While some organizations have opted to have their employees work 100% remotely most organizations have opted for a hybrid return-to-work model, where employees are in the physical workspace on certain days of the week and work from home on others. Now, employees who either switched to remote work two years ago or who have never actually worked in the office at all must be reboarded and helped to adapt to the new normal.
Typically, employee reboarding is the process of reacquainting a returning employee with your organization, highlighting any relevant company changes that took place during their absence, e.g. new management, updated policies, different systems.
The purpose of reboarding is to return that sense of familiarity to an employee so they can feel a part of your company culture again and “remember” their role and contributions.
Employee reboarding under the lens of COVID-19, however, is very different. Instead of reboarding one or a few employees, you’re reboarding most or all of your workforce at the same time, which possibly means less one-on-one time and a strain on your resources.
The goal of reboarding has changed too. Reboarded employees must adapt to the new hybrid work model, where they may not be in the office every day. Concurrently, employees are also attempting to return to their productivity levels before COVID-19 and a semblance of “business as usual”.
In short, employee reboarding is about the employee experience: helping your employees emotionally reconnect with the work and their coworkers.
Keeping your employees safe and informed is one of the most critical aspects of your employee reboarding strategy.
Most of your communication will likely come from managers, so it’s important to give them the resources and support they need to be comfortable with delivering workplace updates and answering any feedback or concerns from their direct reports.
Make your content digestible (quick bites of information) rather than relying on lengthy PDFs to help your employees grasp the nuances of your new health and hygiene protocols. If you have a corporate wiki, you can house the information there.
Consider creating a workplace policies FAQ document as well. It can be something as simple as a Google Doc with view-only permissions that you can share with all employees. In this document, include contact details for your HR team or your internal communications manager so your employees can have a direct line if they have any questions about the new policies or need additional clarification that their manager isn’t able to provide.
Set up an office schedule on Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, or similar software to give employees clarity and visibility into who is in the office on which days. Departments can also have their own calendars with more granular details.
If you have the resources, also consider having employees who have been in the office previously buddy up with those who haven’t to show them the ropes. This can include functional things such as where supplies are stored, as well as other tips like where the best places to grab coffee or lunch are nearby.
Consider using pulse surveys to check in on your employees and how they’re finding the transition.
Pulse surveys are short, informative surveys with actionable results, meaning that the questions you ask help you understand if and where you can improve. Essentially, you’re taking the “pulse” of your company and employees.
For example, if you want to know if you’re being transparent and clear in your communications, a couple of pulse survey questions could be: “Do you feel you have enough insight into our company decisions?” and “How informed do you feel about what’s going on currently in our company?”
Pulse surveys are designed to be fast and frequent, to be sent out once a week or every couple of weeks. Aim for five or fewer questions and try to keep each survey focused on one topic to generate more accurate and honest responses. If you’re a Rise Performance client, the solution features employee check-ins that can be sent out weekly to touch base with your employees. Remind managers to schedule 1:1s, and encourage weekly check-ins either through email or the check-ins feature within Rise Performance to help you quickly identify any reboarding issues.