What HRs Must Do About Employees Returning From Furlough

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Suraj is a passionate blogger who writes for a global audience. His writings can be inspired from a myriad of topics to anything distinguishable that keeps a reader hooked. He has written for many websites and also been showcased as a guest author. Suraj lives in India right now.

2020 is nearing its end and companies are beginning to awake from hibernation – despite the continuing pandemic. With workers returning from furlough, HRs of businesses are going to have a busy time. 

The pandemic may have disturbed the natural order, but it helped organizations realize who their real assets were. Earlier, rules would mandate from top to bottom. Today, organizations ask their people what needs to be done. HR became a priority and top agenda of any kind of organization. 

Going forward, the biggest challenge would be bringing employees together. 

Employees returning from furlough will be working with the regular workforce once again. One can’t be blind to the differences that might have been created out of the isolation. Furloughs create a mental pressure on individuals. This was the time when they have been struggling for motivation, seeking temporary employment, or even juggling more tasks. When you bring them back together with employees who have been working for you throughout the lockdown, the design is not normal. 

This is where the HR manager’s role gets critical. 

HR leaders need to rebuild the trust of their employees. The varied experiences of employees now needs to be set aside. The future is more important now and HRs needs to communicate this to the staff, while keeping recognition and motivation high. 

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Take COVID precautionary measures first

Before everything comes Health. Set aside the first day for a complete health assessment for all the employees returning from furlough. 

Here’s the complete set of steps you need to follow:

  • Take employee temperatures and health history into consideration
  • Send employees home immediately if they report sick
  • Implement safety practices like face masks and social distancing
  • Increase the frequency of sanitizing more commonly touched surfaces

Show empathy

Empathy was the only tool organizations were left with when COVID-19 struck. If that has worked with your customers, it will definitely work with your employees – who are actually your first customers.

Employees furloughed must have started seeing themselves as less valuable and less connected. Many would also ponder over the thought of whether the current job is actually something they want after all. 

When demotivation, unwillingness, confusion, and insecurity levels are at an all-time high, the only weapon HRs have is empathy. 

Show empathy to your returning employees as much as you can, Design unique activities focused more towards them. Offer them welcome gifts to make them feel special. 

Always remember that you must do everything possible in your might to make them feel as included as they were before the furlough. 

Shower recognitions

Right now, you need recognition that goes deeper than the previous ones. Design unique ways of public thank-yous, bonuses, and celebrations that are motivational enough to make them feel trusted once again – and empowered to work.


With high levels of engagement and happiness at work, you can achieve anything impossible at work. Take these steps for employees returning from furlough and we are sure they won’t take much time accepting back the family they lost due to the crisis. 

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