5 Tips for Building Trust When Employees Return to Work | Benefits Collaborative

The day where people return to normal routines around work doesn’t seem as far off today as it did just a few weeks ago. As politicians itching to “re-open” the world look at ways to revive normalcy, companies now have to do the same as they consider operational needs and employee safety.

As the work environment shifts back toward what it was, what HR teams will find is that a new normal must now exist. Procedures that were once an afterthought, such as how the break room was cleaned, are now top of mind for everyone from entry level employees to the C-suite. Having the trust of your employees that the workplace is safe for them to return to is paramount to productivity.

And it isn’t just during a period of time when the virus subsides temporarily. The lasting impact of the coronavirus pandemic is that even after a vaccine is developed, it will alter the way people view the cleanliness of public spaces and the amenities at their disposal for things such as washing their hands or cleansing shared surfaces, be it a meeting room table or door handles.

There is a lot more to consider than simply reassuring everyone that the facilities are clean and that the company is doing the best it can to assure everyone’s health. There are cultural aspects of day-to-day business to address as well as implications for the organization’s reputation to consider. As an article from the Society for Human Resource Management notes, job candidates interviewed in the future will ask how the company handled this situation and “about the organization’s business continuity plans, pandemic-specific plans and other coronavirus-oriented practices.”

HR departments have a significant challenge ahead, but not one they should shy away from or feel overwhelmed by.

“I think this is the beginning of the most exciting period we’ve ever been part of,” Eric Torigian, Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Global HR for Akebono Brake Corporation USA told us on a recent episode of the HR Exchange Network podcast. “People are going to figure out how to pour their passion into it. The world has been getting ready for this for a while. We’ve been moving to an online world, a gig economy, toward remote work groups. In the next 20 or 30 years, this world is going to change a lot and people are going to come back to this time and ask ‘who were the people that made the difference?’ I think they’re going to look at HR people and say they’re the ones who led us through this.”

Leadership Considerations

To help you manage current and future employee expectations, here are 5 tips for managing your teams’ return to the workplace.

  1. Get the Timing Right

The government telling everyone to get back to work isn’t likely to inspire faith in a lot of people given how things have been handled so far and the fact that social distancing has been as effective as it has. There are many people who would hesitate to return to a normal working environment in the near future and rushing them back early will likely undermine any good will accrued in facilitating remote work and establishing improved engagement practices during this period.

The first thing to consider is the situation in your local area. The number of new cases in the city and state will drive perception among your employees. Even if numbers are on the decline, a return may be seen as jumping the gun, particularly for large companies with bigger personnel footprints.

Once you decide to put things in motion, spend time discussing team needs with managers to determine which teams can remain remote and which ones are required to return. Then, assemble your operations staff and develop a plan to create safer physical spaces.

Finally, engage with your employees to find out how they’re feeling about a possible return to the office through surveys and town halls. Doing so and incorporating their concerns into your strategy will go a long way toward building the type of trust necessary to maintain a good reputation with your employees.

  1. Facilitate Social Distancing

Social distancing isn’t going anywhere any time soon. This means restaurants will likely have to re-think seating arrangements, cleanliness practices and personal protective equipment and testing for staff before they can re-open. That may mean limiting the scale of business and changing the way people flow through the every part of the building.

Offices will have to consider whether desks spaces are separated enough to comply with social distancing standards and retail operations will need to continue limiting the flow of people into their stores for the time being.

How companies react and commit to this new normal is going to determine how well they maintain morale and what the reaction of returning workers to physical locations will be. For new hires, seeing a commitment to social distancing will reassure them that they’ve joined an organization which has their health and wellbeing top of mind.

  1. Culture of Cleanliness

There is always a lot of talk about culture in HR, and in the wake of this pandemic, that is likely going to have to change as well. But as Torigian noted in our discussion, teaching people how to be responsible around each other and avoid the spread of the virus is a challenge for both organizations and society as a whole.

“That’s not just something that’s good for business, it’s something that is going to be required in the new world,” Torigian said. “We’ll learn how to do it and we’ll get really good at it.”

This means changing social norms. For example, banning handshakes in favor of greeting techniques that respect personal space and safety.

Beyond that, HR teams have to consider what mechanisms are in place to ensure cleanliness, such as hand-washing stations and requirements for different roles. Which employees require personal protective equipment, for example, is a key consideration.

Additionally, using company resources to ensure safety will help employees feel the organization is doing everything in its power to prioritize their health and therefore, will be more dedicated to doing their part. Care packages with cleansing wipes, hand sanitizer, gloves, tissues and other items they can use to stay safe is one small act that could go a long way toward inspiring confidence.

  1. Career Transitions

Businesses are bound to operate differently from here on out and with that comes some new realities. People who have traditionally been in office may no longer be required to be there and some, unfortunately, will not be required at all. That, however, does not mean those people must be cut loose.

