New ways of working: How to effectively support your people
As your people start returning to workplaces, listening and acting on their feedback is more important than ever. Here’s how to do it effectively...
Adjusting to new workplace norms amid the ongoing pandemic will take time and significant change management. Many employees are adapting to new ways of working as the employee experience continues to change in dramatic ways.
As a result, listening to and acting on employee feedback is more important than ever. Rather than only gathering feedback through an annual engagement survey, it’s critical to also establish an ongoing conversation with employees where they can share in-the-moment feedback on how they’re adjusting in a dynamic environment.
To help organizations maintain a conversation with employees throughout the transition, our team of Industrial Organizational Psychologists have developed the Return to Work Ongoing Pulse.
The feedback gathered through this pulse becomes leadership’s go-to source while navigating through this new phase of back to business as they help employees adapt to new ways of working.
Your 4-step plan to get your people back to work
Step 1: Assess your organization's needs
Every organization is different, you’ll first need to answer these questions to build the foundation of your plan:
- Do you want to frequently check in with employees on their well-being?
- Do you have employees who will be returning to an office or other physical on-site location?
- Do you have employees who will work remotely long-term?
- Do you have employees who will be returning from furlough, leave of absence (LOA), or layoff that need to be re-integrated?
- Do you want to ask questions specifically of your managers or executive leaders regarding leading through these changes?
- Do you want to understand how employees are feeling about resuming business travel?
Step 2: Assess your employees’ needs
The Return to Work Ongoing Pulse is a multi-dimensional solution that assesses the specific needs from all corners of your organization. Including your people who are returning onsite, employees continuing to work remotely, employees returning from furlough, leave of absence, and those who’ve been made redundant.
Use the fully customizable, targeted question blocks for each employee segment to find out:
- How comfortable employees feel returning to the workplace
- Specific concerns they have returning to the workplace
You’ll also want to frequently check in on employee well-being. The Return to Work Ongoing Pulse gives you three short questions to assess current workforce morale, and what your organization is doing and can do to positively influence employees’ well-being.
Now is the ideal time to check in with employees who have returned on-site to gather insights on the most pressing topics during the immediate return to work phase. Including:
- Any health & safety, or comfort concerns they have
- How well they understand the latest safety policies and procedures
- Their confidence in safety measures being taken by the organization
It’s also important to check-in with your remote employees to ensure they are supported, productive, and enabled.
Make sure you fully understand the unique needs of temporary remote employees, those who regularly worked remotely prior to COVID-19, as well as those for whom long-term remote work will be new.
Use the Return to Work Ongoing Pulse to gather information on:
- Remote work preferences and productivity
- Barriers and benefits of remote work
- Remote work support and resources
Listen to all corners of your organization
If you have furloughed employees returning to work, it’s crucial to make sure their voices are also heard. As well those people who may have been forced to take a leave of absence due to personal responsibilities, such as childcare.
These employees may find that many things have changed upon returning to the workplace and will need support re-integrating.
Use the Return to Work Ongoing Pulse to understand employee sentiment around:
- Role re-integration and upskilling, including effective communication of changes and training
- Benefits and Resources, including understanding of what is available, effectiveness of communication, and additional needs
Managers will also need support. Get feedback on the areas they need to get right to successfully lead employees through this transition and prepare them for the new ways of working, including:
- Challenges related to managing remote teams
- Availability of tools/resources
- Communication from senior leadership
And finally, deep dive into other topics such as:
- Executive Alignment: streamlining communication and decision making in the context of shifting business priorities
- Resilience: employees feeling in control, supported, and confident in themselves and the future of the company
- Communication: how well communications are landing for employees
- Work-Life Balance: employees’ ability to effectively balance work and personal lives
- Travel Comfort: employees general comfort traveling and what their top concerns are about resuming business travel
Step 3: Analyze the data and results
Most organizations now have a special COVID-19 taskforce or committee consisting of business leaders, business continuity teams, Human Resources, and communications professionals.
All the data collected from your Return to Work Ongoing Pulse should be provided to your COVID-19 taskforce. The insights will help them make informed decisions quickly and tailor policies, protocols, and communications to employees during this uncertain and rapidly evolving environment.
Step 4: Take action
Once you have these insights, it’s crucial to take action. Make sure you:
- Prioritize actions - identify your lowest scoring questions as a starting point
- Leverage open-ended comments - this will help you to understand what’s top-of-mind for employees
- Communicate results - share what you've learned with your people for alignment
- Close gaps between groups - get support to the groups that need it the most
- Look for ideas and solutions from your employees - use the open text comment suggestions to kick-start your next steps
Start listening and taking action. Get start with the Return To Work Ongoing Pulse
February 15, 2023
How two iconic Australian organisations are rewriting the playbook for EX
January 30, 2023