What is reboarding? 6 ways to get workers back on board post-COVID
As we return to work in a drastically changed world, how can you help your employees get used to the new normal? How do you support them in doing their best work at a time like this?
One word: reboarding.
What is reboarding?
Reboarding has been around for much longer than coronavirus. In normal times, it’s what you do when someone is coming back from parental leave, a sabbatical, or a long period of medical leave. It’s a way of getting them used to the organisation again, bringing them up to speed with any new information, and making sure they settle back in.
What’s different now is that you’ll be doing this for your entire workforce at the same time.
Why is reboarding important?
Whoever said, ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’ had never lived through times like these. Your people are going to feel as if they’re starting a brand new job – so you have the opportunity to re-energize them and get them fired up about working for your organisation.
There’s also the matter of learning the new ropes and getting back on top of their to-do lists. Reboarding will help them hit the ground running and get back to full productivity faster. Perhaps more importantly, it will also help them reconnect emotionally, enabling you to safeguard your employees’ mental health.
How do you reboard effectively?
Whether your employees are coming back from home working or furlough, here are six world-class strategies that work..
1 Communicate clearly
To build trust with your workers, set expectations clearly from the day they return – and make sure you follow through on your promises.
2 Tell great stories
Make sure your employees know your ‘why’ – the reason your company exists – and remember their own ‘why’ – the reason they decided to join you.
3 Check in early & often
Never make returning workers feel neglected. Start checking in with them before they come back, and keep doing it frequently.
4 Break down barriers
Your employees shouldn’t have to struggle to get information. Give a central resource with FAQs they can look through for themselves in their downtime.
5 Drip feed information
There’s bound to be a lot you want to communicate, but don’t overwhelm them by infodumping everything as soon as they walk through the door. Drip-feed them info in manageable bits.
6 Recreate social connections
Help your people rebuild their working relationships by fostering social contact (even while socially distanced) and fostering collaboration across departments.
Your reboarding strategy is only as good as your communications. That means you have to communicate the whole plan clearly at the start. Ideally, get the whole company on Zoom. If that’s not feasible, have a Zoom meeting with your managers and get them up to speed on how to communicate the plan to their teams. Go over it with them, explain what you’re trying to do, and don’t forget to ask for constructive feedback!