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In organizations, we celebrate the sales team for bringing new business to the firm. After all, a company can’t survive for long without revenue. But, on the other side of many org charts sits the isolated, often forgotten, customer service team. This department is usually regarded as a cost center, rather than a company asset.

If you’re considering customer service as a money pit, think again. According to American Express, 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether to do business with a company. Quality customer support is imperative for sales

If your company sees service as a weight, you’re likely leaving revenue on the table and alienating customers. Invesp notes that investing in new customers is between 5 and 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. In fact, in 2019 nine percent of American consumers switched companies due to poor customer service, says New Voice Media.

For best results, both sales and service need to work in tandem to provide the best-in-class experience your customers deserve. Let’s explore how to foster a winning dynamic between the two teams.

Also Popular: Managing the Dynamics Between Your Sales and Service Teams

The Significance of Customer Service

Before we dive into strategy, let’s examine the true significance of your company’s customer service department. Although the perception often is that this team exists solely to put out complaint fires and appease customers, the reality is that they do so much more. Did you know, 73% of customers fall in love with a brand and remain loyal because of friendly customer service reps, reports RightNow. 

Customer service is the front line for your business. They make or break the customer experience. Want more proof? New Voice Media also reports that the #1 reason customers switch to a new brand is that they feel unappreciated, while 78% of customers have backed out of a purchase due to poor customer experience. 

Starting to see how customer service impacts sales? If you need more convincing, consider that consumers are willing to spend 17% more on a company with outstanding customer service, reports American Express, and 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service, according to HubSpot Research. 

When the customer service team is operating at peak efficiency, they do much more than resolve issues. They foster relationships with customers. They put smiles on their faces. And they leave a favorable lasting impression of your brand in their minds. All of this equals a high customer retention rate, which means higher revenues. Bain & Company quantified this in a recent report stating that increasing customer retention rates (i.e. keeping customers happy) by just 5% can increase profits between 25% and 95%!

And, if they have the right skill set, personality, and training, your customer service team can actually bring in new business, too. They’ll nimbly move from problem solver to cross-seller or upseller, which increases customer satisfaction -- and your profits. Essentially, they’ll become an extension of your sales team.

In short, the department is absolutely vital to your company’s longevity and growth.

Why Sales and Customer Service Must Align

It’s tough for customer service to shine when they’re in conflict with the sales department. And you want them to shine, because as many as 49% of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a more personalized experience, according to a Segment Survey. Often selling on commission, your sales team is typically concerned with one thing and one thing only: closing the deal. This revenue-oriented drive can lead them to over-promise things to your customers. And, when the company can’t deliver, customer service is left holding the bag.

Over promising and under delivering comes with a whole host of problems for your customer service department. Those issues include:

And -- the detrimental impact to your customers can’t be overstated. When your company fails to serve them as promised, they’ll rightfully become angry and distrustful. Even worse, you’re likely to lose repeat business and, according to American Express, angry American customers are likely to share their negative experiences with about 15 people. 

So, when sales and service are at odds, interdepartmental communication will be poor, job satisfaction will plummet, customer retention will worsen, and the company’s bottom line will suffer. If you can get them in sync, though, you’ll have a happy, tight-knit workforce that closes more deals and delights customers. So, how can you get the two departments on the same page?

How to Improve the Interdepartmental Dynamic

As a leader, there are four key things you need to do to improve the interdepartmental dynamic:

Let’s look at each in turn.

Align Indicators of Success

The first place to look is your scorecard and your company metrics for success. Do sales and service match up? Are they working towards the same established goals? And, more importantly, do employee behaviors align with those stated success indicators? 

For example, if customer service has a goal of responding to all inquiries within two business days, the sales team shouldn’t promise a same-day response. The two teams must act as one and present a clear and consistent message to customers. After all, they are both working towards the same ultimate goal of making the company successful.

