How a reboarding process creates a great experience for your returning employee.
We often talk about how important it is to remember a structured and successful pre- and onboarding process as it is proven to be one of the most effective methods of e.g. ensuring long-term employee success, engagement, and satisfaction. We also often talk about how important it is to remember that onboarding should be considered as a continuous process that keeps leadership and employees continually up to speed and should not be considered as a one-and-done process. Therefore, we would also like to introduce you to the little sister of onboarding: Reboarding – a relatively new, but highly relevant term and process which is gaining popularity.
What is Reboarding?
Reboarding is the process when an employee returns to work after a longer time-period; whether we are talking about a mother or father coming back after maternity/paternity leave, or an employee coming back after a longer period of illness such as stress – hence, you should have a return-to-work plan, a reboarding process.
When an employee returns to work, there are different personal and professional aspects that you, as an HR manager or Team Manager, should consider: the history, the period of time the employee has been away, the reason for the absence, etc.
To help you get a sense of what Reboarding is and how to implement a Reboarding process, we will provide you with five tips on how to create a good reboarding experience.
Plan and be prepared
It is very important that you coordinate and plan the return-to-work process and that you ensure that the computer, desk, etc. are in order if they have been utilized by someone else in the period of absence as well as electronic aids have been installed with the newest programs and software. In that way, you ensure that your returned employee feels welcomed back.
Provide a support-person
Provide the returned employee with a support-person, maybe a colleague whom the employee feels comfortable around and whom the employee can turn to if a problem was to occur or he/she has concerns which he/she does not feel like talking about to the manager. A trusted colleague or support person will make the reintegration process much easier for all the parties involved.
Talk with your returning employee – and your current employees
Conversations between you, as an employer, and the returning employee is of vital importance and should not just take place on the return day. Instead, it should be an ongoing correspondence while showing continuous support and understanding as it can determine how valued and motivated the employee feels. As an employer, these conversations can be utilized to tell about ongoing changes and to get a better understanding of the employee’s specific needs.
Furthermore, it is very important to talk about how the employee prefers to be welcomed back. If the employee has been absent due to long-term illness, the employee can be extra vulnerable. Therefore, talk about if you, as a manager, should inform the current staff about the illness and the circumstances, if they do not know about it? Does the returning employee wish to continue as nothing has happened? Or does the employee prefer to talk openly about it? Talk to your employee about what the best solution is for him/her.
Reintroduce the employee
If you have a digital pre- and onboarding process, consider letting the returning employee re-take different tests and learning modules that they discovered during the pre- and onboarding process for the benefit of both the company, your team, and the employee. Consider letting the returning employee choose himself/herself which modules he/she feels most urgent and necessary to re-discover, thus, ensuring a better and more smooth start for everyone.
Co-operate with experts
To ensure a fast and successful reboarding experience, it should be considered to involve experts. If your employee has been absent due to e.g. stress, a professional coach can be a tremendous help in getting the employee back on his/her feet and become fully motivated and reach time-to-productivity quicker. Even though this will be a cost for your company, it will be a good long-term investment due to that the employee most likely will be more motivated and engaged, utilize less time on sick leave as well as the employee can learn to deal better with stressful situations and the pressure of coming back; hence, a good investment for your company on the long run.
Furthermore, a reboarding process is a great opportunity for employees who have been in the company for a longer period of time and might feel that they are not up-to-date with the latest strategy, programs, etc. Then, reboarding can be utilized to re-engage your long-term employees and make them feel relevant and up-to-date in the workplace as the new employees do. Furthermore, it can be utilized if an employee moves to a different department within the company or a different position, e.g. to a management position; thereby, a reboarding process can be utilized to e.g. brief about expectations and policies for the manager role and share the methods which upper management utilizes to measure managerial success.
We hope that the tips mentioned above will help you to ensure a successful reboarding experience where your returning employee is re-integrated and keeps being motivated to work at your company.