What if My Employees Don’t Want to Come Back to Work?

The economy is slowly emerging from its COVID-induced hibernation. Businesses are reopening, and employees are returning to work. However, some workers might be reluctant to rush back into the outside world. What can you do if your employees don’t want to come back to work? 

Coaxing your best employees back to work might be more difficult than you think. On the one hand, the virus continues to make headlines, sparking understandable health concerns. On the other, the government’s increased unemployment benefits have created a financial incentive for some workers to stay on unemployment. 

There are steps you can take, however. By creating the right incentives and building trust with your employees, you can convince them to return to work.

Here are a few steps to take if your employees don’t want to come back to work: 

Find Out Why They Don’t Want to Come Back 

You can probably guess why most reluctant employees are hesitant to return. They are likely either responding to either safety concerns or to some sort of financial incentive. In other words, either they’re worried about catching COVID-19, or they are making more on unemployment than they were earning on the job.  

While these general categories probably cover most of the reasons your employees have, each worker might have subtle concerns or specific problems they are dealing with. After all, the coronavirus outbreak has led to other secondary challenges for many families, such as limited childcare options. To make effective plans, you need to have these concerns in mind.  

As such, survey your employees about their feelings related to your planned relaunch. By knowing their specific worries, you can respond more effectively. You can address their specific concerns and help draw them back to the workplace. 

Respond to Reasonable Feedback  

Once you gather information from employees, you can begin making the appropriate plans. Create a blueprint to respond to as many concerns as you can.  

You might not be able to respond to every individual worry. However, you likely don’t have to solve everyone’s problems. By reacting to the major concerns your employees bring up as a group, you can minimize most of the barriers between you and an effective return to operations. 

Create Effective Anti-COVID Procedures 

The coronavirus outbreak has led to an understandable increase in safety concerns surrounding the disease. You can’t blame your employees for a new-found fear of spreading germs on the job. It’s up to you to integrate anti-COVID procedures into your general safety protocol. 

In other words, do what you can to offset this concern about disease. Create new policies aimed at minimizing the risk to your employees. Discuss your plans with your workers so they know you’re serious about resuming operations in the safest way possible. 

Make the Stakes Clear 

Let your employees know why you’re trying to get the business going again. They might have the wrong impression. They might see the situation as more optional than it really is. Clarify the financial imperatives involved and the necessity to resume operations. 

At the same time, make your near-term staffing policies clear. If you’re willing to let your employees stay furloughed as long as it takes for them to feel comfortable, then you might have to make do without some individual workers. However, that kind of patience isn’t always possible. If an employee’s reluctance to return to work is making you consider a permanent change, be honest with the workers in question. They should have all the pertinent information they need to make the best decision for them and their families. 

Have a Backup Plan 

You can’t wait forever. As sensitive as you want to be in these trying times, and as important as your individual employees may be, you can’t let a few people hold your relaunch hostage. If they don’t want to return to work, that’s ultimately a personal decision. You have given them the opportunity to return. If they reject it, it might be time to move on. 

Building the right team is a crucial step to business success. With a conscientious and safety-minded staff in place, you can overcome any challenge. Find these team members by using a strong recruiting partner, like SmartTalent. 

Contact SmartTalent today to upgrade your staff. 


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