Create a Culture of Collaboration

Your company needs to make collaboration a normal, celebrated part of doing business that gets prioritized. Ideas and data should flow freely between the two departments. And everyone in the firm, including the sales team, should adopt the mantra that customer service is a mindset, not just a department. Bottom line: the lines of communication must stay open, and the once near-adversarial relationship should become more team-oriented.

Offer Team Building Opportunities

To promote unity between the two groups, offer ample opportunities for team building. When sales and service get together in an informal but planned way, they’ll get to know each other as people and gain empathy for one another’s perspective. Sales may think twice about promising the moon to a customer just to make a sale when they know service could have to deal with customer disappointment down the line.

In addition, seeing each other perform their respective roles can be eye-opening. They’ll understand the other department’s challenges and gain respect for everything that goes into being successful in that position. Consider arranging cross-department job shadowing between sales and service at the time of hire - and on an ongoing basis to cement these new perspectives. 

And, if appropriate, consider job swapping. An extroverted customer service representative with a competitive streak might enjoy being in sales for a day or two. And a detail-oriented sales associate may benefit from taking on a temporary customer service role. Just be sure you’re not setting your employees up to fail. If their personality doesn’t lend itself to the opposite role, this strategy isn’t a good fit for them - or your unsuspecting customers.

Provide the Right Structure, Tools, and Resources

The best philosophies and attitudes don’t mean a thing if the actual company structure and business processes don’t support them. As a leader, you must provide the structure, tools, and resources your teams require to perform at their best. That could mean ensuring adequate communication systems exist (think interoffice messaging) or physically situating the departments closer together in the office to facilitate more face-to-face conversations. The key is to make collaboration as easy as possible.

How Omnia Can Help

If you want to better understand your team members and discover ways to help them function as a cohesive group, a Team Dynamic Report can help. Based on the results of our signature behavioral assessment, this report shows how likely each team member is to communicate with each other and reveals deeper insight into their individual strengths and weaknesses. The report will give you an action plan to facilitate collaboration, improve communication, and unify your team.

The report can be customized to fit your firm’s unique circumstances. Getting one is easy. Simply fill out a questionnaire and hop on a quick call with us, and we’ll do the rest!

Final Thoughts

Sales and service have long been at odds. But, the truth is -- they’re both playing for the same team! Sometimes, employees just need to be reminded of that. As a leader, you have the power and responsibility to foster a winning dynamic between the two groups. When you do, you’ll have an unstoppable, connected workforce that wows your customers and positions your company for long-term success.

Businesses are about people working in a collection of teams to deliver on your company’s promise.  Your people make up the soul of your company.  Team building unifies people, making them an unstoppable force. Companies with robust team building programs perform better and have a brighter future than those that do not. Organizations “with a soul” outperform the S&P 400 in terms of higher employee engagement and retention, better customer service, long-term profitability, and more than 8x return vs. S&P 400 10-year returns. (Josh Bersin, Simply Irresistible: Engaging the 21st Century Workforce, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, April 2014)

So, how do you create such a plan? And how do you do so when our teammates aren’t all in one physical space? Before we get into how let’s talk about why it’s important to do this.

Main Benefits of Team Building

Before we get into the components you need for a world-class, modern team building program, let’s look at what one can do for your company. If your organization gets team-building right, here’s what you can expect:

Keep in mind that by 2025 Millennials will make up an estimated 75% of the worldwide workforce (Source: Forbes). This will influence many companies’ future corporate cultures and affect communication and collaboration. When considering whether investing in a team-building program is essential, consider that 33% of employees say the ability to collaborate makes them more loyal (Source: The Economist). In comparison, 37% say “working with a great team” is their primary reason for staying with an employer (Source: Gusto).

Need more convincing? When those things are in place, you’ll:

Ready to get started on modernizing your team building program?  Let’s go.

Team Building Program Must-Haves

There are three main things that you must include in your team building program:

Together, these elements will foster a team that trusts each other, cares about one another, and works like a well-oiled machine.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these must-haves.