Now is an ideal time for companies to engage in career mapping exercises to better understand the capabilities and interests of their employees. There is already talk of mass efforts by some in government to retrain much of the workforce for positions that can be done remotely and for careers that offer different prospects going forward than what they’ve experienced in the past, but that is something that may be better led by HR professionals than government programs.

  1. Invest in Employee Wellness

It may seem an invasion of privacy at first, but given the implications for your staff as a whole, monitoring on-site employees’ health and wellness is a matter of public safety. Some public health experts say that office buildings and public spaces such as bars and restaurants cannot be re-opened until there are testing methods that can be done quickly and accurately to determine if someone is carrying the virus.

We’re likely a ways off from that being a possibility for many businesses, but others are already putting measures in place to conduct temperature checks at entrances and getting creative as they find solutions for social distancing buzzers and one way routes through shared spaces so that people don’t cross paths or come face-to-face with one another.

As an article from Bloomberg noted recently: “The way we work, shop, travel and eat in 2020 – and probably beyond – is being plotted out in boardrooms around the world.”

Meanwhile, office spaces may have to be redesigned, moving away from the open floor plans that have been trending for several years and toward cubicles with high walls so that employees have more isolated spaces.

To get ahead of these issues, now is the time for organizations to begin discussing what their path forward is and consider how much risk they are willing to take on in bringing employees back to work. What improvements need to be made to sanitation procedures, ventilation systems and the structure of the workplace are all things that need to be evaluated.

By HR Exchange Network Editorial Team

Originally posted on hrexchangenetwork.com

103 responses to “5 Tips for Building Trust When Employees Return to Work | Benefits Collaborative

  1. Thanks for your comment. Mudpuppy Mighty Dinosaurs Big Box of Game Do you have a smarty-pants at the table who loves to get even smarter? Our Fun Fact Printable Placemats are a great way to bring fun and smarts to the table. This Dinosaurs set includes EIGHT UNIQUE dinosaur placemats in five different styles so that you can pick the set that suits your style or event. Whether you are The following data may be used to track you across apps and websites owned by other companies: Tom Parker is a 27 year-old Zoology & Computer Science graduate interested in the public outreach of zoology, conservation & vertebrate palaeontology. Palaeoillustrator & educational game developer. Also a devotee of heavy music and Australian rules football. https://rostovdr.ru/community/profile/bennytancred460/ \r\n-Scramble Words is a word-based game influenced by the popular game Outspell, with several updates, thanks to player feedback!\r\n-Unlike most other scramble games, Scramble Words will remember your place in the game, enabling you to come back right where you left off!\r\n-Scramble Words is one of the few games we’ve built utilizing purple as the main game color! We think it’s pretty fitting. Do you know the others?\r\n-Scramble Words is great for native speakers looking to keep sharp, but also for those learning English, as it encourages learning in a gamified manner!\r\n-The mind is a curious being — re-sorting the letters via the toggle at the bottom-left of the game will frequently reveal words that you have previously not seen.

  2. I have been surfing on-line more than three hours today, yet I by no means found any fascinating article like
    yours. It’s pretty worth sufficient for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the net might be a lot
    more helpful than ever before.

  3. I truly love your website.. Great colors & theme.

    Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back
    as I’m attempting to create my own site and would love to know where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named.

    Thanks!

  4. I will right away grasp your rss feed as
    I can’t to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Please let me know in order that I could subscribe.

    Thanks.

  5. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is
    time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire
    to suggest you few interesting things or suggestions.
    Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article.
    I want to read more things about it!

  6. Just wish to say your article is as amazing. The clearness in your post is simply excellent and i could
    assume you are an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep
    up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and
    please continue the rewarding work.

  7. It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be
    happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you
    some interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article.

    I want to read more things about it!

  8. It is the best time to make some plans for the
    future and it is time to be happy. I have
    read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things or
    suggestions. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to
    this article. I want to read more things about it!

  9. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future
    and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting things
    or advice. Perhaps you can write next articles
    referring to this article. I want to read more things about it!

  10. I really love your website.. Pleasant colors & theme.
    Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as
    I’m attempting to create my very own website and would
    love to learn where you got this from or what the theme is called.
    Thank you!

  11. I’ll immediately clutch your rss feed as I can not to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter
    service. Do you’ve any? Kindly permit me understand in order that I could subscribe.
    Thanks.

  12. Hello there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you
    using for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress
    because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.
    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  13. I have been browsing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.
    It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made
    good content as you did, the web will be much more useful than ever before.

  14. Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too. This kind of
    clever work and coverage! Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll.

  15. Hi there, You have performed a great job. I’ll certainly digg it and in my opinion suggest to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this web site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Top