Webinar Recap: Bring your employees back to work safely and with no regrets

Preppio recently held a webinar on the topic of reboarding your employees safely after COVID-19. During the webinar, our Chief Scientific Advisor Talya Bauer Ph.D. touched on several important topics to consider with regard to your employee reboarding. These include:

Post-COVID, onboarding will continue to be an important part of successful organizations and their success, but a more pressing concern is that of reboarding. Millions of people have been placed on work-from-home (WFH) status due to company and government decisions for sheltering in place and social distancing. Learn how you can help them get back to work (and safely) from our latest webinar.

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Webinar Minutes

Minutes: Speaker: Headline

0-2: Sean Percival: Agenda and intro

2-10: Talya Bauer: Science of onboarding; The 5 Cs framework:
Compliance, Clarification, Confidence, Connection, and Culture

10-18: Talya Bauer PhD.: COVID-19 and reboarding:
Compliance best practices
Clarity best practices
Connection best practices
Confidence best practices
Culture best practices

18-23: Talya Bauer: Stress and building resilience: 
Julie McCarthy Ph.D. science-based best practices.

23-25: Talya Bauer: Summary

25-26: Amin Fard: Onboarding from a practical point of view
How to implement Talya’s Science into your onboarding process.

26-28: Amin Fard: Intro and about us

28-32: Amin Fard: First impressions matter
Employee engagement and onboarding experience

32-36 Amin Fard: Why invest in the re-boarding experience
Biggest onboarding challenge in human history
How a bard onboarding experience feels like and consequences
How a great onboarding experience feels like with Preppio

36-39: Amin Fard: Demo
How the tool works and how you can get started within hours.

39-46: Talya and Amin: Q&A
1. How will the culture evolve? Talya: This is the story of your company moving forward.
2. Check back as a C? Talya: Very important, how is it going? Surveys etc is important. Amin: Empowering managers to be more hands-on with nudging and coaching managers.
3. What kind of input from the employee does Preppio support? Amin: You can get feedback from employees, like pictures, documents, or feedback.

46-48: Sean Percival: Offer for Workshop
1-1 workshop where we help you write your reboarding process.

Webinar finished


Getting them back and doing it safely is your challenge. Preppio is here to help.


The Role of Safety Climate During the Pandemic

By: Donald M. Truxillo, Ph.D.

Donald Truxillo is a Professor at the Kemmy Business School, University of Limerick, Ireland. He studies the methods employers use to hire workers and the experiences of job applicants during recruitment and hiring. In addition, he examines issues related to workplace safety and health as well as age differences at work.

When returning to the workplace in the midst of the pandemic, employers and employees are all concerned about safety. In fact, people’s willingness to return to work will largely be affected by how safe they think it is to do so. As we know, many workplace safety issues can be addressed through the use of a physical redesign of workplaces in order to reduce contact with objects and increase the physical distance between people. And of course, the organization must give employees the proper tools and equipment to maintain their safety.

However, in addition to these approaches recommended by medical experts, there are other ways that organizations can support the safety and health of their workers. Research has shown that the organization’s safety climate, or the shared value that organizational members place on safety, is one of the most important determinants of worker safety and health. Organizational safety climate is particularly important during the Covid-19 pandemic since safety is largely dependent on the behavior of organizational members – employees, supervisors, and managers.

Luckily, the research also prescribes a number of ways that organizations can support a strong safety climate and safe behaviors among their employees. Let’s talk through some of these ideas and how they might be applicable during the Covid-19 pandemic.

