How To Reboard Employees After Covid-19: 3 Recommended Steps To Take

This year threw a curveball at all of us. Employees were furloughed and temporarily laid off at record numbers, and now some organizations must reboard them. 

Reboarding, or re-onboarding, is the process of bringing an employee back to an organization and refamiliarizing them with their role. If reboarded improperly, organizations risk wasting their time, money, and resources. 

For organizations that must reboard employees, we’ve created a three-step recommended checklist. Reboarding after Covid-19 is not one-size-fits-all, but our three recommended steps can help your organization determine what’s important to consider when bringing employees back. 

  • Step 1: Create a Plan for Returning to Work with Support Resources
  • Step 2: Consider a Training Program to Refresh Employees on their Role
  • Step 3: Reinforce your Organization’s Goals through Clear, Consistent Communication

Ready, set, reboard!

You may be asking yourself the following question: “How do I bring employees back to the team and ensure they feel safe, secure, and ready to perform well?”

Depending on the industry your organization is in, our three-step checklist could be applied to your reboarding program in different ways. In any case, we hope our recommendations can help make your reboarding process smooth and safe! 

This article will define reboarding, explain its importance, and offer a recommended three-step checklist that could work as a framework for reboarding at your organization. 


What Is Reboarding?

Covid-19 has flipped the workplace upside down, changing how and where employees work. Organizations across the nation were faced with furloughing or laying off employees and may now need to decide how to bring them back. Reboarding does just that. 

Reboarding, short for re-onboarding, typically involves activities you do when onboarding a new employee. These activities include:

  • Integrating employees back into the workplace culture
  • Technical and safety training
  • Updating employees on relevant changes
  • Getting employees back up to speed as soon as possible

Essentially, reboarding refamiliarizes laid-off employees with the organization and their role. Reboarding looks different across organizations in different industries, but the importance of reboarding effectively remains consistent.

Importance of Reboarding

Reboarding is vital for the following two reasons:

  • From a productivity standpoint, you want your employees to get back up to speed fast. You must ensure that your employee is up-to-date on policy changes and expectations regarding their position. 
  • From an emotional standpoint, you want to make sure that your employee feels engaged, welcomed, and reconnected to your organization. They may feel uncomfortable having not been in the office surrounded by their colleagues for so long, so it’s critical to provide emotional support. 


Recommended Covid-19 Reboarding Checklist

Now that you know what reboarding is, you may be wondering how to reboard an employee. With our recommended three-step checklist, you can make sure that if your organization must reboard employees, you provide them with what they need to succeed. 


Step 1: Create a Plan for Returning to Work with Support Resources

Preparing for the new normal at the workplace can be a challenging task. To help lighten the burden, we suggest organizations create a plan for their reboarded employees. Organizations may find it helpful to designate a team responsible for developing, implementing, and monitoring this plan. 

We recommend that organizations design a plan that considers the following:

  • Hazard assessment — If applicable, determine risks associated with retraining personnel on various equipment, tools, etc. If possible, provide individualized methods for reboarding with remote access. 
  • Sanitization — Supply your workforce with the proper cleaning and disinfection supplies, like soap, sanitizer, masks, etc. Identify high-traffic zones and frequently sanitize them. 
  • Social distancing — Limit occupancy to a number of employees that can be safely distanced from one another. Post signage to remind employees to maintain distance. 
  • Covid-19 action plan — Require employees to strictly self-monitor themselves for signs of the virus. Clearly state isolation and return to work plans. 

After being laid off or working remotely for some time, reboarded employees may need support resources once they return to the office. Within the return to work plan, your organization should prepare useful materials, such as policy documents, safety activities, resources for mental health support, FAQ sheets, etc. Your organization may also find it helpful to assign coaches to personally assist reboarded employees. 

The need for support resources and their form varies across organizations based on their industry and employees’ roles. An example of such a resource is virtual instructor-led training (VILT) that introduces employees to support staff. VILT allows reboarded employees to re-meet and understand the roles of key personnel if they’ve changed. This way, learners can feel more comfortable and confident entering their workplace again. 

Read More: VILT: 8 Ways To Make The Most Of It For Your Learners


Step 2: Consider Training Program to Refresh Employees on their Role

In a situation where an employee’s job functions have changed, they’ll need to be updated on the primary responsibilities of their role. It may have been a couple of months since an employee has performed the essential functions of their position. They may need a refresher on their core duties to achieve full productivity.

Extended reality (XR) technology is a great way to retrain employees in their roles if they’ve been away for an extended period of time. For example, employees could complete an augmented reality (AR) program that shows key components of their job function.

Users can place the simulated object onto a surface and study and interact with it through an iPad or tablet. This AR program can be completed from anywhere at any time and eliminates the need for real-world equipment, training employees in a safe and effective manner. Once having a refresher of their role, employees will feel more confident on the job. 


Step 3: Reinforce your Organization’s Goals through Clear, Consistent Communication

Clear, consistent communication should occur during every reboarding stage. Reinforcing your organization’s goals ensures that the reboarded employee is up-to-speed with the rest of the organization and understands why their work matters. 

Consistent communication between an employer and their employees builds trust, clearly maps out goals, reduces anxiety, and strengthens work culture. An employee may have a solid grasp of the organization’s goals, but there’s a chance these goals may have changed while they were gone. 

If goals have changed in the time when the employee was gone, it could be useful to overview the following:

  • Clearly state/reiterate the organization’s objectives
  • Explain plans for the future that achieve these goals
  • Specify how the employee helps meet these objectives

Employers can reinforce their organization’s goals through regular email updates, newsletters, and video messages between teams. Throughout this process, we recommend encouraging reboarded employees to raise questions and concerns that leaders can address appropriately. 

Read More: 4 Ways Marketing Can Support Your Training Program


Ready, Set, Reboard!

We’ve covered what reboarding is, its importance, and our three recommended steps to help you reboard successfully. 

Are you ready to learn more about onboarding or want to design your custom training program? Get started today!