Reboarding your employees: 7 tips to improve their experience [updated for 2023]

June 12, 2020
June 26, 2023
Employee Onboarding

There are two ways to look at reboarding your employees: this could be a pain in the backside, or this is an opportunity to re-engage your staff and change how you work for the better. Disclaimer, there’s no guarantee that option two won’t be painful at times, but it’ll certainly be worthwhile!

Common reboarding scenarios

You’ll likely be operating in two scenarios, or perhaps a mixture of both.

  • Employees are returning to work after a break, such as a furlough period.
  • Your staff have been working remotely and you’re preparing for a physical return.

Regardless of which, it’s important to remember things have changed. People’s perspectives might be different, their priorities will have altered, and your office is also going to be a different space—literally and metaphorically. Either way, the below tips will help you reintegrate employees into your post-COVID workplace as well as returns from parental leave, medical absences and anything else.

Tips for successfully reboarding your employees

Return to work interviews

You’re not simply picking up where you left off, so it’s important to reconnect with your employees well in advance of their return. It’s your chance to update them but, more importantly, to understand their thoughts and concerns. Once you’ve discussed these issues, you can reflect them in your reboarding plans.

Ask them what they’ve missed about working or the office, what they would change about it, and how they feel you can be more effective in the future. If you can address these before they return, it’ll be much smoother for everyone.

Communicate often and transparently

Being open with reboarding employees is probably the best way to build trust. Set the expectations, explain the timelines for returning to work and keep them in the loop with anything that changes. While employees must have access to reboarding information in one place, it’s not wise to overwhelm them by delivering it all once. An intelligent learning platform like HowNow enables you to bring all your information together in one place while scheduling its delivery to your selected audiences.

Encourage them to buy back into the vision and culture

If you were onboarding a brand new employee, you’d introduce the vision, value and why of the company, right? Reboarders don’t need the full version of this, but it is an excellent chance to reconnect them with the mission and remind them of the values that brought them to your door.

Limit the screen time

It’s official, ‘Zoom fatigue’ is a real thing! Keep that in mind when you’re planning your updates, there’s no chance anybody is going to get excited about eight-hour virtual training sessions or webinar-style town halls. Face-to-face interactions are what the majority of people have missed, so tap into their enthusiasm for connecting without their camera.

Focus on social connections

“41% of Britons say the thing they miss most about not being on site is the office jokes and light-hearted banter.”, a Vodafone study revealed at the beginning of April 2020. Months have passed since and the cravings for some office fun will have only grown, so make sure you set aside time for social engagement and human connection.

Make resources available online

Your employees might need a refresher in some areas, or there might be a new skill they need to learn as they return to work. It’s important to make these available and give them the freedom to learn at their own pace. What’s even more effective is to give them access where they’re already working, so that they can tap into these resources as they learn new skills.

Update your content

Before you do unleash all of your resources, you should audit them and update any that need adapting to reflect the new ways of working.

We missed off context! You shouldn’t  – an update for 2023

You’ll have to forgive us, we wrote this at the peak of the pandemic and missed something pretty important off the list: context.

The good news is, we’ve made that mistake so that you don’t have to. We often say that context is the most overlooked thing for learning and development – a consideration of where the content you’re creating will be applied – and the same applies to reboarding.

Ever taken a two-week holiday, forgot how to do your job or missed a massive update? That’s a fraction of what your reboarders will feel.

So, alongside the techniques we’ve mentioned above, use a context-mindset to ensure people understand the changes that might effect their job.

How can we help reboarding employees catch up on context?

  • Remind or update them on the company goals: What we’re working towards will influence how they do their job.
  • Explain the current process: Rather than focusing on what’s changed, run through processes in their entirety. This will allow people to flag any hazy parts or things they’re not familiar with.
  • Catch them up on big changes since they went away: Whether it’s movement in the leadership team, new working hours or the loss of big customers, we need to ensure the important changes are communicated.
  • Connect them with internal experts: If someone’s been leading a big project in their absence, they’re the best person to explain it.
  • Talk them through tools and tech: Whether they’re new or old,  you’ve probably made tweaks in the ways you use them.
  • Schedule a check-in: It’s no use telling people all this and then not coming back to see whether they’re struggling with any changes or new ways of working. You’re aiming to ask this sort of question: now you’re back in the role, is there anything that’s not clear or you need more help with?

Can HowNow help with your reboarding process?

If you’re searching for a platform that connects all of your employees with the resources they need to reboard effectively, then we’re here to help! Get in touch and trial HowNow for free today.

Check out our other employee onboarding resources