The long nightmare is over. (At least, we hope it is.) After months of restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, many businesses are getting back to work. That means they’re calling furloughed employees and returning to regular operations.
However, that process might prove more complicated than we think. A lot has happened in the last couple of months, and some restrictions remain in place. At the same time, the threat of a second wave of coronavirus looms. It all combines to create a difficult logistical, psychological, and regulatory maze to navigate.
These factors also make it complicated to bring back furloughed workers. However, there are steps you can take to facilitate a smooth transition. Here are four tips to keep in mind as you bring employees back to work:
Focus on Communication
Your goal in bringing back furloughed workers is re-establishing your normal routines. However, the definition of “normal” will likely be different than it was before the outbreak. The altered environment will put communication at a premium.
As you open up, you’ll need your employees to follow new procedures and updated protocols. As a result, transitioning back to work will require significant coordination. To reach optimum efficiency, you’ll need to set up an airtight system of communication. That way, you can keep everyone informed and foster the type of discussions necessary to get back on track.
Make Employees Feel Safe
Before the virus hit, you had a detailed safety plan. Your culture included a commitment to keeping your employees healthy and secure. That program remains in place…it’s just gotten a little broader.
The virus has left many people scared and confused. Your workers might be reluctant to return unless they are assured that you can maintain a virus-free facility. Create the necessary precautions to minimize the risk of infection. What’s more, make sure your workers are aware of your commitment to keeping them safe. These steps will boost confidence as you return to operations.
Plan for the Future
The coronavirus outbreak represents a fluid situation. Conditions can change quickly. You are returning to work now, but experts to see the very real possibility of another spike in coronavirus cases. Another furlough might be in the future.
Make sure to plan for this contingency. The first wave of COVID-19 took most businesses by surprise. Don’t let this happen again. The transition should be easier next time around if you make sufficient plans.
Think about Retention and Recruitment
Some of your workers might not come back at all. During the time they were furloughed, some of your employees may have found other opportunities. Meanwhile, others might be reluctant to return to work, fearing safety implications.
As a result, you may have to conduct a round of hiring to replace those departing workers. On the one hand, this might be difficult, as you’re trying to juggle the return of furloughed workers while simultaneously onboarding new ones. On the other hand, the mass layoffs that accompanied the coronavirus outbreak will leave you with a sizable talent pool to draw from as you ramp up operations.
If you face another shut down in the future, make retention plans before announcing furloughs. Be sure to secure your best employees. Find ways to keep them going during the downtime, so you’re assured that your top performers will return when the furlough ends.
Any challenge gets easier when you have the right staff in place. Partnering with a top-flight recruiting firm, like Recruiting In Motion, makes that possible. Let them take your team-building to the next level.