The online poll during this webinar indicated that 82% of participants believed that either they would or may have difficulties with potential “us and them” scenarios as we plan, prepare and expect a return to work or the workplace. So in this population this issue is real and expected. The potential arises as a result of groups of employees who were previously largely ubiquitous, were then treated differently as a result of the lockdown. Some remained at work in the workplace; some home based working; some furloughed; some made redundant. Now with restrictions being eased and decisions about the future employment of all employees, there is potential for uncertainty and the opportunity for unequal treatment and inequality.
There is a real role for careful leadership and management of these potential scenarios and whilst there is no rule book or definitive guide on steps to take we would suggest that the following could go some way to mitigate any potential difficulties:
- Communication to all to set out the context – what is happening in the business; what are the priorities and challenges; how all the team can contribute to the future?
- Be aware of making assumptions about how lockdown may or may not have affected employees. Take the time to establish where each person is at and how they are feeling.
- Be clear about roles and responsibilities now and moving forward as these may have changed over lockdown and as priorities may have altered
- Agree how we are all going to come back and be prepared that might need to change over time as we get used to new ways of working
- Be mindful that previous tensions and difficult relationships will have not gone away and could have become more entrenched over lockdown
- Address difficulties and differences of opinions – don’t leave them to fester
- Be clear about the way forward and the part that all need to play to move the business forward onto the next chapter
- Have authentic and perhaps difficult conversations to pave the way to the new norm
There are no definitive answers to this potential tensions and differences. The first steps is to recognise there is a potential; then to assess where each team member is actually at, rather than make some assumptions; have clear and robust communication that sets the direction forward and deal with issues as they present themselves – it has not been an easy time for anyone and furlough may or may not have been “flip flops and G&T on the deck” for everyone!
On Tuesday 14th July, 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm we are going to drill down on how to manage people who are reluctant to return to work and how you might approach these scenarios.
Book your place here.