With some employers asking their team members to return to offices this fall, the Delta variant has created new questions around HR practices in an already uncertain environment.
The possibility of returning to the workplace can create both physical and psychological concerns for employees, leading to disengagement and even resignation of top talent.
When thinking about new HR practices employers are tasked with tracking updates to federal and local CDC recommendations and listening to input from key operational leaders. The goal of any new policy should be to give employees enough certainty in uncertain times to be able to plan where they can.
Many organizations were planning on returning to work in September, but we are now seeing dates pushed back because of the Delta variant, including at big tech companies like Google, Apple and Amazon. Employers must remain committed to keeping employees safe while continuing to support the needs of the business.
The Delta variant brings on many questions around updated policies as it relates to things like returning to office, vaccinations, mask wearing, contact tracing and quarantining. While every organization needs to do what’s right for their employees and business, we recommend you consider the following before rolling out a new HR policy:
1. Think in phases.
Position changes in phases so that you can introduce changes as the next step, not the forever policy change.
2. Give advance notice.
When announcing changes, give employees a minimum of 30 to 60 days of notice to allow people the time to make arrangements as it relates to childcare or other personal matters.
3. Segment by job.
More and more organizations are looking at new policies being designed based on specific roles within the organization. A retail chain will have different policies for employees in stores versus those in support offices.
4. Research competitor practices.
Assign recruiters to review what others who you compete with for talent are doing and learn from them. As The Great Resignation continues, it’s critical that your organization remain competitive and flexible.
5. Listen and reevaluate.
As you roll out each phase of your approach, continue to gather feedback and be willing to make changes based on what you hear from employees and other key stakeholders.
We are all people first and employees second. No matter the policy you put in place, it’s important that HR practices continue to put your employee’s wellbeing first and set your organization up for success by setting up each employee for success.