Ramping back up in the new world order.

It seems ages since we started having those tough discussions about furloughing our amazing team members. And now we’re approaching summer again. At long last, our clients are talking about the return to in-person live events. That means our leadership team can make plans to ramp up and bring our people back where they belong. 

I want to put the champagne on ice and load the confetti cannons. But this isn’t going to be a “beam me up Scotty” moment. The fact is, our enterprise has changed over the last year. It’s changed for the better, to be sure, but I would be lying if I said it was a painless process. And now, as people start returning to the company they’ve been part of for years and apart from for many months, we need to be mindful about what will seem foreign to them. Even as we celebrate the return of each individual, we need to be intentional about how we onboard them — “reboard” them — so that they understand how to get things done in the new world order. 

I suspect that many other companies that started downsizing a year ago are in the same situation. People walked out of one door and are walking back in through another. They will be disoriented. They will need to learn about new processes, practices, and initiatives. They will need to sort through new assignments and flow charts. They will need to understand how clients’ objectives have shifted coming out of the pandemic. It’s a daunting challenge that must be handled with utmost care, empathy, and forethought. And here’s the trick — it’s not just the work that’s changed. I doubt that anyone has made it through the last 12 months unscathed. But if we feel a bit older from the experience, I think we can claim to be wiser, too.

I’ve always maintained that Freeman people are the best on the planet. But hitting the ground running when the ground is a 45-degree ramp is a unique challenge for anyone. Here’s what will save us — Culture. For all of the change we have undergone at Freeman, we hold fast to our values. As our people return, they can lean into the same values that have kept them on track and moving forward throughout their careers. Sure, things may seem unfamiliar. Yes, we’ve done some serious remodeling. But the foundation, the values that our company is built on, is as solid as ever. It has proven equal to disruption. It has proven worthy for new construction.  

As we welcome people back, we must recognize that everyone is coming from a different place. Our shared values provide a common denominator that links our diversity and gives us all a claim on this place that feels like home. That’s worth more than I can say. Certainly, it’s worth celebrating.

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