Activities to Bond

Extremely connected teams show a 21% increase in profitability. Staff who feel supported want to give their best and contribute to their company’s success. (Source: Gallup)

We’re all busy, but don’t discount the occasional non-work specific activities. These give your team the chance to get to know each other as people, not just colleagues. If you’re working virtually, consider a Lunch-and-Learn, a book club, or an after-work virtual Happy Hour with trivia, break out group challenges, and of course -- prizes are a must.

These activities build camaraderie. Interactive experiences create memories that build connections and give way to legendary stories shared across teams for years. These outside work experiences are also another way for people to get to know each other and see a different side of people, which helps build empathy for one another. And, as the connection deepens, trust follows. When that trust is in place, team members will rely on each other, support each other when needed, feel happier, be less likely to burnout, and achieve results.

A side benefit of these activities is how you show up as a leader for your team. They get to see a different side of you too.  Watching you struggle solving a problem or not getting out of an escape room so easily makes you appear a lot more human than you may in the weekly Sales Huddle. Also, these activities may shed light on talents among your team you haven’t discovered yet. They can expose natural strengths and tendencies that may not stand out in the daily work environment.

Opportunities to Learn

Events that let your employees blow off steam absolutely have their place. But, so do activities that help your business and your employees’ professional development. As you fill your team building program calendar, be sure to include opportunities for your team to level-up together. Team members can encourage one another, practice new skills amongst themselves, and hold each other accountable.

Learning experiences in a team environment create an opportunity to mix up groups and build collaboration across teams who may not work together daily or only communicate through email.  At The Omnia Group, we conduct a monthly learning lab with a variety of topics. We invite guest speakers from industry leaders and clients who give us great insights into their implementations. We watch videos together on topics such as building empathy and active listening. We also encourage people to get together in smaller groups to focus on joint learning that involves building their technical skills around Microsoft Office products and collaboration tools.

When you make professional development a priority, your organization’s collective knowledge pool deepens. You allow people to come together and share experiences they wouldn’t necessarily have in just a daily work atmosphere. Systems and processes will inevitably improve. And you’ll see those results in dollars and cents. You’ll also have a team that’s grateful for the investment you’ve made in them. That engagement bolsters the soul of your organization and your bottom line too.

Open Forum to Solve Problems and Innovate

Even the most well-meaning people and skilled professionals experience problems with one another from time to time. Your team building program should provide an open forum to address these issues as they arise. Common concerns that may need to be worked out include ineffective communication, broken processes, production bottlenecks, and team conflicts. These issues left unaddressed build stress, leading to low morale or, even worse -- burnout and turnover.

80% of US employees feel stressed due to ineffective company communication. (Source: Dynamic Signal) CareerBuilder sites that 61% of workers experience burnout and as many as 31% of workers admit to suffering from extreme stress. A company sharing duties, responsibilities, and openly problem-solving can distribute the workload more evenly to boost productivity while relieving stress on employees.

Create “safe” forums where teams can come together to openly communicate and share where they are experiencing breakdowns. Consider taking your teams through learning programs that cover how to give and receive feedback in ways that lessen defensiveness and create openness to hear all sides.  Although you can structure your forum in many ways, it must be a safe, cooperative place for all team members. The emphasis of your discussions should be on what’s happening -- not who may be to blame. Depending on the nature and depth of the problem, it may be worth bringing in a guest expert to facilitate a productive, relationship-oriented solution.  These kinds of sessions, when conducted productively, not only help build team collaboration but core problems get addressed, and innovations can arise. Some of the best ideas can come from these sessions -- new product ideas, process modernizations, and client delivery improvements that take your organization to a whole new level.

How Omnia Can Help

Each team member has a distinct personality. They bring different strengths, values, and worldviews to the table. Behavioral assessments unlock that valuable intel so you can craft a team building program that’s tailored specifically to your group. Your program will be enormously successful because it captures and honors the unique makeup of your team.

Businesses with effective communication are 50% more likely to have lower employee turnover, says a ClearCompany report. Our assessments and behavioral insights can strengthen your company’s communication strategy and company culture, resulting in happier employees who openly communicate, become more productive and profitable, and reduce the likelihood of turnover.

