Do impact assessments. Talk to people about what they need. Redraft your core people policies.
Each individual colleague is different. They will not experience the next phase in the same way. Now is your moment to walk the talk of your diversity statements. Are you clear that the impact of your plans is equitable, fair and inclusive?
Raise awareness. Formulate your strategy. Provide resources, support and training. Keep talking.
The pandemic has had a huge negative impact on mental health and wellbeing. Re-opening offices is not going to be a cure-all. Are your leaders prepared for the different difficulties, anxieties, and challenges to mental health it may bring?
Build on two-way communication
Establish and train employee forums, allies, and focus groups. Consult on planned changes.
When it comes to what will happen next, don’t go into tell-mode. Honest, open, communication is the key to trust. Are your leaders being visible, approachable allies? Are you consulting colleagues, individually and collectively, about plans?
Focus on engagement
Upskill leaders on one-to-one development conversations to maintain high engagement.
Employees may have grown used to a different, perhaps more autonomous, self sufficient ways of working. How will your leaders ensure the gains and engagement created by self-directed homeworking are nurtured in the next phase?
Communicate expectations. Provide relevant respect and harassment awareness training.
Working together again in person and a more complex remote/office hybrid is inevitably going to require a re-think of cultural norms. How will you ensure the new phase feels psychologically safe for all – from new joiners to office returners?
Be resolution oriented
Have informal conflict resolution processes in place and people who are skilled in using them.
Wherever there is change - role changes, new functions, restructures, loss of headcount - it can be unsettling, and people may complain, challenge, or struggle to meet new expectations. Are you prepared for effective conflict resolution?