Reboarding Frontline Employees: A checklist of things to consider

Ruben Wieman

Ruben Wieman

Table of contents

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. 

It's time for organizations 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?

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.  

What is the difference between reboarding and onboarding?

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 program.

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.

10 tips for a successful reboarding process

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

1. Create a reboarding roadmap

After these uncertain times, clarity is key during the reboarding process. Outline what safety and health measures have been put in place (e.g. hand washing, visitor registrations, regular health checks, restrictions on maximum customer numbers, mask requirements, etc.) and how long they are likely to be in place. Share your roadmap early to give your frontline workers as much confidence as possible in your return to work plan.

2. Prepare useful material

These are unusual times, so businesses should be ready to receive an overload of all sorts of questions. Be sure to prepare useful materials, like reboarding FAQ documents, or create a sub-community on your internal communication platform to help out with any questions that your frontline workers may have.

3. Communicate what’s changed

Good internal communication is a vital part of the reboarding process. Try to convey essential information to your frontline workers, like the potential impact of the pandemic in the short, medium, and long-term, as well as new hires, departures, organizational structure changes, cost savings, and more. Crucially, communication will also reassure any workers that have safety concerns about their return to work.

4. Re-introduce your organization’s values and communicate its business objectives

Remind your employees why it’s so great to work for you! Champion your vibrant workplace culture and your exciting business goals as part of your reboarding plan.

5. Organize fun team building activities

Focus on the social aspect of the job. Plan challenges, organize a fun quiz or set up a company gathering to help refamiliarize frontline workers with their colleagues. In many industries, people haven’t met their colleagues in a long time, so make sure they get used to each other again as early as possible.

6. Have onboarding modules ready for any new hires

Have you created any new job functions? Make sure you have onboarding modules ready for any new hires and be sure to update existing onboarding modules based on the latest changes.

7. Refresh the memory and fill any skill gaps

Fris het geheugen op en bereid je voor om nieuwe campagnes en producten te lanceren door eLearning programs and microlearning initiatives. After such a long period away from the workplace, productivity is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels immediately. Businesses, frontline workers, and customers will need to adjust, and eLearning support will help streamline this process.

8. Give your frontline a voice

Start engaging with your frontline workers again. Relaunch your employee feedback programs and use surveys to find out what your workers like about the reboarding process and what could be improved.

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, or view our explainer video below and see how Oneteam can help you connect, train, and engage your frontline workforce. 

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