Omnia offers a signature behavioral assessment that gets you the information you need in a snap. It’s fast and simple for employees to take part in, and you’ll receive instant, easy-to-digest results. If you want even more insight, we can also supply a deeper analysis. This, by the way, is another great activity you can use to build collaboration, develop empathy, and open communication across your team.  In other words -- this is a great team-building activity and very easy to do virtually.

Final Thoughts

Strong teams are the cornerstone, the soul, of a thriving business, but they don’t happen overnight.  Your employees want to be a part of a healthy, thriving team. To get a unified group's benefits, you’ll need to create and implement a custom team building program. To give that program the best chance of being successful in today’s modern business world, you must base it on your employees' deep understanding.

97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team affects a task or project (Source: Mckinsey), so imagine what the right insights into your team could do!

Get your program started the right way from the get-go. Contact us today!

Working remotely certainly has its perks for your team members. Sometimes, doing so is a necessity. But, prolonged (or indefinite) physical separation can cause employees to feel lonely and disconnected from their work. Unfortunately, when their morale drops, so does their productivity. 

As a leader, it’s your job to make sure that doesn’t happen. It’s your responsibility to keep your group unified, high functioning, highly effective, and in good spirits. How do you accomplish this when team members are scattered across the country or even the globe?

Bonus read: Conflict Resolution for Teams Working Remotely

Virtual Team Building

Enter: virtual team building. Team building involves getting employees together so that they can feel connected and learn about one another. Done right, the process can result in a tight-knit group that communicates effectively and collaborates to get things done for your organization. For best results, it should be done regularly and regarded as a critical business activity. Virtual team building is taking this important practice online.

Here are four main principles to keep in mind as you design your virtual team building program:

Let’s look at each in detail.

Always Communicate

Clear, continuous communication is always necessary for your team to function at its best. However, it becomes even more critical when your employees are working alone in their homes. They can’t walk down the hall, pop their head into an office, and say, “got a minute?” That means they need to feel comfortable communicating with you and their team members in other ways.

So, how do you ensure that information and support flow as they should? Try implementing these tips:

Use Tools

When your team is virtual, in-person meetings are obviously out. That means you’ll need to find other ways to bring your team together and keep them on the same page. Fortunately, there are many tools you can use to make gatherings and collaboration a snap

For example, Asana and Trello can help your virtual team keep projects organized. Platforms like Slack facilitate conversation throughout the workday. Programs like Zoom allow your team to actually see each other through video chat and are great for presentations. Of course, there are countless other options on the market. Your team’s unique needs will determine which specific tools to implement.

Have Fun

Your employees are people outside of work that have their own interests and like to blow off steam. When you encourage them to be their true selves during business hours, you’ll boost their morale and gain their trust. When you provide opportunities for your team members to be themselves together, they’ll forge lasting bonds that translate to improved employee engagement and productivity.

Here are a few ways your team can do this virtually:

Grow Together

Your team members crave professional development opportunities, whether they’re onsite or remote. When you provide them with a chance to learn new information and skills, you increase their loyalty to your organization, strengthen your team's talent, and set them up for future success. From a team-building perspective, it’s vital to give your group time to grow together.

Here’s how you could do it virtually:

How Omnia Can Help

At Omnia, we believe that truly understanding your team members is the key to leading them effectively. Our behavioral and cognitive assessments reveal deep insight into each employee’s strengths, challenges, and work preferences. This knowledge can help you create the ideal virtual team-building program for your group. The information you’ll get is so good that you might want to encourage results sharing as a team-building exercise!

Final Thoughts

Team building is essential for having a high-producing, tight-knit employee group. But, when your team members are remote, you need to get a little creative to make it happen. With the right tools, some employee intel, a willingness to experiment, and a few online-friendly activities at hand, virtual team building is possible.

Tell us: Which virtual team-building methods work best in your organization?

In the current times, you may have had to furlough or lay off employees. Now that you’re able to hire again you’re considering a rehire. You find yourself weighing the pros and cons of bringing previous employees back to your team. Will this decision be a good move, or is it better to start again?

