After nearly two months of staying at home, many business owners are starting to reopen their offices and storefronts. While the prospect of open businesses is certainly exciting, there is much to do to ensure that employees and customers alike stay safe during this transition. HR Consultants Damona Barnes & Jacob Dufour shared their advice on how to facilitate a smooth transition.
Keep In Contact With Your Employees
Many businesses are preparing to reopen, but not every business has a concrete plan in place. During this time it’s important to keep in touch with your employees and be clear about your plans moving forward. Damona recommends that if your team has been working remotely and will be transitioning back to an office, direct supervisors should ensure their teams know what day and time to return to the office.
It’s also critical to keep in touch with employees if your business is not prepared to reopen. Your employees need to know this information and it’s not fair to keep them in the dark. However, Jake recommends not making any promises to employees regarding start dates or working conditions if you are uncertain.
Reach Out To Your Unemployed Team Members
If you had to lay off or furlough your team as a result of COVID-19 closures, and you’re in a place to rehire, now is the time to reach out to them about returning. “In terms of your rehiring strategy, it’s important to reach out to those employees who were laid off first to show good will. There’s a possibility that some of these employees may not be able to return, so consider what your hiring strategy will be if you have to fill multiple open positions,” says Damona.
Keep An Eye Out For Top Talent
Many companies have unfortunately needed to lay off excellent employees, who may now be looking for a new job. “Two months ago we were clamoring to attract and retain top talent, and the same is true today,” says Jake. “Companies should absolutely keep trying to attract the best employees, and they should still work hard to keep them.” Our new Business Reopening Toolkit includes a compensation audit to ensure that your business is competitive with the market, and ensure you’ll be able to attract and keep top talent.
Safety As A Top Priority
Safety regulations have changed and will continue to change as this global pandemic continues. Businesses must stay up to date on OSHA, DOL, and CDC guidelines that will impact the way they do business. “Depending on the type of business there may be certain requirements that you must follow around requiring face masks, social distancing and handwashing,” says Damona. Your HR contact should be up to date on guidelines as they continue to change.
Prepare For A Different Onboarding Process
Before you begin the task of onboarding employees (both new and returning) it’s important to ensure you’re starting off on the right foot. Take the time to reflect on the positions you’re hiring for, and if job descriptions have changed.
Damona recommends using an offer letter to convey the terms of employment to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding their responsibilities. These offer letters need to include any new processes your business may be using, like if your business is now working from home.
Jake recommends that businesses also look for new policies that need to be addressed in the onboarding process. “Some businesses are screening employees’ temperatures when they come on site. If an acceptable temperature is required to return to work, that is something you would want to specify in an offer letter.”
Start Preparing For Another Shutdown, Now
If your business didn’t already have a shutdown plan in place before the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to make one. “Having a plan in place to prepare for future shutdowns is essential. Employers should have a plan for shutting down their facilities, transitioning back to remote work seamlessly, and have a communication plan in place for their employees,” says Jake.