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Motivate for Growth

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Stephen Brown

Motivate for Growth – Your map to a successful return to the workplace

Detailed below are your steps to supporting and engaging your furloughed employees.  By doing so you will bring back employees that are; positive, healthy and excited to return to work.

1. Pulse Check – Know the facts, then you can act appropriately.  Whilst running a pulse survey may seem like a hassle or a big piece of work, they are critical for a successful return to the workplace. 

Tools like Engagement Multiplier are free, easy to set up and take less than ten minutes for employees to complete. Engagement Multiplier - Free Sign up and On Demand Survey

2. Understand Employee Motivation – To ensure you bring back motivated employees into the business, you need to treat every employee as an individual and take steps towards understanding what drives them.

Using a tool like Motivational Maps will help you understand the potential anxieties of employees returning to the workplace and give your managers the tools to manage their teams more effectively.

If we think about how your furloughed employees maybe be feeling, we can use the different motivators to ensure we take appropriate action for each individual. 

For example, if they are motivated by security and predictability (Defender motivator) then this unfamiliar situation is likely to be resulting in potential feelings of fear, frustration and possibly resentment. 

They may feel that you are hiding information and that will make them feel unsafe.  Consequently, they may excessively worry about their job and the future or worse, make up their own version of the truth!

By knowing that someone has a high Defender, you can ensure you are open and transparent, even if that means sharing less favorable information, saying you don’t know the answer yet, or that nothing has changed.  These employees will trust you more, resulting in long term loyalty.

3. Support Managers – Your managers are trying to focus on the daily operation, whilst having to learn new skills to manage their remote or furloughed teams.

One to One’s – Let them know you value the time they spend reaching out to furloughed employees.  Whether this is a more formal one to one or a quick text to an employee to say how much they’re being missed and that they’re looking forward to having them back.

- Give your managers the suggested questions at the end of this guide to support them.

- Motivators – Ensure they have complete clarity around what drives and motivates every individual in the team.  Only then can they adapt their style and provide the relevant leadership.

4. Sustain your culture – You’ve worked hard to create your positive culture, make sure your furloughed employees still feel connected.  This is essential for those employees who are motivated by a sense of belonging and meaningful relationships.

- Tailor your communication – Furloughed employees will need a softer style of communication to those that are working.  Ensure you invite furloughed employees to company update sessions or send out newsletters to them.

- Create WhatsApp or equivalent groups - For social buzz and interaction and more importantly to stop silos forming.  They are a really great way of communicating in the absence of official business emails.   Some examples include setting challenges and sharing photos eg, bakeoff, you can send info on mindfulness, or even video updates saying hello….

- Social events – Whether it’s the Furlough Arms on a Friday, a quiz, a book club, Wednesday Pilates or a team challenge on Strava….

- Celebrate - Don’t forget Furloughed employee’s birthdays, Length of Service anniversaries of other life events and celebrate.

- Champions or Ambassadors – You may have some employees that are unreceptive to your efforts to keep them engaged.  Providing peer to peer support initiatives or Employee Engagement Champions can really help with this by bridging the gap between the employee and the organisation.

5. Learning and Development – The lack of routine and potentially, purpose can significantly impact an individual’s mental health. 

- New skill – Asking your team members to acquire a new skill that will enhance the team’s performance when they return, will psychologically help them to feel they are still adding value to the business.

- Suggest training - Put together a list of free resources relevant for your business and their role.  Examples include, Ted Talks, Industry Federation updates or existing company training that could be digitalised, providing another opportunity for your team to interact with each other.

- Set development goals and plans – Ensure your team come back, ‘ready to go’ by working with them on their development goals and plans. 

This is especially important for those employees who are motivated by being an Expert or need to see the bigger picture.Alternatively, for those employees that are motivated by competition and potentially money, use it to link to longer term rewards, growth and their career plan.

Following this road map ensures that both; your Furloughed employees have a positive experience whilst away from the business and that you bring back motivated, healthy employees into your business rather than the toxicity of disengaged, demotivated employees.

Manager – One to One questions to ask

  • How are you doing?
  • What are you most worried about right now, related to work?
  • What would help you with this?
  • How would it make a difference for you?
  • What can you do to make a difference?
  • What can I do to make a difference?
  • What specific concerns do you have (if any) about returning to the workplace?
  • What are you most looking forward to right now, related to work?
  • What are the wider challenges or concerns for you right now?
  • Share with me if there is anything you would like me to do differently?
  • Is there anything else I should have asked you?
  • Detail any action points for the employee and manager

Additional questions, once the employee has returned to work

  • Share how it feels being back at work.
  • What can I or the team do to make things easier for you?
  • What other support or resources do you need?

Ensure you follow up and communicate the progress with the action points.

Written by Cassandra Andrews