Fears around uncertainty have plagued many of us since the outbreak of COVID-19. Financial concerns, job security, our health, and general wellbeing to name but a few. Many organisations have been able to use tools like performance management software to keep staff focused and productive during lockdown. Now, as restrictions ease, we look at how continuous virtual performance management practices can help furloughed employees back into the workplace.

Making new performance management practices the norm

During a recent podcast episode of The HR Uprising, Lucinda Carney alongside author of ‘Life Is A Four Letter Word’ Andy Salkeld, discussed the opportunity which COVID-19 has presented to pause for thought and make assessments that could have a positive impact on our organisations. Many, whilst employees work from home, have introduced new, more personable approaches to engaging with their teams. These could be embedded longer-term for a positive impact on people’s mental wellbeing and overall productivity.

For example, in an earlier blog: 5 tips for managing staff remotely, we discussed the importance of managers holding regular check-in’s or one-to-one’s with their staff. Continuing to use performance management practises can help to ease employee uncertainties and address any fears they may have head-on.

Using Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model for furloughed employees

According to the Bupa Health Clinics-commissioned research, a third of employees are scared about returning to work, with concerns for their health being paramount. Organisations can resolve these concerns by using a framework like Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model to encourage continuous performance management practices that help furloughed employees return to work. For example, the model highlights the need to create a strategic vision and to communicate change clearly. An effective performance management tool such as Actus Software can provide this. It can allow organisations to highlight any new strategic goals and priorities that may have risen during the pandemic. In addition, performance management tools can further outline the safety measures to ensure the safe return of furloughed staff.

Adopt an onboarding approach for returning employees

A lot has changed over lockdown and with that, the attitudes of employees may well have done so too. As such, re-introducing employees back into the workplace should almost be seen as welcoming a new set of employees. Re-introducing furloughed staff may present a positive opportunity to set new standards and improve performance management practices for the long-term.

For example, employees could see existing practices with fresh eyes and through gathering feedback or conducting surveys, valuable insights may be obtained. For more on the topic of feedback, take a look at our free resource: Feedback – the game changer for performance management.

In an earlier blog ‘the 5 types of onboarding you should be doing’ one type of onboarding discussed was ‘social onboarding’. Now more than ever, as we must continue to physically distance amongst our peers, organisations should be responsible for providing a platform where employees can be sociable. This is important for the mental wellbeing of our employees and to avoid a sterile working environment. During the lockdown, many of our Actus customers introduced weekly quizzes via Zoom and ‘social group’ chats to bring a more personable approach to work. Although furloughed employees may be physically returning to work, the importance of continuing these social interactions still remains.

Introducing self-development for furloughed employees

Many employees will have had the time to pause and reflect on aspects of their life, including their own careers. As such, now is the ideal time to create the opportunity to openly discuss any desires employees have for self-development. This does not need to be a formal or expensive exercise, it may just involve highlighting opportunities already available. What it might do is offer some stability during these uncertain times, by demonstrating the value of our employees. Perhaps it might even allow for a talent management roadmap.

For more on this topic, take a look at our blog: how SME’s can develop their staff in three easy ways.

Recognising employees during these unprecedented times

As the belt has tightened for so many organisations and any financial spend deemed non-essential has wavered, it can be easy to forget to thank our employees at all. Yet, by using a performance management software tool such as Actus Software, you can simply acknowledge employees for a job well done against the core values of the organisation. Often a simple thank you can be all the recognition an employee needs to stay them on track. We can further open this up organisation-wide, recognising those that kept everything ticking along. Perhaps even creating virtual awards for ‘best quizzer’, ‘best hair’ etc. to create a fun, personable approach.

In this blog, we have outlined how continuous Performance Management can help furloughed employees return to work. The key takeaway is that organisations looking to get back on track may wish to think about laying new tracks. We can see this as an opportunity to build a better, stronger organisation by using performance management practices.

Performance Management Resources

Part of our ethos is to help build a better workplace for people. We achieve this through great performance management software, the HR Uprising Podcast, and a variety of free thought leadership resources. Therefore, if you would like to learn more about this topic, you can find some additional resources below.

We also have a team of organisational development consultants who are on-hand to help meet your needs for culture change. If you would like to find out more about this service, why not get in touch by contacting us here.

Virtual Performance Management: How to perform your way to recovery

Listen to the HR Uprising Podcast: What really works in Performance Management?