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On-boarding New Employees During the Pandemic

Create a re-boarding plan to get everyone back to the office seamlessly.

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced many companies to alter how and where their teams work. Maybe they opened up their physical offices or stores, or they modified their work schedules to remote work, or “back-to-office" work, or a hybrid approach using an A / B cohort system.

In the first quarter of 2021, as the government distributes the vaccine, and as the virus starts to find herd immunity, there will be a back-to-office movement. Of course, this will include the appropriate and necessary precautions with regards to sanitizing, social distancing, and wearing masks.

The idea is to get your teams back to a comfortable and motivated workplace.

When it comes to productivity, you want your team to be as productive as possible, as quickly as possible. It is hard to assume that months out of the office will support a seamless return. Through re-boarding, you can review your modifications to the physical office and the new protocols that you have added to the work processes. You must, once again, set the expectations for them and the team. Do not expect anyone to pick up where they left off as that would be expecting too much.

During a re-boarding, you can update all employees with a post-pandemic office's new practices and policies. You may have new protocols concerning the cohorts you may institute, including the use of video conferencing and/or an emergency plan of action should there be a need. Now is the time to review those changes, set expectations, and listen to their concerns. React and revise as needed.

When it comes to motivation, re-boarding is the time to ensure that everyone feels emotionally settled. This process should allow you to address your team's concerns.

A well-thought-out plan should be comprehensive to cover most situations. However, it should also allow you to pivot as needed. This flexibility will provide assurance to your team that their concerns will be addressed.

This is the time to be empathetic —to ask what is needed to help people so they can perform at their best. A new environment can raise anxiety. Therefore, preparing your employees for their return to the office, and listening to them becomes critical.

Communication takes on a new meaning during this process. It is essential to involve TAB Boards and executive coaches when discussing and working on your plan. From what we know (and hope) today, 2021 brings us back to a world without a pandemic and with new tools from which our business can gain efficiencies and increase profit. Taking care of your team with comprehensive re-boarding is the foundation for this to happen.

In addition to TAB peer advisory boards, our toolbox includes “Re-boarding — the Engagement Report.” If you need help creating and executing a re-boarding plan, contact me today.

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