Many years ago, when employers were struggling as they are today, I recommended for their long-tenured employees that they consider conducting a “re-orientation” for these employees. As employees return to the workplace post-COVID, business leaders will have this unique opportunity to conduct re-orientation of their employees – all of them.
The Benefits of Re-Orientation
This re-orientation is business leaders’ opportunity to reconnect their valued employees with each other and the company. This event offers a chance to talk about new safety protocols and help employees to feel comfortable about going back into the workplace.
A Suggested Model for Re-Orientation
Appearance by an Executive. Welcoming your employees back to the organization as honored guests will make them feel special. When companies include an appearance by an executive, it engenders feelings of being valued, especially when the leader expresses respect for the contribution of the individual, as well as communicating understanding and empathy for what we have all been through during the past 15 months.
Talk about your new safety protocols. One of the primary concerns that employees have is their physical safety. They want to know that the company has their health in mind and has thought through bringing people back to the workplace. Remember the plant/office tour from the original orientation? When you give people that re-orientation tour, be sure to point out the changes you have made in the areas of employee safety.
Communicate the significance of the individual’s contribution. When people understand the vital role they play, there is less absenteeism and higher productivity. When people know that their work is important and appreciated, they learn that when they are absent, others miss their contributions.
Training within re-orientation. You can make re-orientation fun by including some sort of training or game. What works best is to incorporate company or industry trivia into a game. Including this enjoyable learning experience will help employees feel like re-orientation was a good investment of their time.
Discuss Career Pathing. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some employees to rethink their career choices. Talking about the career pathing available within your organization will help employees to make alternative career choices within the organization. This discussion of career pathing could save the company untold employee turnover giving it the chance to refocus valued employees’ efforts in the directions of their choice.
Talk about Stay Interviews. When employees are asked to participate in an interview, they often jump to the conclusion that their jobs are in jeopardy. In fact, when it comes to “stay interviews,” the opposite is actually the case. Stay interviews are ways to find out what employees particularly like or don’t about their jobs, their environments and any other aspect of their work. Let employees know ahead of time that this scheduled check-in is happening.
Remind employees about all of the rewards of working there. When companies restate all of the different benefits that employees and their families enjoy, the organization will be able to retain the employees more easily. Moreover, many of your employees have forgotten about all that you are doing for them.
Gift them with a welcome-back present. It’s a good idea to end re-orientation by giving each new employee a small gift – a coffee mug or mouse pad for their desks, a t-shirt or gym bag, or some other tangible gift that says the organization is happy to have them back. The welcome-back gift does not have to be costly; it’s the thought that counts! This investment in your valued employee is a physical reflection of your esteem.
Conducting a re-orientation of your employee population will reap untold rewards – both immediately and years into the future. If this re-orientation results in your saving even one valued employee from leaving, you are way ahead of the game.
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