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Reboarding
How do you onboard someone who left your company and has now returned? Reboarding is the answer in this scenario, but is also useful in others. Here's how to add reboarding to your HR tool belt.

What Is Reboarding?

The reboarding of employees refers to a modified version of onboarding specifically reworked to be geared towards those who are already familiar with your company’s policies, mission and culture. This is a tool most commonly used in scenarios where an employee or employees were away from the company for a period of time and are returning to work. However, reboarding can be utilized in any scenario where employees could benefit from a refresher on company mission/policies or if there are any major changes to the organization.

Why Is Reboarding Important?

Reboarding can be a valuable tool in the HR toolbelt for the sake of:
  • Efficiency. Rather than repeating information an employee is already versed in, reboarding summarizes familiar information and spends more time on the new. This makes reboarding a shorter process than onboarding and spends more time where it’s needed.
  • Consistency. Particularly in instances where reboarding is being used to communicate major changes, this ensures the education of the workers is the same across for every worker.
  • Thoroughness. Rather than holding a simple meeting to educate employees on only new information, reboarding reviews all important company information. This gives workers a recap of information they may have forgotten or that might have changed since their onboarding.

Reasons Employees Need to Be Reboarded

There’s a number of scenarios where reboarding can be a powerful tool. Any time a group of employees could benefit from a firm redirection, reacclimation to the work environment, refresher on workplace policies and conduct, or an adjustment to workplace culture is an opportunity to leverage reboarding. Here are a few examples.

Rehired Employee or Transfer

Sometimes, you lose good people. And sometimes, those people come back. When this happens, having these employees go through the onboarding they’ve previously gone through might be excessive and feel to the employee like a waste of their time. Reboarding offers the employee a refresher of the important information, without the “fluff” of unnecessary information such as introductions that have already been made or tours of facilities they’re familiar with. On the other hand, when an employee transfers from one location to another, a modified reboarding would focus primarily on making introductions and familiarizing the employee with the facility while only briefly reviewing information that is the same at all locations. This can help fill them in on any differences in procedures and location-specific policies without repeating information they’re already educated on.

Company Reopening

Company temporarily shut down for a variety of reasons. When this occurs for an extended period, you may find it beneficial to ensure everyone is on the same page and prepared to reenter the work environment. Reboarding is an excellent way to do that while simultaneously educating your workers on adjustments you’d like to see in the workplace’s culture.

Struggling Employee(s)

Reboarding can also be a solution when you see toxic culture seeping into a workplace, department, team, or individuals. While it’s not a hard reset, specific curriculums to target the culture’s struggles can be effective at giving employees the opportunity to voice areas of concern and address them in real time. This can be an alternative to traditional disciplinary measures, which could inadvertently add fuel to the fire. Reboarding offers a bit of a fresh start for struggling employees while bringing the company mission and culture back to the forefront.

Other

There are other instances where reboarding can be a valuable tool to shift the trajectory of a business, adjust the focus of employees, or make a major adjustment to company culture. In these instances, reboarding can unite employees in accepting a sizable change. Some examples include:
  • Change in company mission
  • Company merger
  • Adoption of new retention strategies
  • Creation of a new department
  • Sudden sizable loss of employees/management
  • Company misconduct

What to Cover During Reboarding

As reboarding has a wide variety of applications, different scenarios call for additional curriculum or the summarization of parts of your existing onboarding program. The idea is to cater to the needs of the group being reboarded. In general, we consider the following to be essential to a successful reboarding.

Company Mission

Outline the overall mission of the company. Emphasize this point if there have been any changes or if you've noticed the staff starting to lose sight of the goals of the business.

Policy Overview

Include an overview of crucial company policies. Spend more time covering ones you've noticed are often overlooked or not taken as seriously as they should.

Location-Specific Information

This is mostly applicable when reboarding a transfer employee, but is good information to review nevertheless.

Culture Review

What does your culture focus on? Maybe it's values like integrity, communication, respecting others, or going above and beyond. Reboarding is a perfect opportunity to bring in additional tools to highlight this aspect of the culture and equip them to excel in that area.

How to Reboard Employees

When it comes down to the “how” of reboarding employees, these are the steps you should take.

Step 1: Invite and Create Hype

The idea is to help each individual to relax to the idea of being reboarded and increase receptivity. Sending invites to each employee, putting a countdown on the staff home page, and releasing sneak peeks of activities you plan on including are a few ways to get your employees comfortable with the idea of reboarding. Hype is good, but so is communicating the purpose and importance of the reboarding event.

Step 2: Provide an Outline and Communicate Goals

Either through physical pamphlets/booklets or by emailing a set agenda, make the schedule known. Clearly present what will be covered. Additionally, include a time at the beginning of the reboarding event to open the floor and communicate what goals you and each staff member wants to see accomplished through this reboarding program.

Step 3: Make Room for Questions and Breaks

Be sure to include space in your itinerary for multiple mini-breaks as to not overwork your employee's brains and give tone to process. This can help with the retention of the information. Additionally, include time for open discussion and for questions to be asked and answered at length. This can maintain efficiency while avoiding being rushed.

Step 4: Execute a Follow-Up Plan

This could look like connecting them to a “buddy” (if circumstances allow), checking in with the reboarded employees through email or in person, or scheduling a time to meet with the reboarded employees 30 days from the reboarding event. It may also include getting feedback from attendees so you can improve your next reboarding.
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Kayla Farber

Kayla Farber

Kayla is the Chief Innovation Officer at Hero Culture, where the passion is to create company cultures of retention using the power of personality.
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