Following the COVID pandemic, as many states navigate from red zone to yellow zone, many will re-assimilate to their previous office space, warehouse, restaurant, etc. While some will return (thankfully) with a new attitude and positive outlook on life, there will be others who will bring their same-old negative traits. What to do?
NOW is a great time to ‘nip those issues in the bud,’ as the saying goes. Face them head-on, without hesitation. To be sure, it would be kind to give folks an opportunity to, once again, become members of your team. But keep in mind that it’s also a disservice (to those who are the opposite of negativity) when you don’t exercise your right to properly discipline those who cause friction in the workplace. In fact, it’s an affront to all who bide by the rules.
This puts the responsibility squarely on those in leadership positions. It is management’s duty to make certain that the workplace is both safe and tolerable; otherwise, the workplace suffers, good employees leave – and you’ll be stuck with what’s left. Ask yourself: is that the workplace I want to be a part of?
So let’s say (for argument’s sake) that you’re ready to speak up, take charge and assure the workplace IS a safe and tolerable space for you and your staff members. Where should you start, and how? Below are four recommendations that The Cohesive Workplace suggest you implement immediately. These will serve as reminders to your staff as to why they decided to work with you in the first place:
- Welcome back your staff members OFFICIALLY. Use your ‘welcome’ to acknowledge that we’ve all gone through a challenging time and you’re looking forward to overcoming those challenges together… as a team. To not address ‘the pink elephant in the room’ would be insensitive, particularly if any of your staff members were affected in any way during the pandemic.
- Begin on a positive note. Let’s not rehash any negative incidences of the workplace prior to COVID. Make it official: we’re starting with a clean slate! While major infractions cannot (and should not) be ignored, let your staff know you’re ‘not sweating the small stuff.’ Life’s too short to be undone by minor irritants. Your business, as well as your employees, are worth more.
- Keep an open door policy (to a degree). Trust us: your staff members are still afraid… of COVID, their future with the company, and other issues they might be facing at home. Remind them that you’re in their corner. While you may not be able to solve all their problems, you’re a trustworthy advocate and a listening ear who can offer, perhaps, a positive word (or two) of advice. Your door is open, should they need to vent.
- Create opportunities for advancement. To be sure, next to salary, the opportunity for advancement within your company is top priority! It sends a clear signal where one stands within the company when that company looks outside of its own ranks for a candidate – especially when its own employees are qualified! That ‘signal’ is a negative one. It screams, “We do not value you as an employee!” Once that message permeates the air, it’s difficult to reel it back in. Often protests follow (however silent) and eventually everyone in the workplace is miserable. If you haven’t already implemented a program for in-house promotions, NOW is a great time to start.
These are just FOUR benchmarks to consider – if you haven’t already done so – which, in turn, will create a positive and lasting effect on your employees while also increasing productivity. (Can you say “win-win”?)
There are more topics to follow, such as: the need for autonomy in the workplace; revisiting your pay scale; offering a healthy dietary lifestyle in the workplace; and many others. And we’re looking forward to covering each and more.
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