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.