Your people are not going back to the same workplace they left in March 2020 when the first UK lockdown started. In the last 18 months the world has changed, and these differences will be around for the foreseeable future. Now we need to help our people to transition from the ‘temporary’ ways of working we’ve had in place since then, to a new, safe, and inclusive workplace. This is the principle behind reboarding.
Reboarding is the idea of welcoming your people back in a similar way as you would ‘onboard’ new employees; creating training and resources to help them make the move back to the office, or whatever new ways of working you have envisaged for your business’s future.
Creating this plan and process can be daunting, but think of it as the chance to design a new, improved employee experience that you can be proud of.
- Agree on the Vision & Make a Plan
Before you start, you need to be clear on what your new workplace will look like. As with all things, we would encourage you to consult with as many of your people as possible rather than rolling out your ideal solution and discovering that it will not work for your teams. Surveys are telling us that single people want back to the office and couples want to work at home; that Millennials want back to their desks while Gen X want to work from home forever – without trying too hard I’m sure you can think of a dozen examples from your people, friends, and family where these generalisations do not apply, so please don’t assume that you know what people will want to do. Just ask them instead.
- Support your Leaders so they can support your People
Once you have your vision and plan in place, get your leaders ready. You need to support them so that they are in a place to support their teams. Many of us have relied on our managers to take on new responsibilities around the wellbeing of their teams when we were thrust into lockdown the first time. Now as we seek to change their ways of working again, your people may feel anxious and out-of-place, and you need to equip your leaders to help support your teams through this.
- Prepare, Train, and take Feedback
Ensure leaders know where they can access resources to help them to reboard their teams successfully; offer them updated training so they are confident about answering their people’s questions and addressing any concerns; and provide them a way to pass feedback upwards on what the teams are asking for, and let them know that this feedback is being acted on.
- Respect Individual Needs
If there was one simple lesson that we could impart on the businesses working through their reboarding plans right now, it is ‘treat your people as individuals’. No two people had the same experience of the pandemic, and it could be that no two people in your organisation require the same support as they return to the workplace. Recognise their unique experiences, discover their needs, and your people will thrive.
For support developing your reboarding plan, get in touch with Connect Three today.