Back to the Office: A Second Onboarding Opportunity

Jul 1, 2021 4:38:43 PM

For many of us, the idea of returning to the office is bittersweet. We are all excited that the world is beginning to heal after the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to returning to normalcy. However, a lot of people are feeling socially awkward and dreading the idea of going back to our cubicles. So how can HR and administrative teams help make the transition a bit smoother? The answer is a second onboarding that involves a solid plan for returning and defining the new normal for your company. 

The Second Onboarding

Approach this second onboarding with the goal of improving employee engagement. Many people feel anxious about transitioning back into office life, and it can be challenging to reengage and adjust to a change in surroundings and expectations. This second onboarding is an opportunity for teams to engage, build stronger bonds, and reach new heights of productivity. Let’s take a look at what this onboarding process might entail for your company. 

Get feedback from employees and address their needs. 

A survey conducted by Flexjobs shows that almost half of all workers “are concerned that returning to the office means less flexibility and less work-life balance.” You can help alleviate these concerns by gathering feedback from employees and providing benefits that will help promote a better balance for them. 

Focusing on providing more for your employees will improve retention as increasing numbers of people are willing to leave their jobs for companies that offer better options. 

Here are a few additional ways you can offer more for your employees: 

Updated benefits package: Listen to feedback from employees and consider revising your benefits package as a way to help navigate hurdles and smooth things over during this transitional period. You might offer benefits such as: 

  • Transportation to the office
  • Reimbursement for travel expenses
  • Daycare
  • Updates to office spaces to accommodate for fewer distractions
  • New policies for health and safety
  • Flexible remote work
  • Increased vacation days

Welcome-back gifts: Offering your employees a gift during this hard time is a show of good faith. You’re demonstrating that you care about them and want them to look forward to the return to the office. Some gift ideas may include: 

  • Desk swag
  • New hardware
  • Updated chair selections
  • Desk upgrades

Remote work flexibility: Offering flexible policies for remote work is going to be a boon to any recruitment effort because many people who used to work in offices have gotten used to working from home and don’t want to go back. 

According to Bloomberg News, “A May survey of 1,000 U.S. adults showed that 39% would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. [...] Among millennials and Gen Z, that figure was 49%.” This is because remote work policies save money on commutes and daycare, make it easier to spend time with family, and encourage greater work-life balance in general.  

Some companies are only requiring their employees return to the office a couple of days per week, while others are making a physical presence in the office optional. Even big tech giants, such as Google and Apple, who have spent billions on their offices, are updating their policies to allow for employees to work from home at least some of the time, according to the Washington Post. Allowing a bit of flexibility in your new work-from-home policies will help develop fair rules for everyone and can even be an excellent recruitment tool.

Prepare employees for the new day-to-day in the office

Many things may have changed for how employees get work done and how their physical workspace will look. It will be crucial to offer plenty of information during your second onboarding so that employees know what to expect. 

Remind employees of objectives, goals, and responsibilities, including expectations for clocking in and out, attending meetings, and using office supplies. 

Use this onboarding as an opportunity to come together and establish future goals for the team and individuals. 

Prepare employees for changes around the office, including:  

  • New practices for health and safety
  • New hands-free technology for meetings
  • More open office spaces
  • Health scannings
  • New time management systems

Ensure all of your employees understand the reasoning behind any changes made and encourage regular feedback so that you have a good understanding of how everyone is adjusting. 

Define the new company culture

We are all familiar with onboarding as a way to familiarize new employees with company policies and expectations. The onboarding process is also an opportunity to introduce new co-workers to the company culture. The second onboarding process will re-introduce employees to office life and help them understand the various changes they may experience, including meeting new co-workers. 

Here are some examples of how you can get everyone together and remind employees of your great company culture: 

  • Welcome your employees back with an outdoor event, such as a company-wide picnic or ice cream party. 
  • Hold a company retreat that gets your employees out of their homes and the office so that you can focus on team building and defining goals in a fun setting. 
  • Start a weekly beer cart that encourages people to gather together, cut loose, and socialize. 
  • Issue a company-wide state of the union displaying pictures from past team outings, recounting fond memories, and celebrating successes. 

Renew your vision statement 

Take a second look at your company’s mission or vision statement. Consider how it could be adjusted to be more relevant and to include any changes your company has made in the past year. Everyone has been through some significant changes lately. Such challenges usually promote growth or a shift in ideologies; companies are not exempt from this effect. If your business has made any shifts in the past year, the second onboarding is a chance for you to draft a new rallying cry that your employees can get behind. 

Provide training opportunities for further development

A second onboarding is an opportunity to help your employees shake off the cobwebs and improve their skills. Offer employees a chance to reengage with their work and renew their confidence with continued education and training. Learning management systems have tools to make this an accessible offering for returning workers. 

Be flexible and ready to evolve

The second onboarding is an opportunity for you to retrain your employees on your systems, remind them of the expectations you have for them, and introduce them to the new company culture. It will be a constantly evolving process, and to be successful, we will all need to be flexible and prepared to pivot when necessary. In the end, all that you will need to succeed in this continually changing landscape is patience and a willingness to listen to employees. 

How Proliant Can Help with Your Second Onboarding and the Return to the Office

Proliant offers many solutions to help HR and payroll professionals as more and more employees return to offices. From onboarding solutions to time and labor management and more, we have the technology and outstanding service you need to make the return to normalcy a bit easier for everyone. We’re here to help you increase engagement and productivity as we move into the future. If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do for your company, schedule a demo with us today. 

About Proliant

Proliant puts the human in human resources. We provide a fully integrated, cloud-based HCM solution that simplifies payroll and HR processes. The company serves small to large clients in multiple industries in all 50 states and is committed to providing the highest quality customer service in the industry.

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