The fact is, it depends on the specific person you’re reconsidering, the position in question, the culture of your company, and the nature of the former employee’s departure the first time around. Of course, the employee must meet any rehire eligibility requirements, which usually exclude dismissal for cause or violation of ethical or behavioral conduct rules.

The good news is, it is entirely possible for the rehire process to offer a solution where everyone benefits. While HR directors and managers once considered rehiring a former employee to be a bad idea, times are unprecedented and have changed more than anyone could foresee. Many HR directors and hiring managers come to see the potential benefits of rehiring former employees.

Top 5 Reasons to Rehire an Employee

1. A Boost in Morale and Engagement

If employees see their employer is actively working to bring back talented people, it can have a positive effect on morale and engagement, especially if the rehire was well-liked and respected. Rehiring high-performing and high-potential staff can also bring productive teams back together and lay a solid foundation for trust and confidence.

2. Minimal Retraining

Unless the employee has been gone for a long time, it is unlikely that they will need to receive much in the way of retraining. This not only saves time when it comes to onboarding costs but also allows you to slot the rehire employee into their position with minimal disruption. Even if some training and development are needed to support them in a new role, the time and cost involved should be much less than training an outsider. Previous assessment records and development plans might even be available as well.

3. Minimal Recruiting Costs

Another advantage of hiring past employees is that there are few, if any, recruiting costs. Since the person already has a track record within the organization, employers have a good idea of what the employee can do so they don’t have to find someone new and recruit them. Rehiring past employees saves on the frustration of trying out a new employee and finding they’re simply not what they seemed.

4. Rehires Already Know the Inner Workings of the Company

Another advantage of rehiring employees is that they already know the procedures and the culture within the business. Compared with a fresh hire, they have the advantage of knowing what goes on during meetings, how workflow is handled, and how performance is assessed. They also know why some employees or managers do one thing one way and why others do it another way. The procedures are familiar, enabling them to get up and running fast, which is a big benefit to your company.

5. Increased Loyalty, Engagement, and Commitment

Yet another benefit of rehiring employees is that they will be more engaged and committed to the organization upon their return. Many companies find that these employees show a more positive attitude after rehiring. In most cases, that’s because they’ve seen how other companies run and worked with other people, which has given them a chance to know a good thing when they see it. These employees tend to be more appreciative of the company they work for and the team members they work with. They also bring a new perspective with them that could lead to significant changes in an organization.

When You Should Avoid Rehiring an Employee

On the other hand, rehiring isn’t always a great idea. There are a few key reasons why sometimes it doesn’t make sense to bring a former employee back into the fold.

1. Nobody Missed Them

While performance is obviously important, if an employee’s behavior or personality caused friction within a team or made other employees unhappy, chances are good that you’re better off without them. There’s a popular adage that people don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. Bringing back someone who might adversely affect retention or create a toxic work environment is just asking for trouble.

2. The Easiest Option Isn’t Always the Best Option

There are many practical reasons why it makes sense to rehire a former employee, but just because it will be cheaper and faster doesn’t mean they’re the best choice to fill a position. If a new person is a better long-term hire for the organization, the added challenge of bringing them in might be worth it. No one wants to miss out on a future high-performer just because they didn’t want to bother with onboarding them.

3. Things May Have Changed

Organizations can change dramatically in a short period of time. There’s a good chance that a previous employee could be walking back into a work situation that isn’t at all like the one they left. That would negate many of the benefits of rehiring an employee, so you should always consider how much things have changed when considering bringing someone back into the fold.

If you choose to hire a former employee, clearly communicate to your existing team your reasons for doing so. Also, brief the returning employee on the company’s current situation and set your expectations. If the person originally left for a specific reason, be sure that the situation has been addressed to avoid losing them a second time around. And finally, make sure to follow up regularly with the returning employee to make sure they are adjusting well.

