of new company policy and the reading of in-depth training documents.
Alternating between online and in-person onboarding activities will help employees manage the load more effectively. It will give them time to absorb new information and work through dense material at their own pace. Plus, it will ensure that new and returning members have ample opportunity to integrate as a singular workforce.
“Our hiring managers now have a reliable system that is easy to navigate. Our HR team can actively monitor the process, and assist if needed, but Onboard has helped them save so much valuable time and effort while increasing data accuracy. All of this has helped us improve compliance and gives us a powerful tool to achieve even more results in the future.”
Get Going ASAP
Contrary to popular belief, delaying the re-onboarding process wastes more time than it saves. If you know you need to do hiring and re-hiring, start sooner rather than later.
Allow time for an extensive interview process that gives you and your human resources team a chance to identify unsuitable applicants, attract strong candidates, and re-establish healthy ties with employees working after a long hiatus.
This kind of proactivity will ultimately result in a healthy, functional foundation from which you can build open communication and trust. Leaving these tasks until the last minute only hurts your company’s cohesiveness and productivity in the long term.
Delegate the Re-Onboarding Process to Great Leaders
The re-onboarding process in a post-pandemic climate can be a nerve-wracking time for new hires, especially if they’re not used to working in the office. And there may be lingering resentment from returning employees who were let go or put on short-time. Many are coming back to work after months of uncertainty and will need time, guidance, and transparency to transition successfully.
Putting good leaders with great people skills, positive body language, and a strong sense of your company’s values in charge of re-onboarding will provide a stable foundation. On this foundation, new hires can find their feet and returning employees can regain a lost sense of security.
Great leaders will facilitate clear communication between company representatives, potential candidates, and returning employees. While you may feel that people with strong personalities are intimidating as a first point of contact, they can provide structure and guidance. This will ultimately make employees feel more secure in their positions.
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The Bottom Line
Covid-19 brought with it huge changes. From making working from home the norm, shifting our views of work life balance, and enhancing our focus on health and well-being the knock-on effects continue to make themselves evident in every sphere.
In the wake of the ‘new normal, re-onboarding in a post-pandemic world requires every company’s human resources team to be adaptive and proactive. The more you invest in providing a stable, effective, and flexible re-onboarding model, the better your business will function in the long term.
Integrating re-onboarding processes with a hybrid model may seem daunting at first. But it will ultimately serve your organization’s best interests and communicate your commitment to securely expanding your team.
Start early, give yourself enough time, make your expectations and intentions clear, and play to your strengths. By doing so, your re-onboarding process will become smooth, seamless, and satisfactory for all involved.
This article is written by our marketing team at HR Cloud. HR Cloud is dedicated to providing powerful solutions for your HR teams and creating an exceptional employee experience. Our aim is to help your company improve employee engagement, onboarding, and to save you valuable time!
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