As more organisations redesign the nature of their workplace, employees are being asked to readapt. This transition can feel complex, so it’s important for organisations to support and guide their staff through this change. The process of cultivating a healthy workplace culture in a redesigned workplace is becoming known as ‘re-onboarding’.
'Re-onboarding’ is about reorienting employees to the current and future aspirations of the organisation, what the shared values are, and articulating effective, positive ways of working.
The idea is simple: redesign and implement an organisation-wide onboarding journey as if it was ’Day One’ for everyone. Ask employees to come together in a refreshing way, including introductions with a good dose of , and offering reminders on wellbeing and psychological safety policies. Most importantly, take time to listen to their concerns and their experiences; focus on answering questions, and make your employees feel seen, heard, valued, and cared for.
Why build an inspiring, healthy culture for your staff?
A recent article by Virgin Pulse shows that among employees that are inspired by their company culture to make healthy choices, 80% are engaged, citing satisfaction with their work, team members, manager and benefits.
We know from expert research that 38% of Australians are potentially thinking of quitting their job in the next year. And, that the cost of productivity lost when losing talent can add up to $200,000. In ‘six key questions to help you build wellbeing into the employee lifecycle’ we explored how improving employee wellbeing and engagement is not a ‘set and forget’ exercise. It’s a cultural change initiative that takes analysis, planning, and commitment to an on-going review process.
Prepare for the journey
Before you take off, you’ll need to assess the aircraft. Have you recently done a reassessment of your vision, mission and values? Are they still relevant, or in need of an update? Are your People and Culture policies and your procedures and behavioural expectations up to date? Do the full mechanical check, refuel if you need to, to make sure you’re ready to go!
The re-onboarding journey
Many airlines assist individuals’ needs by providing flexibility on their bookings. Similarly, we encourage organisations to think about flexible options for employees to learn and develop skills to boost wellbeing in the workplace. Be prepared to offer a wide range of solutions before starting the re-onboarding journey. Here are some ideas that can help to start thinking about what your employees might need:
- Weekly check-ins, wellbeing buddies, or voluntary connection catch-ups among colleagues
- Bi-monthly or quarterly off-site bonding activities such as nature walks and team challenges.
- Healthy snacks, coffee, and birthday or recognition celebrations
- Science-based, practical strategies to manage their wellbeing at work and home. This could involve The Oranges Toolkit Seven Segment of Wellbeing program
- Wellbeing workshops at a time and place (online or in-person) that best suits employees
Interested to hear about relatable success stories from other organisations? You can download our free resource on how to build workplace wellbeing with a flexible fit here.
Once you have designed a journey that feels like a good cultural fit, reach out and invite employees to 'fly' with you.
It is important that when employees step into the cabin they feel a warm welcome. Whether it’s for the first time in months or the first time ever connecting with colleagues; employees will likely need some extra care. Take time to tune in to their physical and psychological state and provide reassurance as you guide them to their seat.
Demonstrate your appreciation for their hard work and commitment through challenging times. Recognise that the return to a ‘new normal’ will require a transition phase and this may trigger different emotions – positive and/or negative. Here are some suggestions to ease the change:
- Reassure that this is an opportunity for growth, not an attempt to get back to how things worked before
- Ensure the senior leadership team is united in their approach, messages, and behaviours
- Give employees the opportunity for 1-1 communication
- Ask questions, don’t assume
- Reinforce the message that it’s ok to not be feeling ok during times of uncertainty and change
- Share some of your own struggles around embracing the new normal
Before taking off, take time to connect with employees and to encourage them to connect with their co-workers; similar to settling into your seat on a plane.
After the ups and downs staff may have experienced, the re-onboarding journey is a great time to focus on team-building exercises. Not only will you and your team enjoy a memorable and fun experience - but everyone will also gain skills and improved connection to support them to optimistically face whatever the time ahead has to offer. Some ides to spark connection:
- Simple team-building activities like lunches or coffee breaks, playing games together
- Build connection and wellbeing with our connection cards
- Amplify positive emotions by inviting employees to write a gratitude card
To fully capitalise on the opportunity of reintroducing employees to the company’s culture, clearly communicate psychological safety guidelines, wellbeing benefits, and behavioural expectations for everyone. Some topics you might want to cover:
- Occupational health and safety (WHS) obligations
- Resources available for employees (e.g. EAPs, Lifeline, Ambassadors and Wellbeing Champions)
- Organisational wellbeing tools and training available for employees
Once you have completed the safety instructions, give employees room for questions or concerns. This is a perfect time to check with employees if they have everything they need to feel supported in the workplace. Getting employee feedback is a crucial step throughout the journey, after all, we want them to feel safe and engaged during the whole process.
Here are some questions you can ask to prompt a conversation:
- How does it feel to be back in the office or to be working remotely?
- Is there anything you’re unsure about or would like to change?
- Is there anything you miss about working from the office or remotely?
- Do you have what you need to enjoy and feel fulfilled with your job?
You might also want to download our free resource on how to plan an effective wellbeing conversation with your manager and share it with employees.
Building wellbeing in an organisation requires a continuous improvement mindset. Rather than a one-off journey where you arrive at the final destination, imagine your re-onboarding process as if you were connecting to another flight. See it as an opportunity to restart the process by reviewing the wellbeing solutions on offer and how they relate to the ever-evolving needs of employees.
Need some guidance on how to boost wellbeing in your workplace?
Get in touch to let us know and explore how we can work together.
Seek help when it's needed
The Oranges Toolkit offers a range of science-based workplace wellbeing programs focusing on practical actions you can take to build resilience and emotional agility.
Remember there is help all around. If you or someone you know needs extra support, we recommend contacting your workplace Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a qualified health practitioner, or:
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636
- Visit Head to Health for a directory of mental health care providers and COVID-19 support