  1. Management as role models and leaders. One of the best ways to promote a climate of safety and health is for top managers to communicate the importance of safety to employees. This comes in the obvious form of top management messaging the importance of safety – everything from emails to web materials. But one of the most important factors, often overlooked by managers, is the importance of modeling safe and healthy behaviors themselves. For example, if top management were to promote a new safety training program, they would need to be among the first to take the training as well. By the same token, if management wants to promote hand-washing, physical distancing, or mask-wearing, they need to adhere to these protocols themselves. Furthermore, managers cannot promote production over safety (e.g., “Yes, I know there’s a safety problem, but let’s talk about it later since we need to get the product out today.”) And managers need to be willing to listen to employee concerns and show that safety is just as important as production. This includes being willing to take actions that may impact production when safety issues are identified.
  2. The critical role of supervisors. Direct supervisors play one of the most critical roles in promoting safety and health. Like top managers, they need to communicate and model safety – and they should be given the proper supports to do so, such as training. In fact, one of the most important determinants of safe behavior by employees is whether they perceive safety as being supported by supervisors. During a crisis such as the current pandemic, supervisors need to be trained on what the organization’s safety protocols are and how to communicate these to employees. They also need to be trained in how to support and address the concerns employees who may be fearful of returning to work or who may be at high risk. Relatedly, supervisors should listen to employees’ concerns and ideas about safety and pass these back along to management in order to address these concerns. And if training is needed to help supervisors know how to talk to employees about safety, that training should be provided. When leaders show genuine concern for their team it can lead to conversations with employees that help everyone to stay safe.
  3. Employees as a safety resource. Obviously, employees are key to workplace safety. But they also provide a valuable resource to supervisors and managers for understanding safety problems so that they can be solved quickly. Employees may be the first to spot safety and health problems in the workplace, and encouraging them to communicate these to the organization is critical for developing solutions. Part of this is that employees need to believe that supervisors and managers aren’t just giving “lip service” to valuing safety. Leaders at all levels need to be willing to have often difficult listening sessions and conversations with employees about problems that need to be addressed. Doing so creates a safer environment for employees, and it can often make employees more willing to return to work.

In short, many organizations have found that a strong safety climate is the secret to successful safety programs. Without such a climate in place, other safety programs and training may be for naught. With a good safety climate, the other pieces of the safety puzzle click together.

Getting them back and doing it safely is your challenge. Preppio is here to help.


Going Back to Work Post-COVID: Reboarding Best Practices

By: Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Advisor, Preppio

Onboarding is the process of helping new employees learn the requirements, expectations, and culture of their new organizations. It is a process that is critical for getting new employees off to a strong and productive start and when done well, it leads to employees feeling more clear on role expectations, connected to their colleagues, confident in their ability to successfully do their job and navigate the organization and to understand and embody the organization’s culture. It also means that employees are more engaged, have better job attitudes, and are less likely to leave the organization. I began studying onboarding over two decades ago.

In 2010, I created the “C’s of Onboarding” framework compliance, clarification, confidence, connection, and culture. Compliance refers to things that must be done when new employees start things like getting paperwork completed, the badging process, and provisioning tasks like equipping new employees with computers and phones as well as a workspace.  Clarification refers to how well new employees understand their roles and performance expectations. Confidence refers to how much new employees feel like they can do the job well and tackle new challenges. Connection refers to how accepted and valued new employees feel. Culture refers to how well new employees understand the norms, values, stories, and symbols of their new organization.

The 5 “C’s” of Effective Onboarding include a focus on compliance, clarification, confidence, connection, and culture. Organizations that focus on the 5 “C’s” demonstrate more successful onboarding and business outcomes than those that do not.

Post-COVID, onboarding will continue to be an important part of successful organizations and their success, but a more pressing concern is that of reboarding. Millions of people have been placed on work-from-home (WFH) status due to company and government decisions for sheltering in place and social distancing. Before COVID, it was not unusual for some people in some industries to work remotely at least a few days per week. Now, the droves of new workers have learned how to successfully navigate the challenges of working remotely. This has led organizations such as Twitter to announce that employees will have a choice to return to the office or continue working from home forever if they are able.[1] And, in the short run, large organizations such as Google and Facebook have announced that employees will be working remotely at least until the end of 2020. Estimates range from 25 to 41% of employees estimated to work-from-home post-COVID.[2]

As the Twitter announcement indicates, returning back to work post-COVID will not be business as usual. In order to prepare for reboarding, organizations should consider key factors, and looking to best practices for onboarding can be helpful in addressing reboarding post-COVID.  While there are many factors to consider, I am focusing on the following employee needs following the 5 C’s of Onboarding framework to help with employees returning to physical offices as well as furloughed employees returning to work.

Post-COVID Reboarding Considerations and Best Practices

  • COMPLIANCE:
    • Provide clear guidance regarding new rules and policies A huge part of new employee onboarding is learning what the requirements are for the new job and meeting those. This might include filling out paperwork or signing legal documents and forms with HR. Post-COVID, organizations are likely to have new policies and procedures in place. These new rules will

Focus on health and safety– Related to the need for clear guidance regarding new rules and policies, organizations that focus on the health and safety of their returning employees are likely to be concerned for their physical health and safety. Organizations that make it clear, through their words and actions, that this is a priority for them as well will go a long way toward helping employees re-engage and feel a sense of obligation to reciprocate to support their organization.

