Reopening Offers Opportunities to Coach, Lead with Empathy

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Planning and implementing a reopening strategy with business leaders provides learning leaders with opportunities to shape their organizational culture. From a more practical perspective, this is a teaching and coaching-led opportunity that can help the reopening go smoothly, rather than getting into trouble under circumstances that can lead to high employee turnover or dissatisfaction.
How can learning leaders make an easy transition to fieldwork and mixed work?
The following describes the various ways that the learning leader’s involvement can safely return to the office. Each organization has a unique set of local or state concerns and laws to address, but the following guidelines summarize the key considerations that most organizations and their leaders will face.
Quick Start Scheduling
Re-planning must start before the planned reopen date. Quickly start this plan with a stakeholder survey. Will your organization implement a gradual reopening? This may require bringing back one department or team at a time, or initially requiring people to work on site one or two days a week.
With their experience in planning and managing projects, learning leaders can coordinate planning communications, including leadership discussions or brainstorming meetings, to determine how the reopening will unfold. Consider: Which employees are most needed at site
? Why?
How many people can safely work in your office space?
What teams or people need to be on site at the same time to maximize productivity?
How much flexibility do employees need to determine when and how often they work in the office at home?
What procedures will the company adopt to guarantee worker safety? How will they be monitored or executed?
How to deal with business trips? What if an employee feels uncomfortable traveling?
Conveying information
Once the organization leader has formulated a reopening plan, the learning leader is the ideal team for communication and training. Employees need to know what will happen and when it will happen, and they will seek information on new policies and practices from the L&D team. Learning leaders can take the lead in communicating expectations and policies to employees. As a team with regular contact with all employees and a strong relationship between departments, L&D leaders can easily create and disseminate messages, flowcharts, and short training courses to explain the reopening process.
Anticipate problems and prepare a coherent response
Prepare for problems and unavoidable counterattacks. If employers plan to require returning employees to be vaccinated, they can even ask employees about their vaccinations, which vary by state and company.
Regardless of the policy, most workplaces need to be prepared to answer returning workers’ questions about how they know they will be safe and what they need. Employees may also worry about how they know if they have been exposed to COVID, what will happen if they or their family members become ill, and how to protect immunosuppressed employees and other vulnerable family members. They may want to know who has been vaccinated or how the company intends to monitor exposure.
employees may also ask if they can continue to work from home. What is allowed? How flexible is the choice of days or days to work remotely?
Learning leaders can train executives to explain their policies clearly and reasonably, answer inevitable questions, and then help propagate. Leading this work can help learning leaders ensure that all managers are on the same page and employees receive consistent information.
Create training on the new agreement
From where employees can eat lunch to how many people can enter the meeting room, everything needs a new agreement. New health and safety procedures may have been implemented.
The learning leader can be on the committee that makes these agreements (must join!) Even if they are not involved in the decision-making process, the L&D team will promote education and implementation. To inform, educate and train employees on all the new rules, think outside the box – you may need to create animations, infographics, posters and printed diagrams, games, short simulations, and more!
Provide guidance to managers.
Managers are likely to be responsible for introducing policies to their teams. Whether the organization requires everyone to return to the office, let people choose, or adopt a mixed strategy, some employees will be happy and some will not.
Learning leaders can take the initiative to step in and provide coaching to managers. In addition to training managers in leading mixed teams, focus on your training in conflict resolution, negotiation, and problem solving. You can instruct the manager to communicate the reopening strategy of the organization in a sensitive but decisive way. The L&D team can also propose short simulations or decision trees to help managers deal with potentially controversial conversations.
Don’t ignore the principles of interpersonal relationships. If organizations need to keep their distance, wear a mask or other preventive measures, they will need to decide who will enforce the rules and what to do when people refuse to follow them. Managers may need to be trained on how to respond to employees who refuse to follow or “forget” the rules. They may also need guidance to resolve intrusive issues or annoying employees.
Learning leaders can go deep into their toolkit and use personal experience to guide managers and even employees to understand what is acceptable and unacceptable, how to eliminate overly personal comments, and how to resolve tension or conflict .
Lead with empathy
No matter what role they play, no matter which country they live in, employees usually have one characteristic in common: anxious about returning to the office. Some people are eager to return, some prefer to work remotely, but the way everyone interacts with others has changed significantly. The policy must strike a balance between the needs and goals of the organization and the personal experience and fears.
This is a place where additional training and counseling can be conducted

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