The COVID-19 crisis created so much turmoil that many businesses were questioning their survival. And while there are still some hurdles ahead, their next concern will be how to support their workers after return from these extended times away from the workplace.
These returning employees will have to deal with the virus-related disruptions and adapt to a changing business environment, including further reductions in the workforce. Add to that the protests and violence throughout the country taking a toll on the mental health and productivity of many of these employees.
Here are a few things for leaders to consider as they recall their workers:
Be sensitive to employees’ needs
Before starting a large-scale reentry, find out how your workers feel about a return to work. While some will be grateful and enthusiastic about getting their lives back to some normalcy semblance, others may be fearful about the risks that a return to the workplace might pose for the safety and health of themselves and their loved ones.
In addition to those immediate risks, workers will be confronting long-term uncertainty concerning future lockdowns and their job status: Will their company survive? Will they lose their retirement savings in an upcoming recession? Thoughts like these can compound the stress and worries beyond their health concerns.
Survey your workers regularly
Your workers will fall into various camps, and you should know where they stand. Focus on mental inclinations, and identify their practical concerns. Some will want to return as soon as possible, and others will need more time. Find out why the latter group is not yet comfortable: Are they at higher risk? Do they no longer have childcare? Is there some other reason?
Offer them information about their practical concerns. Let them know about the steps you will be taking to create a safe work environment. Give them suggestions on transportation and childcare issues, and tell them you will work with them wherever possible to overcome them.
Make the planning process for their return transparent
Keep your returning workers in the loop by informing them who is working on the plan and when you will be announcing it. Be clear about your plans for phasing in the returning workers and who will be included in each phase. Keep your workers’ uncertainty at bay by communicating what will happen and what will not be happening. Let them know when you expect to have an answer.
Keep asking for feedback from your people regularly. Maintain a recurring dialogue with all your employees. Also, keep in mind that some of your people will have less choice about when to return. You will need to address these inequalities with sensitivity.
Do you need more help with returning workers or hiring new people?
Talk to a staffing agency that can assist you! Contact the professionals at Select Staff, a top recruitment agency in Dallas, Texas, and throughout the state.