Reboarding Done Right: 10 Tips for Reintegrating Your Workforce

Posted in Career & Performance

How do you welcome employees back from a leave or prolonged absence from your workplace? A box of donuts and a hearty hello? Maybe a long ‘to do’ list and a “Good luck”? Or do you provide a reboarding plan that helps them to reacclimate, rekindle connections, and catch up on the changes that have happened since they were last onboard? 

Work moves fast, and it’s likely your team has more than a few new faces, tools, processes, and goals since the last time your prodigal employee was around. It’s unrealistic to expect them to hit the ground running just because they once knew the road. Instead, you need to reboard them!

What Does Reboarding Employees Mean?

So, what IS reboarding, you ask?  Unlike onboarding, which is designed for new hires, reboarding serves to reintegrate existing employees back into the workplace after a prolonged absence or transfer. It might also comprise major organizational changes, or even a need to refresh skills and knowledge due to evolving job roles. 

When someone returns to your team they could be foggy on how things work or may have gotten out of touch with processes and procedures.  That can result in uncertainty, mistakes, shaky confidence, or even put their engagement and belonging at risk. 

Reboarding is about welcoming folks back with open arms  — but also a PLAN to re-familiarize them with the workplace, re-build team connection, reignite their passion, create a positive employee experience, and rev up their engines for the next leg of their journey ahead.

Onboarding vs. Reboarding 

While both onboarding and reboarding aim to align employees with their roles and the company’s objectives, their focus and strategies differ significantly to accommodate the unique needs of new hires versus returning employees. 

Here’s a closer look at some key distinctions:

PurposeIntroduce new hires to the company culture, their roles, and responsibilities.Refresh returning employees’ knowledge of changes and re-align them with company culture and updated processes.
FrequencyOnce, when an employee first joins.Can happen multiple times, whenever an employee returns after a significant break.
FocusLaying down the foundational knowledge about the company and building initial connections.Re-establishing connections, updating on new changes, and re-activating employee engagement.
DurationTypically extensive, spanning several weeks to ensure a thorough understanding of the new environment.Often shorter, focused on updates and reintegration.
CustomizationGenerally standardized with some role-specific adjustments.Generally standardized with key personalized touches based on the duration of absence and the changes that have occurred during that time.
Emotional ContextExcitement mixed with anxiety about new beginnings.Familiarity blended with updates, focusing on reintegrating into the changed environment.

And remember, whether it’s onboarding or reboarding, the goal is to make every team member feel like they’re exactly where they belong—right there with you, ready to rock and roll!

8 Strategies to Successfully Reboard Employees

Successfully reboarding employees is crucial for maintaining workforce agility and engagement, especially in dynamic business environments. Here are some effective strategies to ensure your reboarding process is smooth and effective — and for which, by the way, you can leverage Enboarder’s capabilities to enhance the reboarder experience:

1. Keep Communication Clear

Start with clear, open lines of communication, with reminders and nudges where they matter most. Prior to their return, send personalized messages outlining what they can expect in their first days back. This helps in setting the right expectations and reduces anxiety. Use seamless communication through automated workflows that can be personalized for each employee, ensuring they receive timely and relevant information.

2. Set up a Structured, Consistent Reorientation Program

Develop a structured reorientation program that includes updates on any changes that occurred during their absence. This should cover any new company policies, team restructuring, or shifts in strategic goals. Create interactive content, employee games, and checklists that guide returning employees through each step of their reorientation, ensuring no critical information is missed.

3. Catch Employees up on What’s New 

Don’t assume that just because employees worked there before that they’ll know all the current practices and expectations. Assumptions are why a lot of employee programs fail.  Instead, proactively update employees about new developments since they were last around. Develop a “What’s New” session or document that shares key projects, changes in leadership, personnel, new clients, or shifts in company strategy. (And by the way, Enboarder can facilitate this by creating interactive timelines and newsfeeds that provide employees with digestible, up-to-date information they can consume at their own pace.) This way employees will feel immediately reconnected to the company’s current state and feel less like they’re having to play catch-up.

4. Put Good Feedback Mechanisms in Place

Incorporate feedback mechanisms to gather insights about the reboarding process from the employee’s perspective. This feedback can help refine your approach and address any ongoing concerns. Survey and two-way communication tools will allow for real-time feedback and adjustments, making the process more adaptive and employee-centric.

5. Reconnect Employees to the Humans Around Them

Be sure to reconnect returners to the human networks they’ll need to be successful. Pair them with a mentor or buddy, and reintroduce them to their team. Friendships and peer support can ease the transition and provide a go-to person for any day-to-day questions or guidance. Tools like Enboarder can help you connect (or reconnect) people on a human level, matching mentors and mentees based on skills, experiences, and personal interests and fostering meaningful connections among colleagues.

6. Schedule Regular Check-ins

Encourage regular check-ins between reboarding employees and their direct managers. These meetings are crucial for discussing progress, addressing any concerns, and realigning on goals. Help managers to provide these by automating the scheduling of these check-ins (through a tool like Enboarder) and provide them with prepared talking points or agendas so they can make the most of these interactions.

7. Make it Personal

Some people will be reboarding after leaving the company for a while — others might just be back from some time in a different office, or on a different team. Though you will want to provide a consistent experience, you should also tailor the reboarding experience to meet the specific needs and circumstances of each employee. Personalization can significantly enhance the employee’s comfort and confidence as they transition back to work. One way to scale this is to segment employees into different groups based on their specific needs and to customize the reboarding content accordingly.

8. Celebrate the Big Rebound

Inclusion is everything. Make the return of an employee a celebration and be sure to show them how happy you are that they’re back. Be sure to use some of the ‘Wow!’ moments you use for new joiners. This not only boosts morale but also publicly reaffirms your commitment to supporting the employee experience. Enboarder is a great way to build in those special moments to welcome back events or initiatives that involve the team, fostering a sense of belonging and community.

9. Refresh Training on the Regular

Offer role-specific training sessions that help employees refresh their skills and knowledge. This is particularly important if new tools, technologies, or procedures have been introduced. Integrate training modules directly into the reboarding process, allowing employees to learn at their own pace and access training materials anytime, anywhere. 

10. Monitor Reboarding Progress and Engagement

It’s important to track the effectiveness of your reboarding process and measure the engagement levels of reboarded employees. Implement metrics to assess aspects such as how quickly employees are resuming full productivity, their satisfaction with the reboarding process, and their overall well-being. Enboarder offers analytics tools that can track these metrics in real-time, providing insights into the success of your reboarding strategies. This data can help you make informed decisions and timely adjustments to the reboarding process, ensuring it meets the needs of all returning employees.

Empower Your Reboarding Strategy to Boost Team Integration and Productivity

By implementing these strategies, organizations can ensure that their reboarding process supports employees effectively, making them feel valued and prepared to resume their roles. Enboarder enhances these strategies by providing the tools needed to execute them seamlessly, ensuring that every transition is smooth and every employee feels engaged from day one back on the job!

Enboarder can be a powerful tool for welcoming back rejoiners and positioning them for a smooth reentry into the team. Get a tour of the solution today or chat with our experts about how to set up a top-notch reboarding program that will inspire better connection, productivity, and success!

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