Re-onboarding: The essential first steps

Image of girl communicating with people on her laptop to help get across re-onboarding message.

We’ve all heard of onboarding, but what is re-onboarding? And why is it the need-to-know subject of post lockdown. Simply put, re-onboarding is a way that employers can re-train their staff and welcome them back to the workplace in a structured and supportive environment. It’s no secret that the past year and a half has been incredibly challenging, and for many of us it has been a rather anxiety provoking time. Being plunged into the unknown environment of remote working was a difficult transition for many people. However, as we all adjusted to this slowly becoming the new normal, suddenly the world opened up again, we were taken back to the way we used to know and being present in the workplace was expected again. It goes without saying that the workplace may not feel as familiar as it once did, but don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom. The good news is that whether you are bringing your team back full time, or on a hybrid working model, by following the correct steps through re-onboarding, you’ll have them happy, motivated and productive in no time, you really can’t go wrong.

The importance of re-onboarding

Re-onboarding is vital for an effective working environment. Did you know that correctly onboarding and re-onboarding is likely to improve employee retention? It is reported that replacing an employee can cost an organisation around 33% of an employee’s annual salary, but with a structured re-onboarding plan, an organisation can improve their employee retention rates by 82% [2]. That’s not all, re-onboarding has been shown to increase employee confidence within the workplace, and let’s face it confidence is key [3] in pretty much every success story. Creating a happy workplace is the foundation towards success within a company. It has been proven that companies that have a happy and relaxed workforce are far more likely to achieve their goals and be all round more triumphant [4]. So, what can you do to ensure that your company is maximising it’s potential? Of course, there are many things involved in a success story, but creating a structured re-onboarding plan at a time when the team is transitioning back to the workplace is naturally a good place to start.

Over recent months, employment rate has been sitting at a steady 75.2% [5]. Some employees that were taken on during the remote working period may have never experienced life within the workplace. Re-onboarding is an excellent way to ensure that they feel confident within the new workplace environment and feel up to speed with the rest of the team.

There are so many benefits of re-onboarding, and it is a wonderful opportunity for staff to re-engage and become familiar with their workplace environment. It has been shown that companies with highly engaged staff are likely to be up to 21% more profitable. It’s true, engaged employees are happy employees and are statistically more likely to perform 20% better than unhappy employees. What’s more, having a structured re-onboarding process will help create stability and direction for employees. Everyone likes a bit of structure to their day, by having a re-onboarding process, it will allow employees to know what to expect and makes it easier to set targets and goals. In addition, a strong workplace collaboration can increase successful innovation by 15%. So why miss the golden opportunity of re-onboarding [6].

What’s involved?

Of course, re-onboarding plans are different for every organisation. In fact, within some organisations, different teams will need variations of the re-onboarding plan. However, the fundamentals of a re-onboarding plan are relatively simple, so you don’t need to worry. There are a few things that are essential to include to make sure that you are doing everything you can to maximise the success of the program. The recommended time for a typical re-onboarding program is two weeks. This doesn’t mean it stops here, re-onboarding can continue throughout the first month where necessary. The plan can be split into three separate steps. Step one includes the preparation for returning to the workplace. This will mean that employees will be told what to expect and will receive a welcome pack. Employers will agree on safety procedures and ensure that the workplace is clearly signposted with the procedures. Just like confidence, clarity is key.

Step two occurs within the first week. This is where employers should clearly explain everything involved with returning to the workplace with employees. These could range from demonstrations of safety procedures, re-introduction to the team, explanations of where amenities can be found and much more. At this stage, mental health and wellbeing support should be explained and offered as this could be a challenging time for a lot of people who are returning to the workplace, and it is likely that anxiety levels will be high.

Step three is the ongoing nature of re-onboarding; this includes checking in with the team to ensure that everyone is comfortable within their role. Sharing feedback is also important here and reviews of teamwork is advisable. Of course, don’t forget the most important part… celebrate success and have fun! The workplace doesn’t have to be a place of dread, enjoy your time with your colleagues and celebrate every little win, they’re important.

Final thoughts

There are so many benefits of re-onboarding, from greater retention to all round happier teams. Do not miss out on this fantastic opportunity to bring your team closer together. And remember, a happy team is a productive team. And above all, don’t forget to have some fun! We have all spent long enough apart to appreciate how valuable good workplace relationships are.


2. Natural HR
3. Asiimwe, C. (2021). Manager Onboarding to Improve Retention, Knowledge, and Confidence to Lead.
4. Thummakul, D., Kaeodumkoeng, K., Prasertsin, U., Sinjindawong, S., & Makmee, P. (2012). The development of happy workplace index. International Journal of Business and Management Studies, 1(2).
5. Office For National Statistics
6. Office Vibe

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