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New normal: Learn what HR from 100+ organizations are doing

Hr preparing new normal

As lock­down is eas­ing across the world and many com­pa­nies are think­ing about return­ing to work from home/​fur­lough, HR are now at the fore­front of get­ting every­one ready for the new normal. 

A few weeks ago, we launched a Busi­ness Readi­ness Check”, a quiz with 16 ques­tions scored out of 47, cov­er­ing Health and Safe­ty, Busi­ness Prac­tice and Peo­ple Man­age­ment. Its aim is to help you fig­ure out how ready your orga­ni­za­tion is for not only return­ing to work but sup­port­ing your peo­ple through the recov­ery stages of the pandemic. 

In this arti­cle, we will be look­ing at the results and talk­ing about some of the themes that the results have shown us.

How did peo­ple score?

Each ques­tion and its answers were rat­ed and the max score avail­able was 47. We then divid­ed the scores into three sep­a­rate readi­ness lev­els for return to work and the new normal.

Lev­el 1: Peo­ple who scored below 19 are in the Not Ready’ (Less than 40%)

Lev­el 2: Peo­ple who scored from 20 – 37 are in the Almost Ready’ (40 – 80%)

Lev­el 3: Peo­ple who scored 38 and above are Ready’ (80%+)

Dis­tri­b­u­tion of scores

Look­ing at 100+ results; 28% of com­pa­nies were Not Ready’; 65% were Almost Ready’ and 7% were Ready’. The results fol­low a nor­mal dis­tri­b­u­tion with most com­pa­nies being in that mid­dle range as expect­ed. It is how­ev­er inter­est­ing to see that you are 4 times more like­ly to score Not Ready’ than Ready’.

What themes can we see from the way orga­ni­za­tions answered?

1. Health and Safe­ty has been han­dled well by most organizations


We can see from the results below that 86.7% of orga­ni­za­tions have com­plet­ed or are in progress of com­plet­ing a com­pre­hen­sive risk assess­ment of their premises.

A fur­ther 75%, who share their premis­es with oth­ers, are aware or find­ing out about the plans from the build­ing man­agers about stay­ing safe. Final­ly, 81% already have in place or are putting into place a way of noti­fy­ing staff of new Covid-19 cas­es in their orga­ni­za­tion or the build­ing they occupy. 

Over­all these sta­tis­tics are real­ly pos­i­tive and it’s great to see that most orga­ni­za­tions are pri­ori­tis­ing the health and safe­ty of their peo­ple before they return to work.

2. Orga­ni­za­tions that com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter are fur­ther along in their recov­ery plans


There were sev­er­al ques­tions regard­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion and clar­i­ty with staff. The answers show a mixed response from the orga­ni­za­tions which took the quiz.

Orga­ni­za­tions should be pri­ori­tis­ing con­ver­sa­tions with their peo­ple on their views on com­ing back to work and their indi­vid­ual cir­cum­stances. We know that many peo­ple who are vul­ner­a­ble or have depen­dents and may not be able to return to work until the risks of infec­tion are lower.

More than a quar­ter of the answers to Have you asked your peo­ple about their views..’ came back with No’. Although the major­i­ty are doing well, it is still con­cern­ing to see that when giv­en the option of In progress’ a quar­ter of peo­ple chose No’.

Prac­ti­cal Tip: Get your man­agers to have this con­ver­sa­tion with their peo­ple or send out a short sur­vey to help you under­stand your employ­ees needs better.

When asked to rate on a scale of 1 – 5 on How aligned the man­agers and senior lead­ers are on com­mu­ni­ca­tions about return­ing to the work­place,’ the aver­age is 3.3. Uncer­tain­ty is a big con­trib­u­tor to anx­i­ety so if you want to sup­port your people’s well­be­ing, com­mu­ni­cat­ing often in an aligned and clear man­ner is a must. 

