With the coronavirus pandemic, several companies have been forced to adopt emergency measures to comply with the containment rules. Between switching to remote work, adapting procedures and temporary closings, each organization was forced to change.
Without a shadow of a doubt, the crisis we are going through will have a great impact on the way we do things. We know that the situation is only temporary and that containment will eventually have to end.
So I ask you the question: what should return to normal and what should remain? What are the opportunities to grow your business?
Certainly, resuming regular activities will require a lot of rehabilitation for your employees and your business partners. You might as well start now to set up your strategy!
Here are the key steps to properly prepare your team's return to work.
1. Analyze, evaluate and improve the working methods
The first step in this period of crisis is to stop, take a step back and do introspection. Don't let anxiety and panic make you reactive, opt for well-thought-out proactivity instead.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What was wrong with my business before containment?
- What could no longer work due to containment?
- How did the containment affect the structure internally?
- What improved during containment?
- What could have been done to be better prepared for containment?
- What concerns me about returning to work?
This last question was suggested to us by Anne-Sophie Michel, president, and trainer in change management at ASM Consultants.
In normal times, we want to anticipate the concerns of employees and managers in order to provide accompanying measures to support them in the changes. However, this pandemic offers us downtime which allows us more time and flexibility in our planning. So, I suggest that business leaders meet with each employee to find out their concerns regarding the return to work.
When these concerns are of an individual nature (ex: fear of getting the virus at work), we can offer support measures to reassure employees, such as working remotely. If the concerns are more of an organizational nature, the ideal is to opt for team sessions to improve the pre-containment structures.
Take the time to answer these questions and all the others that come to mind. Above all, do not hesitate to involve your employees in this reflection! Send these questions to your managers, intrapreneurs, and support staff. Each point of view could make you discover certain flaws or sources of success that deserve more attention.
If there is a better time to make a change, it is when the situation is already in motion. It's time to invest energy to improve processes and adopt more agile and flexible management.
2. Update and standardize procedures
The second step is to document these improved working methods to facilitate future consultation. If you already have procedures in place, now is the time to review and update them.
If, however, your business does not yet have a catalog of procedures, here is a great opportunity to start it. Standardizing procedures within an organization has many advantages, including the following:
- Consistency in staff training
- Reduction of variations in operations
- Durability of best practices over time
- Elimination of waste of time during onboarding of new employees
- Optimization of internal processes by continuously revising work methods
Using an LMS as a catalog of procedures
Workleap LMS can serve much more than online training. Many of our clients, for example, use their platform as a collection of procedures and best practices!
By using your LMS to document and organize your procedures, you can take advantage of many creation and distribution features. Rather than having a document directory in a shared folder, make your content more dynamic.
Take advantage of videos, images and audio files to add more dimensions to your procedures. Organize this information into categories and limit access only to affected users.
On your hand, you will be able to update the procedures on a regular basis in just a few clicks. For your employees, they will have access to all the necessary documentation at their fingertips.
Everybody wins! Try Workleap LMS now.
3. Managing human side of change remotely
The arrival of new procedures within an organization is part of the change management process. The third step, and certainly not the least, is to integrate these improved working methods into your team.
Anne-Sophie Michel tells us:
The first two steps are part of what I call technical change planning and the third step is more about the human side of change. From the moment we looked at our processes, how do we support our humans in change? This is where a good manager must show listening, empathy, transparency, support, etc.
Managing change always brings certain challenges and containment adds a few more. It is not a reason to be discouraged!
Your employees are also prisoners of the current crisis, therefore, they will be much more inclined to participate in this corporate reinvigoration. Take advantage of this desire for mutual aid and support to identify the positive leaders who can raise your project.
Among several actions that you must take to facilitate the adoption of new working methods, here are the 3 most important:
- Communicate with your staff in a constant and transparent manner. Use tools like video conferencing to personalize and humanize your ad. Listen to your team and show an openness to discussion.
- Gather each person's concerns individually. Anne-Sophie Michel mentioned to us:
It is essential to remember that in order to promote optimal success of the transformations, we must manage the technical aspect, but above all the human aspect. Despite the best possible planning, if the human component is not addressed, there will be no transformation.
- Train your employees properly. Give them access to online lessons to prepare them for these changes. Provide them opportunities for professional growth and invest in the development of their skills.
- Accompany each member of your team in the change. Take care to offer everyone a learning path that meets their needs. Volunteer your time for private consultations if the need arises.
In any case, don't let physical distance undermine your improvement plan. Above all, keep a positive and determined attitude; remain a source of inspiration and hope for your staff!
4. Maintain good habits after confinement
The day that going back to work is possible, prevent your efforts from being forgotten in the euphoria. The fourth step is to ensure that the new procedures are actually applied and practiced.
The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic.- Peter Drucker
Like returning from vacation, some employees may have difficulty resuming activities. Make sure to communicate with them regularly to facilitate their reintegration. Implement progressive return strategies as needed.
Continue to constantly update the working methods thanks to your Workleap LMS platform. Continue investing in your human capital and encourage an internal training culture.
Your staff members are the key to success in reviving your business. Remember to take care of them.