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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Reboarding in the Midst of a Global Pandemic: How to Decrease Stress and Build Resilience

By: Julie McCarthy Ph.D 

Dr. Julie McCarthy is a Professor of Organizational Behavior and HR Management in the Department of Management at the University of Toronto. Julie’s research examines strategies that individuals can use to build resilience and achieve success in their work and home lives.


Even before the current COVID-19 pandemic hit, the fast-paced nature of today’s corporate world was placing increased demands on employees and triggering high levels of exhaustion, disengagement, and illness. Today, more than ever, people around the globe are experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety as they try to navigate the new world of work. Many of us have been working from home for weeks and are eager to return to the workplace. At the same time, there is a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety about this re-boarding process. The goal of this blog post is to highlight strategies to help you re-enter the workplace in ways that will minimize your stress and build your resilience.

BE PATIENT

The first important consideration is to be patient. As we return to work it is essential to understand that everyone’s pandemic experience is different and we can’t assume others are feeling and/or reacting to things the way we are. We also know that tensions have been running high, with many of us feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, and burned out. Therefore, being patient with coworkers and making sure that lines of communication are open is critical.

TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF

During times of stress, it is critical to take care of ourselves but paradoxically it is also during these times that we are less likely to do so. As we return to work we want to ensure that our daily routines include daily exercise, healthy eating habits, and sufficient rest. It is also critical not just to obtain physical rejuvenation, but to couple this with psychological rejuvenation. This means that we need to detach our minds from our current sources of stress and instead allow it to relax. This can be accomplished by selecting activities that you truly enjoy or engaging in activities with family members or friends so that you can really keep your mind in the moment.

TAKE BREAKS

Remember to incorporate breaks into your daily work schedule. The science of breaks tells us that we need a 15-20 minute break for every 1 ½ hours of cognitively demanding work. It’s also important to recognize that we are most productive in the morning and have the least energy between 2-3 pm. So, don’t wait to take breaks in order to rejuvenate!

BOOST THE POSITIVE

Human nature is such that we have a tendency to focus on the negative - particularly during times of threat. This evolutionary mechanism enables us to prepare for danger, as it prompts the fight or flight response. During this unprecedented time of stress, it is very easy for us to slip into negative moods, with feelings of anxiety spiraling quickly into outright panic. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that emotions are contagious – our anxiety can easily spill over to our coworkers. Thus, as we return to work we must take active strategies to minimize these negative emotions and boost positive ones – like joy and optimism. We can do this by priming positivity: actively smile when in the office, incorporate positive music into the office environment, and focus conversations on things that you are feeling positive about.

SHIFT YOUR MINDSET

It’s not always the negative events that happen to us that are the problem – it’s our interpretation of these events. Therefore, as we shift back to working from the office we need to ask ourselves some core questions about the problems that we encounter. This first is whether this problem or issue something that will last forever. Most of the time the answer is no – this issue is unlikely to on your plate a month from now, let alone next year. Second, ask yourself if this problem or issue is affecting your entire While it may seem like it permeates everything, often our problems are focused on a specific aspect of our work and/or home lives. Finally, ask yourself if you are solely responsible for this problem. The vast majority of the time the answer is a resounding no – there are other individuals, environmental factors, and situational factors that are at play. In sum, take a step back and positively reappraise the problems that you encounter as you return back to work.

SLOW DOWN

As we return to this new world of work it is also essential that we protect and rejuvenate our energy so that we don’t end up with high levels of burnout. An important way that we can do this is by slowing down. Many of us have so many things happening at once that we are in a state of “continuous partial attention”, where we have several balls in the air that we are trying to juggle. This leads to distractibility, frustration, and lower productivity. Try to slow down and focus on one thing at a time. Take time for reflection. Consider mindful breathing exercises.

HELP OTHERS

Finally, it is important to recognize that strong interpersonal connections are a source of resilience. Be sure to foster strong relations with your coworkers by engaging in active listening and helping them when you can. Research indicates that when we help others we subconsciously and inadvertently help ourselves. Thus, acts of compassion build our personal resilience. This phenomenon is known as ‘helpers high’.

CONCLUSION

As we slowly return to work, it is essential to engage in strategies that will minimize our stress and build our resilience. This will not only boost personal well-being but will result in increased personal and organizational productivity. It will also spillover to result in higher levels of personal and home satisfaction. Finally, it will have significant and positive effects on your coworkers and family members.

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