Reboarding Frontline Employees: A checklist of things to consider

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic (hopefully) in sight, many organizations have already begun preparing to invite their employees back into the workplace. As the virus has spread across the globe, many businesses have had no choice but to place workers on furlough schemes. Some of the sectors that have been worst affected include hospitality and retail, many of which have been forced to close or offer a reduced service in the era of social distancing. 

Fortunately, as vaccination programs gather speed, there is now some light at the end of the tunnel. As a result, businesses need to consider whether they are prepared to safely and responsibly welcome workers back. They need to examine whether their reboarding plans are up to scratch.

What is reboarding?

While most companies will be well aware of the importance of a good onboarding process, reboarding is discussed less often. Reboarding takes place when an employee re-joins a company or when their work conditions have changed significantly. Although many companies are preparing for post-pandemic reboarding, a similar process should occur when organizations rehire an employee that previously worked for them, when employees return after long-term leave, or when workers transition to a new role.

Although they may be similar, there are key differences between reboarding and onboarding. While both are important for bringing employees up to speed, reboarding is often more targeted, familiarizing workers with things that have changed, company procedures, or policies - but it may not need to cover some of the areas, like company introductions, culture, etc that are traditionally prioritized during the onboarding process.

But while reboarding may not be as exhaustive as onboarding, it remains extremely important. Frontline staff, in particular, are likely to have faced significant disruption to their job roles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and will be seeking reassurances about returning to work. Given that workplace changes are likely to persist, at least in the near future, a reboarding plan is essential for workers. After the previous 12 months, they may feel as though they are starting their job all over again - and it’s likely that there will be significant changes to deal with. 

Below, we’ve put together a short checklist for businesses to follow as they start putting their reboarding plans in place.

Your reboarding checklist

 

1. Create a reboarding roadmap

After these uncertain times, clear communication is the key to a successful reboarding process. Provide an overview of the safety and health measures tasks (e.g. hand washing, visitor registrations, regular health checks, restrictions on the maximum number of customers, face mask duty, etc.) and how long they will be in force. Share your roadmap early to give your frontline employees as much confidence as possible in your organization’s return plan.

2. Prepare FAQ documentation

These are unusual times, so companies need to be prepared for a plethora of all kinds of questions. Be sure to prepare useful help materials, such as FAQ documents around reboarding, or create a subcommunity on your internal communication platform to help with any questions from frontline employees.

3. Communicate changes

Communicate important information to your frontline employees, such as the potential impact of the pandemic in the short, medium and long term, as well as new team members, departed team members, changes in the organizational structure, cost savings and more. Also, try to reassure your employees who are concerned about their safety upon their return to work by communicating precautions.

4. Reintroduce your core values and business goals

Remind your employees why it’s so great to work for your organization! Emphasize the core values and get everyone excited about the (adjusted) business goals.

5. Organize team building activities

Focus on the social aspect of the work. Plan team challenges, organize a fun quiz or a drink to re-familiarize frontline employees with their colleagues. In many industries, people haven’t seen their colleagues in a long time, so make sure they get used to each other as early as possible.

6. Make sure your onboarding modules are up to date

Have you created any new features? Make sure you have onboarding modules ready for new employees and make sure you update existing onboarding modules based on the latest changes.

7. Refresh memory with e-learnings

Refresh memory and prepare to launch new campaigns and products by creating e-learnings and microlearnings. After such a long period away from the workplace, productivity is unlikely to return immediately to pre-pandemic levels. Organizations, frontline employees, and customers will need to adapt, and e-learnings can speed up this process.

8. Give your frontline employees a voice

Engage your employees and ask them for feedback on the reboarding process. Create surveys and find out which areas you can improve the process in.

9. Measure impacts

Measure the outcomes of the reboarding process to understand how it can be developed in the future. Metrics like safety, customer satisfaction, and compliance can be assessed so managers can evaluate the strength of their reboarding plans. 

10. Give each other a high-five!

The elbow bump belongs in the history books. Show your appreciation for your frontline workers by giving them a well-earned high-five.

How an Employee Experience Platform can help

An effective Employee Experience Platform can help businesses make reboarding a smooth process. Learn more by downloading our Employee Experience Platform whitepaper.

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