How has Lockdown affected our wellbeing and what does this mean for your New Starter Induction?
While we are on the up with vaccinations and a pathway to easing restrictions, the true cost of lockdown is manifesting itself in the form of a decline in the mental health and wellbeing for many across the country.
It is important that this is considered by HR and L&D professionals at every stage of an employee’s journey, beginning with the Induction and Onboarding process.
Remote working, lockdowns and regional restrictions have left many employees feeling lonely, anxious, and having difficulty switching off. HR and L&D have a responsibility to do all we can to support the wellbeing of all colleagues throughout their journey with an organisation.
Previously, organisations might have considered including some support in relation to wellbeing and mental health from the beginning of an employee journey, but it is now more important than ever to provide key support as soon as you can.
In this article, we explore the things that you can do from day one to help with the impact of the global pandemic on our mental health and how it has left some of our workforce feeling.
Here are our top tips:
1. Signpost Support Networks
Most organisations will have support networks or mental health first aiders that can support colleagues with their questions, should they need any additional support. You can provide your new starters with this information during their Induction, either through their initial meetings, within a Welcome Pack or during their Corporate Induction.
New starters should be made aware that they can get support from their Line Manager or from the HR or L&D team. It is also important that line managers are provided with the right training so they can support their teams.
2. Hear from a Wellbeing Guest Speaker
If you host a Corporate Induction, this is a great opportunity to bring in key Guest Speakers who can provide vital information to your new starters.
Previously, this might have included a HR representative, Health & Safety Advisor, or someone to speak about Risk or Information Security. More and more organisations are now including a wellbeing or mental health Guest Speaker. This provides a great start in showing the value and investment your organisation makes to supporting colleague welfare and mental health.
This Guest Speaker session might include an overview of the support that is offered, ways that they can get involved in various initiatives or an opportunity for new starters to ask any questions they might have.
3. Be Human!
A big learning from the last 12 months for HR and L&D professionals is that we need to be flexible to the needs of our colleagues. Things can change very quickly during a pandemic and this can take a significant toll on the mental health and wellbeing of everyone.
Where you can be flexible to accommodate needs, whether it be ensuring remote working, allowing time for childcare or child education, time for vaccinations, Covid tests or self-isolation, there are things that we can support with. Allowing support for individuals with these challenges can make employees feel secure from day one with their new organisation, helping with their overall mental health and wellbeing, as well as improving employee retention.
4. Create ‘Meet and Greet’ Opportunities
Before the pandemic, new starters would likely have multiple opportunities to meet colleagues across the business. This might be at a Corporate Induction event, team meetings, networking sessions, or even bumping into colleagues in the kitchen!
In order to create a sense of belonging, HR & L&D have had to rethink what these opportunities look like in a remote world. There are lots of options available, including remote lunches, remote Corporate Induction events, virtual ‘meet & greets’ or even hosting a ‘coffee morning’ via your virtual platform of choice. Regular meetings and sessions that include an opportunity to learn more about each other and share experiences helps to create that sense of belonging for new starters which is a vital part of supporting wellbeing in the workplace.
5. Take it past Induction
The length of your Induction will depend on your organisation, some might consider this a week, two weeks, a month, or even 6 months. Ensure that there are ongoing opportunities for new starters beyond their initial Induction into the business.
You don’t need to make these opportunities mandatory but the fact that they are available for those that need them means that they have additional opportunities to continue their networking and continue to build their sense of belonging. Additional opportunities might include Social Networking Events, Action Learning Sets, or additional training sessions.
What is right for your organisation?
There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to providing the right care and support to our colleagues from day one. However, the above, will give you a good place to start! Consider the needs of your new employees, what might be important to them and put solutions in place to give them the best start in their new career.
Don’t be afraid to try new things and if they don’t work, you can always change them!
You may also want to ask for feedback from recent new starters to find out what would have been helpful for them during their initial months within the business.
Want to find out more?
To find out more or to seek advice from a member of the Rise Learning Group team, contact us by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.