Back To Office: How to Create a Re-onboarding Plan
As employees start heading back to the office after almost two years of being confined to their homes, it’s time to start planning for Day One 2.0. And creating a re-onboarding plan should be on top of your to-do list!
Offices will likely look little, if at all, as the employees remember them. Stringent safety and hygiene measures, hybrid workforces, and the pressure of interacting with colleagues both old and new are just some of the things that will greet them at the door.
We dove into our learnings from Tydy’s journey with digital re-onboarding and data-driven EX to help you create a blueprint for a re-onboarding plan that will ensure your employees get the most out of their Day One 2.0!
The Big Cs
Go back to the basics!
● Compliance – familiarizing your employees with organizational rules and regulations.
● Clarification – ensuring that employees understand their new jobs and all related expectations.
● Culture – is a broad category that includes providing employees with a sense of organizational norms both formal and informal.
● Connection – the vital interpersonal relationships and information networks that new employees must establish.
We believe there are two more that are essential to onboarding success:
● Coordination – making sure all that needs to be done for the new employee across HR, finance, admin, IT, etc. is as smooth and seamless as possible.
● Capability – helping your new hire plan and enhance her professional journey through training, mentorship& all the tools she needs to succeed.
Between them, the six Cs cover all aspects of an employee’s experience and interaction with the organization. Make these the pillars of your re-onboarding strategy as well, to make it as comprehensive and effective as possible.
Reach out well in advance
You can safely bet that employees have started thinking, and in most cases, worrying about returning to the office since the day they got that email! That’s why it’s important that you reach out to them at least a few weeks before Day One 2.0 to start communicating with them about what to expect.
This also means that their re-onboarding must happen online. This offers a great opportunity to redesign your communication if you haven’t done so already.
● Keep your communication bite-sized and simple.
● Make it interactive and engaging.
● Make sure it’s easy to access across devices.
● Give clear information and instructions regarding the new health and safety measures.
Keep these tips in mind while making your re-onboarding plan, to ensure that employees have enough time to absorb it all and start getting comfortable with what to expect on Day One 2.0.
Introduce them to their new workspace
EX expert and author Jacob Morgan says that the physical workspace comprises 30% of the employee experience. This makes it an important aspect to focus on, especially now.
The offices that your employees are coming back to, likely look and feel very different from when they left. Workplaces will have to follow strict safety and hygiene rules with masks, sanitization stations, social distancing, and strict policies around hygiene in place.
Introducing employees to their old-yet-new workspace will have to be an important part of your re-onboarding plan.
● Ensure your re-onboarding plan gives clear, detailed, and uniform instructions about what to expect from the new office space.
● Tell employees how to navigate it, by including maps and interactive tools.
● Have a clear plan for who employees can approach with problems and questions.
● According to a recent survey, 66% of employees said that they were worried about their health and safety when it comes to returning to the workspace so highlight changes that have been made to boost safety and hygiene.
A good re-onboarding plan can make the transition from their cozy homes back into the office, as painless as possible!
Want us to help you re-onboard your employees? Get in touch!
Zoom in to offline teams
Just like office spaces, even the people in them will have changed in so many ways.
Some old colleagues would have left their jobs while new ones would have joined. For returning employees, it will be an emotional rollercoaster as they miss their old teammates and try to establish a rapport with new ones.
Research shows that belonging became 12% more important for employee happiness during COVID-19 so this is something you’ll have to give due attention to while creating a re-onboarding plan.
This is easier said than done because as Linda Hill, a professor at Harvard Business School warns - you can’t assume that your employees will tell you if they’re feeling anxious about re-entry. But these undercurrents could very well affect the quality of work and output over the first few months of ‘Back to Office’.
What can you do to come up with a pre-emptive strategy? Here are some ideas:
● Clear communication about team and reporting structures, job roles and responsibilities during re-onboarding.
● Create a buddy system, ideally pairing new hires with returning employees who can help them settle in and help everyone get to know each other.
● Plan icebreaker meetings on DayOne 2.0 for teams to interact before they dive into work.
● Set up a feedback/grievance redressal system for employees who might seek support or have concerns during the first few weeks.
● Share training material on any new SaaS solutions you may be implementing as part of your back-to-work plan so employees can get comfortable with these before they come back to office.
A re-onboarding plan can go a long way in ensuring that there is better communication and collaboration between team members. With a clear idea of their place in the team, adequate opportunities to interact with and get to know each other, and abetter understanding of the overall culture, employees will feel much happier and more confident walking into the office on Day One, 2.0.
Set the tone
Should I be happy and excited to meet my colleagues? Or sad about the global pandemic that kept the offices locked for so long? Maybe I should be sombre and serious given the grim situation. But then will people think I am being unfriendly and a wet blanket?
Your employees, new and old, are very likely to be stressed out about some version of these questions. To avoid this confusion and potential awkwardness, pay attention to the ‘culture’ part of your re-onboarding plan.
● Keep the tone and look of your re-onboarding communication in line with the office culture you hope to achieve on and after Day One 2.0.
● Talk about how you plan to welcome the employees back to office. They will be excited to return if they feel you are too!
● Include some form of direct communication (preferably video) from senior management and leadership, to make employees feel valued and cared for.
● Take this opportunity to remind/introduce all employees to any extra initiatives, clubs or associations within/affiliated with your organization.
Usually, while putting together a re-onboarding plan, HR managers can set the tone for the culture they want to establish in the workplace. This is an unprecedented, rare opportunity to define and create culture almost from scratch which can otherwise take up to a few years!
So, embrace the opportunity and lay the foundation for a culture that is inclusive, interactive, flexible, and healthy for everyone.
Not only will your employees walk into the office feeling less vulnerable and more excited to start a brand-new chapter, but they will also always remember how their organization supported and welcomed them, even during the toughest of times!
Sound like your2022 #EXGoals? Get in touch if you’d like us to help you with your Re-Onboarding plan!