Fur­ther analy­sis of the answers shows us that com­pa­nies that have reg­u­lar and sched­uled’ com­mu­ni­ca­tions are 1.7 times more like­ly to have already reviewed their busi­ness strat­e­gy and com­mu­ni­cat­ed it. They are also 2.7 times more like­ly to have reviewed and actioned’ their cur­rent poli­cies on flex­i­ble work. In prac­ti­cal terms, this means that com­pa­nies that com­mu­ni­cate bet­ter are ahead in their recov­ery plans.

3. Man­agers are being left with­out the right support


One of the most con­cern­ing trends that we can see is that man­agers are being left behind.

When we asked if man­agers have been pre­pared for the dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions around return­ing to work the major­i­ty of the respons­es (52.5%) said that guid­ance hasn’t been con­sid­ered yet’. None of us have been through an epi­dem­ic like this, so we can­not assume that any orga­ni­za­tion’s man­age­ment will know how to han­dle the sen­si­tive issues that may come up. Man­ag­er guid­ance and sup­port is needed.

Anoth­er ques­tion that indi­cat­ed the same trend was 1 – 5 rat­ing of Have you assessed what assistance/​training your man­agers need in order to sup­port your staff through the next phase of busi­ness?’ with an aver­age score of 2.6.

We asked Dean Cor­bett, Chief Peo­ple Offi­cer at Ava­do Learn­ing, who work with organ­i­sa­tions to build future skills in data, dig­i­tal and mar­ket­ing, why he thinks this might be hap­pen­ing and why Ava­do is dif­fer­ent. Avado’s score was one of the high­est of all respons­es and rat­ed Ready’.

It’s often the case that man­agers and employ­ees alike are asked to deliv­er peo­ple out­comes by their HR teams out of con­text or from func­tions quite dis­con­nect­ed from the real­i­ty man­agers and employ­ees face daily.
Over the last cou­ple of years, we (HR, known at Ava­do as Peo­ple Expe­ri­ence or PX), have worked real­ly hard to co-cre­ate the expe­ri­ences our peo­ple have of work­ing here. Our organ­i­sa­tion­al val­ues, the defined expec­ta­tions of peo­ple man­agers, and the ways we will work with each oth­er, tech­nol­o­gy and process­es, and learn and devel­op going for­ward, have all been co-cre­at­ed with the end users — our peo­ple — at the heart of their design and execution.
Whilst logis­ti­cal­ly there are still out­stand­ing ques­tions about what the imme­di­ate and medi­um-term future looks like for Avado’s ways of work­ing and phys­i­cal work loca­tion, we’ve been trans­par­ent about the options and the fact that we are decid­ing on the basis of what our peo­ple believe is pos­si­ble, effec­tive and suit­able to them personally.

Where tech­nol­o­gy is con­cerned, we also saw that man­agers are half as like­ly to have reg­u­lar sched­uled check-ins with their staff if they don’t use any tech­nol­o­gy or are using what the organization’s HRIS sys­tem pro­vides as com­pared to a spe­cif­ic Per­for­mance Man­age­ment and Engage­ment software.

Prac­ti­cal Tip: Pro­vid­ing the right tech­nol­o­gy can be a real­ly great way to sup­port man­age­ment process­es in your orga­ni­za­tion with­out hav­ing to be super hands-on.

What resources have been most use­ful to these organizations?


In our fol­low-up email to the sur­vey we includ­ed free resources to help those who are not as pre­pared, get ready to sup­port their peo­ple as well as logis­tics. It was no sur­prise to see that across all groups the most pop­u­lar resource was the Con­ver­sa­tion Prompts for Return­ing to Work’. 

The three dif­fer­ent lev­els pre­ferred dif­fer­ent resources with Readi­ness Action Plan being most pop­u­lar in the Not Ready’ group and Con­ver­sa­tion Prompts and Employ­ee Sur­vey Tem­plate being most pop­u­lar with the Almost ready’ and Ready’ cohorts.

How does your orga­ni­za­tion compare?


By now you must be curi­ous to know where you are on the readi­ness scale. Know­ing where you stand is going to allow you to cre­ate a plan of how to get ahead. The great news is that we have all the resources you need to achieve that. 

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