16 June 2020

Reboarding done right

Welcoming colleagues back into the organisation

As government restrictions continue to lift and businesses begin welcoming their colleagues back, we’ve got an opportunity like never before: Reboarding. That’s right! We get to reboard all of our colleagues back into our business. Back into our culture. Back to each other.

So what does returning to work mean to your people? How will it make them feel? The truth is, it will be different for every colleague, and while some may feel a sense of renewed purpose and excitement about seeing their colleagues again, others will be feeling anxious and scared of the unknown. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach, so it’s key to understand people’s individual circumstances, how they are feeling, and model your reboarding strategy around them.

Even before the pandemic, we were regularly talking about the importance of segmenting your people and understanding what matters to them. Individual roles and responsibilities aside, think about the types of people in your business. The colleagues working from home alone, the key workers, the colleagues working from home with children and partners. Everyone’s experience will be different.

And while you may not think that every employee needs to be reboarded, as some jobs haven’t changed that much, don’t forget the varying emotional states your people will be in. It’s not just about bringing people from A to B, it’s about reacclimatising your people and repatriating them back into the organisation.

There should be two key phases to your reboarding strategy: Managing in the short term – your immediate reboarding and engagement plans; and Managing in the long term – your strategy to future proof the business. When setting your reboarding strategy and direction, you’ll need to consider both the health and safety practicalities and support and wellbeing.

Our eight strategic themes for successful reboarding are a great place to start:

  1. Listening
    Colleagues will want the opportunity to share their views, so they know they are being heard and considered.

  2.  Purpose
    When your colleagues feel connected to your purpose, they’ll be more committed to playing their part.

  3. Strategy & Direction
    Colleagues want to see there is a clear business direction and to know what it is.

  4. Leaders & Managers
    Colleagues want to feel informed and supported by their line manager, and confident that they have a clear plan.

  5. Health & Safety
    Colleagues want to know that all reasonable steps to keep them safe and well are being taken.

  6. Wellbeing
    Colleagues want to feel that their employer cares about their wellbeing and will support them through this time.

  7. Transformation
    If colleagues understand the need to adapt the way they work, they can contribute to that process.

  8. Learning
    Despite what’s going on at the moment, colleagues still want opportunities to learn, grow and develop in their role.
Getting going

To get going, you’ll need to start by identifying your different employee groups and personas, and use a survey to find out what they need. Then, you’ll need to equip managers with a ‘reboarding guide’ full of information, advice and tools to do it well. Humanity is key here; employees have never needed this level of support before from their employer, so organisations will need to balance the commercial side of running their business with the need to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of their people.

What is everyone else doing?

We thought you might ask that. So, here are some of the things we’ve been helping clients with, in their prep for reboarding. 

  • ‘Welcome back’ managers’ guide
  • Staying safe campaign – including branding, signage, screen design and ESN assets. Using behavioural science to get the safety message to stick. 
  • Health and Safety guide –  a simple, creative and easy to use guide to educate colleagues on all the new and updated H&S protocols to keep everyone feeling safe and secure in the workplace.
  • Campaign to celebrate returning to work – a celebration (virtual and socially distanced) to welcome everyone back as business ramps up again. 

If you need help with identifying your colleague personas,  your reboarding strategy, or to make your health and safety campaign stick, we have a suite of tools to get you going. 

Get in touch us: hello@mccannsynergy.com


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