  • CLARITY:
    • Support work-family considerations– The lines between work and family have become more and more blurred over time with the increase in online access and cell phones making us available more now than ever. However, physically being at work did help with the clarity in terms of such lines. During the COVID pandemic, this has not been the case for many employees who have worked while juggling family members, roommates, and even pets in real-time along with their work. We have all seen meetings and interviews with pets barking and kids interrupting their parents with a question. As employees return back to work, part of the challenge of reboarding will be helping them to navigate these blurred lines now that “professionalism” has been tempered with “humanism” and the idea that we are all doing the best we can in terms of our work and our families.
  • CONNECTION:
    • Provide emotional support– Helping employees engaging in reboarding the organization post-COVID will require a focus on helping employees manage their emotions and anxiety. More now than ever, employee assistance programs and other benefits are necessary to offer and make accessible to employees who may need them. Openly addressing the issue and normalizing emotions is a potentially useful and healthy approach to help employees get back to normal and feel more connected to one another and the organization.
  • CONFIDENCE:
    • Rebuild trust– Some organizations have done a good job of showing empathetic leadership in the face of challenging circumstances. Others have not done as well. Regardless, the physical distance and record global unemployment we’ve experienced as a society will mean that some confidence and trust has been lost and will need to be rebuilt so that it does not erode further.
  • CULTURE:
    • Support cultural evolution– Organizational culture is not a static thing. It is intangible and it evolves. Every new employee who joins an organization is influenced by it and also has an influence upon it. Post-COVID, a big part of reboarding success will depend on how well an organization supports cultural evolution. In other words, the creation of new norms, new stories, new rituals, and new ways of getting work done and connecting with one another at work. While this cultural evolution will happen with or without organizational support, those who are able to help facilitate a healthy dialog about cultural changes and evolution will be poised to come out stronger on the other end of the pandemic recovery process.

Conclusion

The points provided here are easier said than done. They are worth the effort. By focusing on these considerations and best practices will likely set organizations apart from those who evolve and emerge stronger than before the pandemic and those who see engagement erode and employees leave as soon as other opportunities are available.


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Onboarding Checklist: Connections and the Need to Belong

By: Talya N. Bauer, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Advisor, Preppio

I believe that relationships matter primarily because they connect us as human beings. Few would actively disagree with such a statement. However, successful relationships often require intention and effort. Interestingly, when it comes to onboarding, many organizations assume that a new employee’s need to belong and to connect with colleagues will simply “work itself out” with time. It might – but then again, it might not. Therefore, I’ve made it my mission to help organizations develop proactive and strategic onboarding approaches that cultivate a sense of connection and belonging for new employees.

I first became exposed to the three levers (confidence, clarity, and connection) of successful onboarding over 25 years ago as a doctoral student pursuing my Ph.D. in business at Purdue University. Our early work, which examined research scientists working toward doctoral degrees, indicated that these three levers were important keys to onboarding leading to engagement, effectiveness, and retention. Subsequent research has consistently confirmed these findings and expanded these initial levers to the 5 C’s of onboarding (compliance, confidence, clarity, connection, and culture).

Helping new employees feel more confident, have greater role clarity, and feel more connected all matter. More importantly, when individuals feel more accepted and connected to those around them, it is easier for them to ask clarifying questions and gain confidence. Thus, when I am working with organizations to help them maximize their onboarding program success, I recommend that after they have dealt with the basics of strong onboarding, they focus on specific ways to help new employees feel welcome and to jumpstart the process of their connections even before they arrive on the first day of their job.

The manager holds a special key to the connection process. In research I conducted with a colleague, we found that being unable to establish meaningful connections with coworkers led new engineers to seek less information. However, if the new engineer and his or her manager were able to connect, the newcomer could overcome this hurdle even in the face of conflict with coworkers. In other words, the relationship the new employee has with his or her manager was crucial to establishing a sense of belongingness in the organization and this relationship enabled them to freely seek information from the supervisor. Hence, these employees were positioned to succeed in the organization.

When it comes to onboarding success, relationships matter. Relying on new employees to “sink or swim” when it comes to connecting with coworkers and managers is a risky strategy. Organizations can help new employees maximize success by engaging in onboarding best practices which I have developed and presented below which are based on research, consulting, and observations regarding new employee success. And, when you invest in new employees, they invest back into their co-workers, customers, and the organization.


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