CULTURE WORKS – WE KEEP YOU TOGETHER WHEN SOCIAL DISTANCING KEEPS YOU APART!
CULTURE CONNECTIVITY FOR YOUR PURPOSE, PEOPLE AND PROCESSES.
CULTURE CONNECTIVITY FOR YOUR PURPOSE, PEOPLE AND PROCESSES.
Coronavirus has caused a lot of businesses to lay off and furloughs. As businesses begin to reopen in phases, the idea of rehiring employees who have been furloughed or laid off is likely involved in their reopening plan. One of the first steps business owners must consider in their reopening plan is rehiring employees that have been temporarily let go. How can you begin to determine the best plan for bringing employees back onto the team?
First, prepare for all potential scenarios. There are a few potential recovery predictions that might affect your business. The V-shaped recovery has a sharp economic decline followed by a sharp economic increase. Another recovery scenario that could potentially affect your business is the U-shaped recovery, that has a more gradual recovery rate.
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding how businesses will recover after COVID-19. In order to prepare properly, you must try to consider all potential scenarios. What happens if customers don’t return immediately? Or if there is another outbreak? Or if shelter-in-place is reinstated? What happens to your employees who have returned?
Business owners should be cautious about rehiring immediately, as furloughs may need to be reinstated. With some states already reopening, we have seen examples of what this may look like. There have been quite a few businesses using the “wait and see” approach to understand a customers behavior and confidence in returning to normal.
There may also be some operational changes that need to take place. At first, it may not make sense to reinstate all of your employees. Consider which employees you will need to bring back, and which ones you are able to wait on.
Ensure that you document the process behind your reopening plan, in order to work through your rationale and decision-making process. This documentation will also help protect you from any discrimination liability.
Next, communicate with your employees as much as possible before you bring that back to work. Maintain constant communication with employees to see where they are mentally throughout their unemployment. Be sure to ask them about their interest in returning, but be wary of promising employment.
The CARES Act implemented a $600 per week “replacement rate” along with unemployment compensation, so some employees might be making more on unemployment. This may mean it will be more difficult to bring some employees back. If you can understand where your employees are coming from it will likely be easier to rehire and create a successful team structure.
Another thing to consider when rehiring furloughed or laid off employees is the issue of compliance. Documenting the process will help relieve any potential liability and avoid discrimination claims.
You should also be sure to consider federal, state, and local PPE regulations, including sanitization protocols, occupancy levels, use of face masks, and any other potential protection protocols for both employees and customers.
Laid-off employees should also re-complete new hire paperwork, to ensure that tax information and all documents are up to date with your company. The I-9 form can be completed again or complete section 3 on the previous I-9.
There are some requirements you must consider if you implement layoffs again after your team has been brought back. With 100 or more employees, you must give 60 days notice for 50 or more employees being laid off. Some states have adjusted these WARN requirements to allow employers to move quickly during COVID-19.
Lastly, employers must consider the morale of the employees that are returning to the company. This may be difficult when bringing back employees who have been laid off. As you consider boosting morale, start with your purpose. Lead your employees with a vision and plan for the company beyond Coronavirus.
Next, retrain your team. Center your training around the purpose you have set, and inform them of all the new policies that will be implemented. When employees are prepared for the new normal quickly and robustly, it makes the adjustment period easier.
Don’t be afraid to hire enough employees to manage work properly. There can be a danger of overworking your current employees due to fear of hiring too fast. Overworking your team can lead to lower morale and a feeling of exhaustion. Before you rehire, realistically look at who you will need to run your business properly.
As your team gets back into the office, be sure to communicate with them on everything. Transparency is key to avoid potential employee issues. Communicate with them on how they are feeling and how they affect businesses’ greater purpose.
Don’t forget to celebrate! After you bring back the employees you need, and they are trained and confident back in the office, throw an office happy hour. Give your employees the opportunity to reconnect and share their experiences over the last two months. This helps build a connection with your entire company.
At Culture Works, we understand that navigating this new normal can be difficult and strange. We want to help. Contact us to schedule your culture assessment today, and ensure that your business is ready to welcome back your employees with a plan and community-centered values.
Practical steps you can take to make your company culture (and yourself) even better.
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