You hire each employee to fulfill a specific role within your organization. And, with rare exceptions, most of your team members want to meet or exceed your expectations. But they also want more. Your employees yearn to feel a deep passion for their work and inspired by your company’s mission. They long to make a positive impact on the world around them. 

As their leader, you should desire these things for your team. By unleashing their passion, you’ll help your staff feel empowered, fulfilled, and happy. But that’s not all. 

New research shows, “71% of executives say that employee engagement is critical to their company’s success,” and, “63.3% of companies say retaining employees is harder than hiring them”. When your employees have this deep connection to their jobs, your company will reap numerous benefits. Engagement will go up. Turnover will go down. And your team will become an innovative, problem-solving force that fosters productive relationships and pursues continuous learning -- all in the name of moving your enterprise forward.

So how do you encourage, tap into, and nurture your employees’ passions? You:

Set the Culture

Your organization has to facilitate passion. And your company culture must embrace innovation, risk-taking, and rapid adaptability. Why is this important? A major long-term study shows companies with the best corporate cultures -- those that encouraged all-around leadership initiatives and highly appreciated their employees, customers, and owners -- grew 682 percent in revenue. If that’s not incentive enough, another U.S. study shows disengaged employees cost organizations around $450-$550 billion per year. 

That means that old-school, rigid micromanaging and narrow-focused supervision is out. Collaborative, flexible, trusting, and visionary leadership is in.

Your employees need to know that it’s okay to fail if a calculated risk doesn’t pay off. They also need to know that you’re not after perfection -- you’re after results. And, while today’s performance is important, tomorrow’s growth and evolution are more so.

This organizational stance has to be championed from the top down. As a leader, you need to model the behavior you want to see in your employees. Let your own passion show before you can expect your team to reveal theirs.

Show the Impact

To be genuinely invested in and truly passionate about their work, your employees need to see that what they do matters. To help them recognize this, show them how their effort impacts their department, organization, and community. When each employee can trace their output to a larger outcome, they’ll take ownership of it and strive to improve.

Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform the best work. - Forbes

Here are a few ways you can show your employees their real impact:

Provide the Opportunity

When you invest in an employee’s development, you tell them that you care about them and their career. With an enhanced skill set, they’ll feel more confident navigating uncertain times. They’ll also feel more loyal to your organization.

69% of employees say they’d work harder if they were better appreciated. - Hubspot

This development can also uncover and nurture your employees’ passion. As they learn by creating and doing, they’ll realize their potential and find new ways to help your organization achieve its goals. It’s a real win-win.

According to Gallup’s meta-analysis titled “How Employee Engagement Drives Growth,” the business or work units that scored the highest on employee engagement showed 21% higher profitability than units in the lowest quartile. 

For best results, provide each employee with various developmental experiences, tailored to their emerging skills and interests. Let them interact with other passionate team members across the organization to spread enthusiasm and innovation. And most importantly, give them ample space to experiment and implement what they learn.

How Omnia Can Help

It’s exciting to watch your team’s passion develop and deepen, benefiting each member and the firm. What if you could get a sneak peek into your employees’ strengths, tendencies, and work preferences? That insight would help you position them for success both now and in the future and determine optimal developmental opportunities.

Good news! You absolutely can get that insight anytime you want it. A behavioral assessment provides all of those details and more, helping you lead, motivate, and communicate effectively with your team. You can learn more about Omnia’s behavioral assessments here.

Remember, effective communication leads to more productive employees and a more profitable workplace. Behavioral insights can provide leadership with ideas on how to efficiently and thoughtfully communicate with each team member.

Omnia offers a variety of reports using behavioral assessment data. For example, the Team Dynamics Report provides an in-depth custom analysis of an existing or potential team. On the other hand, our Professional Development Report is an automated self-awareness report written directly to existing employees. 

Final Thoughts

Passionate employees can achieve great feats for your organization. But, they must be empowered to create, innovate, and take risks. When they are, you’ll retain valuable human capital, and your company will take giant leaps forward -- both necessities in today’s ever-competitive business world.

