As the post-pandemic hiring boom (also known as the vaccination jobs boom) continues to echo across continents and countries, it brings with it an important question: what should new hires know about your hybrid work setup?
For decades, setting working guidelines was relatively cut-and-dried—office hours started at a certain time and ended at a certain time, with little stops in there at some point for lunch and breaks. Then came high-speed internet and telecommuting, and suddenly you could work from anywhere at any time. Then the pandemic hit, and the old-school office environment (for most workers) was upended forever.
Chances are that your working norms have changed from the pre-pandemic world into this new era. More than likely, your organization will have some type of “hybrid working” model—mixing occasional in-office visits with the flexibility to work remotely. We see this type of model in some of the biggest companies all over the world:
- At Google, employees will go into the office for three days a week, with two days of flexible, from-anywhere work.
- Apple is also adopting the three days in the office, two days flexible model (though there’s some significant pushback from its employees)
- Ford is allowing office employees to “work in their offices only when they need to”
So, if you’re one of the many companies adding new employees (or bringing in replacements for departed staff) in this new work environment, what do your new hires need to know?
What Do Your New Hires Need to Know? Four Steps Companies Should Take
Here are some essential steps companies should take to help their new hires with their hybrid work setup:
Figure out your definition of “hybrid work”
The first step in informing your new hires about your hybrid work policies? Establish the guidelines that they need to know. Get the critical stakeholders—the management team, human resources, accounting, etc.—into a meeting or a shared document and outline what your new working procedures will look like. Don’t leave a single stone unturned. Figure out the answers to questions like:
- How many days (if any) should people be in the office?
- Are there set work-from-home days, or is it at the employee’s discretion? Also, how much discretion does an immediate manager have in setting the schedule?
- What should the hours look like in the remote world—does an employee always need to be available, or should there be “radio silence” periods for recharging/heads-down work time?
- Do managers and their charges need to be in the office at the same time?
- Are there certain departments that need to be present more than others?
- How will this work impact transit programs, office perks, or even things like the dress code?
- What does the legal department or Human Resources department say about what’s needed?
It’s critical to think through all of these questions (and get the answers to them) before starting an onboarding process in the new environment. These are the questions your new employees will be asking; having the answers ready can save a lot of time and confusion.
Integrate your new guidelines into the onboarding process
Once you’ve addressed everything you could possibly think about—and answered any questions your existing employees may have—be sure to write down the new set of regulations into a document that can serve as an “addendum” to your current onboarding packet. Your onboarding specialist, human resources representative, or the new employee’s manager should take the time to go over these new guidelines with the new hire and answer any questions they may have.
Another vital step to take? Ensure these guidelines are also presented company-wide to all employees, perhaps through a company-wide meeting, intranet posting, detailed email (or combination of the three—remember, continued reinforcement of the messaging is key). Current employees should be as up-to-speed on the new guidelines as the more recent hires. You could also explore having employees sign an acknowledgment of the policy so there is no confusion in the future.
Provide them with the tools they need to succeed.
One of the best ways to get your onboarding started off on the right foot in the hybrid working world? Be sure to provide your employees with the arsenal they need to hit the ground running. That could include everything from upgraded at-home technology or subsidizing work-from-home furniture and software to resources to help the new employee succeed in your team’s environment. A tool like the GlobeSmart Profile can serve as an icebreaker for new team members, help team members optimize their unique work styles, allow team members to discover strengths and weaknesses (and areas for improvement), and empower greater cross-cultural communications. You can read more about how GlobeSmart can help here.
Let them know that things may change.
Here’s something managers and leaders at global organizations now know: In a world where COVID-19 exists, the only certainty is uncertainty. Things can change very rapidly regarding the virus, vaccines, and associated rules, regulations, and guidelines on both local and national levels, wherever your organization may be.
It’s important to stay on top of these developments and adjust as necessary. Make sure your workforce knows that your current guidelines might have to change based on events that are out of their control; going forward, keep up an open line of communication with your employees, updating them as news develops, and don’t hesitate to adjust as events (or laws and regulations) dictate it. An honest and open approach is always the best. After a year-plus of an uncertain working existence, they’ll appreciate the attempts at communication.
If you support employees who are managing or working with others in a hybrid work environment, contact us to reserve trial access to our latest eLearning module, The Essentials of Managing a Hybrid Workforce.
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