What Can You Do?
A divided workplace after furlough is a multifaceted problem, and it’s likely that everyone involved will feel differently about their situation. As such, you may be inclined to avoid wholesale action, instead addressing problems as they emerge. This may require some additional training or support for managers, so that they can deal with these unique circumstances in the right way and avoid small problems becoming a bigger issue.
The critical thing going forward is your communication with all employees and doing your best to reassure them about their position and value. This may involve a detailed ‘reboarding’ strategy including a handover plan for each employee so that they know what their responsibilities will be on their return, and what their short and long-term goals are. This will make it clear that you see a future for them and give them something to focus on and work towards.
If you are in the unfortunate situation where redundancies may be necessary, then reassure the staff who were or are furloughed that they will all be treated fairly.
Interpersonal dynamics can be tough to manage in normal circumstances, let alone in the midst of a pandemic. With employees having been away from each other for some months, it may have added benefits to arrange some form of team-building exercise. While this may be more challenging to implement due to social distancing rules, it can be worth arranging something remotely to help reintegrate staff and get everyone back on the same page.
Finally, if you are able to do so, it’s worth considering rewarding the employees who have worked through the pandemic while others have been furloughed. This may take the form of a one-off ‘Covid bonus’ for working over and above their usual duties, by taking on extra tasks or simply from not benefitting from the same time off. This is unlikely to impact on the morale of furloughed employees as long as it is communicated properly and furloughed employees are made to feel secure in their positions.
How Loch Associates Group can help
Managing discontent among staff and a divided workplace after furlough can be difficult at the best of times and requires both a deft touch and a good appreciation of all the considerations. Given the difficulties of the current business climate, many business owners and managers may already feel overburdened and unable to dedicate the time or energy required to identify problems and provide solutions.
This is where Loch Associates can help. Our HR Consultants from HR Advise Me can step in and help you to effectively manage employee performance, identify any issues with furlough resentment and provide solutions, whether that’s arranging training for managers or managing grievances directly.
Our innovative flexi-retainer starts from £300 per month with tailored packages to allow you to access the services you need at a price affordable to your business. If you would prefer to outsource all your HR needs, then we can take that over for you from £1,000 per month.