I went back to the office for about a week in June; I needed to get out of the house, and I had a temporary childcare solution. Needless to say, I ran with that opportunity.

Currently, we have one employee going into the office daily. Really, he never left (thanks, Steve). And from time to time, others go in solo for various reasons, perhaps to use office equipment they don’t have at home or because they need a change of scenery. It’s also relatively stress-free to use the office; it feels safe since no one else is there. Oh, right, sorry, Steve.

Driving up to the building and parking in my usual space felt surreal. How could something I’ve done so much feel so weird? To be honest, driving felt weird too, but that’s another story. When I first stepped into the office, the thing that struck me was the stale, abandoned feeling of the place. It felt apocalyptic as if we had all disappeared at once, which is sort of what happened. The calendar on the wall, along with our fun monthly bulletin board items, were still firmly displaying March as if time had stopped. It was… creepy. I took the old notices down, did a little cleaning up, and thought about the big and little things we needed to do to get our office ready for everyone again.

First, of course, is what to call this re-entry process. I thought I made up a cool new buzzword: reboarding - the process of bringing employees back to the office after working from home for a few months (or more). But, as usual, I was late to the party, and it’s already a thing. That’s okay; better late than never.

If you have not yet fully reopened your office, it’s probably a good idea to think about what needs to happen to make going back to the office a success. A good reboarding process can help.

Here are seven tips for reboarding success:

1) Have an A-Z plan. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) observes that onboarding occurs at four levels, called the “Four C’s”: Compliance, Clarification, Culture, and Connection. You can use those same C’s to design your reboarding process. Compliance: Focus on safety precautions. Clarification: Put everything in writing, but use multiple communication methods to deliver and reinforce the information. Culture: Keep it consistent with how your organization operates. Connection: Keep it real. Think about the emotional impacts, and make it fun.

2) Ask for input. While there is certainly more and more information available on creating new procedures revolving around preventing the spread of Covid-19, it can’t hurt to ask what things would make your team feel more comfortable returning to work. You might hear some ideas that you never considered, but that makes a ton of sense for your organization.

3) Create safety procedures. They should be written. There is no single recipe that is best for every organization. Each must adopt a safety process that matches the operational and personnel structure of the company. Some companies might have very little need for face-to-face interactions both internally and externally, while others depend heavily on those interactions. Look for sample procedures online, and modify them to fit your needs. From masks to hand sanitation stations, there are many things to consider. Also, think about how both small and large meetings will be handled. Do you have space for an all-company gathering after you factor in social distancing? Or will you need to continue conducting those meetings via video from individual workspaces?

4) Make changes. Now that you’ve seen what can and can’t be done with a remote workforce, are there some changes that can be made to how you did business pre-pandemic? For example, does everyone need to come back to the office every day, or can you implement a new remote schedule that allows employees to work from home one or more days per week? Is it time to move from a formal dress code to something more casual? This is a perfect time to make changes.

5) Freshen up. Avoid having employees walk into an office that feels stale, dusty, and abandoned. If you have a cleaning service, ask for some extra TLC before everyone gets back. Also, get a small group together to spruce up the place and add a little something fun and personal to each workspace.

6) Communicate. Communication is critical. And no matter what the problem is, effective communication should always be part of the solution. Set up a formal communication plan to check in with the leaders and staff to promptly identify problems and resolve them.

7) Evaluate. Evaluate the reboarding process with your employees after 30 days. Ask how you did and what feedback they have for making daily operational improvements, especially regarding long-term safety measures.

These are scary, uncertain times, so let your team know that you are taking this seriously and putting energy into getting it right. Make sure they know that their health and well-being are priorities for the organization.

Just like with effective onboarding, an effective reboarding process will have many benefits. Employees will appreciate their jobs and their companies, commit to the organizational mission, perform more effectively, and even experience less stress, which we all need right now.

Remember, as your employees return to the office, it’s going to feel strange.  Following these measures will keep it from feeling creepy and ensure a smooth return for everyone.

So, Steve, we’re ready to come back.  Are you ready for us?

 

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