Preparing for Re-Entry into the Workplace

As businesses prepare to re-open their doors, they will be faced with many challenges from both their customers as well as their employees. While most employees are ready to return to “normal” it is unclear what “normal” will be. The only constant right now is we do not know what the future will look like.

In addition to addressing economic concerns, employers are tasked with rebuilding a workplace culture that must address the issues of fear of exposure, childcare demands, skill gaps, and pay.  It is expected that workplace lawsuits will increase over the next year and unless employers are cautious, thorough, and utilize their HR Business Partners in this process, they will find themselves paying out high dollar settlement claims. As you prepare to bring back your employees, there are some key things to consider in how you communicate the message regarding returning to work;

  1. Evaluate the new priorities of your business
  2. Determine what skills will be needed to carry out business priorities
  3. Evaluate the financial impact on the business regarding the number of staff needed to carry out the business priorities
  4. The return to work notice should be written and outline the conditions of the return (i.e. date, #of hours, pay)
  5. Include “at-will” employment language in the notice
  6. Indicate if there is a change in job duties, schedule, or rate of pay (based on the business priorities)

When constructing your return to work notice, consider using your offer letter format for consistency purposes.  This will allow you to address any changes that need to be noted and begin to build the expectation of how you will move forward as an organization.  Consistency in communicating the message will help business leaders and employees understand the needs of the business and their role in helping build a successful “new normal.” Make a true effort to listen with Empathy, respond with Concern, and act with Compassion—it WILL make a difference!

 

Tina R. Macon, MA, CBA, CEQC
President/Senior Consultant
AllMac & Associates

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THE PROBLEM:

 

Company policy states that all expense reports must be reviewed and approved by the employee’s direct supervisor before they will be approved for payment. You as the manager tend to overview expense accounts and do an occasional “spot check” to ensure accuracy-for the most part they are typically accurate. On a recent “spot check” you discovered a $100 charge that seemed out of the ordinary. As you begin to dig deeper you discover that this employee has charged several thousands of dollars to the company for their personal use. When you question the employee they dispute the charges. In fact, they get agitated by the fact that you seem to be “snooping” on them. They accuse you of unfair treatment and state that “everyone else is allowed to spend a few dollars” so why are they being singled out? What should you do?

 

Q. Should you deduct the total amount in question from the employee’s paycheck?

 

A. No! some states prohibit an employer from deducting money from an employee’s check without authorization

 

Q. Should you fire the employee on the spot for falsifying expense reports?

 

A. No! you should consult with your Human Resources office to conduct a thorough investigation prior to termination. Human Resources will consult with their legal resources to ensure they are in compliance with state and federal laws.

 

Q. Should you consult other managers to gain an understanding of how they have handled previous situations?

 

A. No! You should have a confidential conversation with your Human Resources Representative to ensure that this sensitive matter is handled appropriately.

 

Once the investigation has been completed you will work with your Human Resources Representative to develop a plan of action that will address several issues;

  • The facts of the case and what the appropriate next steps should be with the employee(or other employees involved)
  • A change in how you the manager will review expense reports moving forward
  • Development of a communication strategy outlining the new expense review and approval process to all of your employees
  • A review and update of internal processes to ensure that checks and balances are in place to properly manage company resources

Be alert to the widespread implications of company policy and process violations and the impact they can have from both a fiscal and legal aspect.

 

If you would like more information on this topic please contact us at AllMac & Associates for further information.

 

"Connecting People, Processes, and Productivity"

  

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