You’ve heard of onboarding, you’ve heard of offboarding, but what is reboarding? How many of these could there possibly be?
In a nutshell, reboarding is reintroducing employees to the workplace after longer breaks such as parental leaves or sabbaticals. And pre-pandemic, that was about it.
But if the past several years have proven anything, it’s that we all need to be better prepared to deal with the unexpected. You may never have thought about reboarding before, let alone prepared for it. Especially if your company is newer or smaller. And we don’t blame you.
Post-pandemic, we all went through extreme transitions – we went back into the office, we returned to work, or perhaps we handled workloads different to how we had had before. And with this, reboarding took on new meaning. It became necessary, and it became part of the everyday.
So if reboarding can make all the difference in helping your employees readjust to the ‘new normal,’ or to a return to the office, why not bring it on? Here’s everything you need to know.
Re-understand employee needs
The pandemic has affected everyone differently, and while different industries may have different needs, different employees may also have different needs. When implementing a reboarding program, divide the process into two main pillars: industry requirements to reintroduce employees to, and personalised support that can be offered to each employee.
Reboarding on an industry level can range anywhere from refamiliarising employees with standard safety practices to providing them with the latest company data to work from. Think of it as rebuilding the bond between employees and the business, and doing so in an industry (and business) specific way.
Reboarding on a personal level, meanwhile, might look different for each company as well as for each employee. Are you able to offer mental health support while employees are reintroduced to the workspace? Will you be organising some team building activities to refamiliarise everyone with each other? Think of what your company needs, and what your specific employees might need. Then get planning!
Re-foster team and company culture
Speaking of team building, this is one point we need to spend more time on. Realistically, your returning employees have not seen one another for a long stretch of time. Now think of how awkward you feel at reunions, even around people who used to be your closest friends. It just takes a while to redevelop a sense of comradery, and the same is true for returning employees. Even though they have most probably been speaking over zoom, they haven’t been having daily chats over coffee.
So, spend ample time on rebuilding team spirit and reinforcing company culture. Employee satisfaction, as we love to remind you, is the pillar of any successful business. Fostering a well-connected body of employees who get along not only with one another but also with higher management and the greater vision of the business is priceless.
Of course, the first step to getting anything done is to speak about it. Just as your employees haven’t seen each other in a while, they haven’t seen the HR team or the higher management of the company either. In reestablishing company bonds, it is crucial to also reestablish communication between employees and the rest of the company too.
A great way to do this is to make sure that, while reboarding, you spend ample time with employees. Attend team rebuilding activities, hold sessions in which employees can ask you questions, and reiterate that your door (or email) is open for anyone who might have any concerns. The goal here is to emphasise that employees are not alone in the reboarding process, and that just as they did during onboarding, they still have a support system with which they can communicate.
Establishing clear communication during reboarding is also important in effectively relaying expectations to the team. What are some changes that might need to be taken into account, or some timelines that need to be stuck to? Make sure everyone is on the same page.
Speaking of changes – there will probably be many of these. After all, no one survives a global pandemic and comes out unaltered. Whether these changes be in your policies, schedules, or softwares, reboarding is a great time to make sure employees familiarise themselves with the new way of doing things.
And, you know, refamiliarising yourself with these changes wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world either.
When talking about changes to the system, make sure to emphasise how all such changes will be serving company vision. This will help reiterate company ethos and goals, making sure that employee actions are still aligned with these.
If all of the technical aspects are taken care of, let’s get to the fun part. Find ways to motivate employees to regain in-office productivity levels!
Gamification is a great way to do this, and can help you foster healthy competition between employees to reach their targets. Launching reward programmes, both as part of or independently of gamification, can also be a fantastic way to encourage employees to be productive while boosting team spirit.
Motivating employees is important not just for increased productivity levels, but also to make sure that mental health levels in the office don’t plummet. After a long hiatus of in-office work, returning to an office can cause stark changes to daily activities and therefore to mental and emotional health. By finding innovative and fun ways to motivate employees, you can encourage a positive environment in the office.
And, again, offering mental health support is also a wonderful way of boosting employee motivation. Think complimentary subscriptions to mental wellbeing apps, a once-a-week head/shoulder masseuse, or even discounted therapy sessions to those who might desire it.
Reboard your employees to bring the team back together, open up channels of communication, increase productivity. And while you’re at it, you might even find creative juices flowing more than ever!