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Re-onboarding is an essential process for bringing staff back into the fold. Whether they've been away on leave, are returning to the office for the first time in potentially years or simply are preparing to transition into a new work model, it's crucial to ensure they feel welcome and ready to get to work.

But what goes into a re-onboarding plan and who in your organization could benefit the most from it?

What Does Re-Onboarding Mean?

Most organizations have some type of onboarding plan in place. New hires go through it, they get a feel for the culture, they learn the processes they need to be successful in their work, and then they’re sent off to get things done. While this has been the norm for years, the reality is the work landscape has changed drastically and continuously over the last few years. 

From organizations transitioning to a fully-remote model after success with it during the pandemic to those asking staff to come back to the office, chances are the processes and policies they learned during that initial onboarding have likely changed. 

Related: 3 Return to Office Planning Tips for Associations Leaders Learn More >

So how is re-onboarding different? 

“Re-onboarding is a separate program that reengages current employees and educates them on company updates (sometimes small, but always important) while also serving as a refresher,” says Aleksandra Sulimko in an article for Forbes.

Why Should Associations Consider Re-Onboarding Staff?

That “refresher” component is crucial as it can mean many things for associations. In some instances, it can be as simple as re-learning internal processes your team is changing, but it can also include changes to legislation or regulations that directly impact the work your organization does. 

Additionally, it’s an excellent opportunity to reintroduce organizational goals, make connections among staff and streamline processes among potentially dispersed staffers. This is why re-onboarding is less of a pandemic-focused strategy and more of a long-term solution for associations looking to keep their teams at their best. 

Who Would Benefit the Most?

When it comes to those significant policy changes for organizations, everyone in your association should know about them. But who else should you be thinking about when you start considering a re-onboarding program?

  • New Remote Staffers – The last few years have allowed many associations to go beyond their traditional hiring locations to find talented staff. However, when expanding your team or changing policies as other staffers return to the office, your remote members must understand how their workflow may change. 
Related: Everything You Need to Know About Virtual Onboarding Learn More >
  • Organizations Creating a Hybrid Workplace – According to an AT&T study, “the hybrid model is expected to grow from 42% (2021) to 81% (2024).” However, over 60% of respondents also said they had no plan to make that transition. Re-onboarding allows your organization to set expectations and procedures to help ensure that transition is as smooth as possible. 
  • Staff Transitioning from Remote to In-Office – The most significant area where re-onboarding is needed is when association staffers return to the office. Whether it’s discussing working hours and processes, reminders on office etiquette and dress code, or new health and safety measures, re-onboarding can ensure everyone is on the same page and comfortable with a return. 

Re-Onboarding and Organizational Culture

While re-onboarding can focus on how the “work” aspects of your organization are changing, it’s also an opportunity to address any cultural changes or ambitions as well. For example, if your organization has recently changed its goals or is looking to workshop its core values, re-onboarding can help introduce new perspectives and expectations from your staff. 

Related: We Rewrote Sidecar’s Core Values: Here’s How & Why Learn More >

5 Points Your Staffer Re-Onboarding Should Focus On

So, if re-onboarding can help your association respond to the state of the workplace, then making a plan is the first place to start. Five of the points you should be looking to address include: 

  1. Set the Organizational Tone – It's important that your staff members have a clear understanding of where the organization is heading and what their role will be in helping to achieve those goals. While they may have been the same pre-pandemic (they most likely aren’t), you want to be sure your staff understands how your association’s and board’s goals impact their role and day-to-day. 
  2. Outline Rules & Procedures – Chances are things have changed since staff was last in the office – both from an organizational perspective and staffer comfort levels. An essential part of re-onboarding is discussing these changes. From outlining your corporate policies to talking through processes and responsibilities (as your staff may have changed), everyone should have a clear understanding of how things work. 
  3. Train Up On New Systems or Skills – For associations, software is key to getting things done – from learning platforms to your AMS. If your organization has made any recent transitions, now is the time to ensure your staff knows how to make the most of it. Similarly, using re-onboarding as a time to find opportunities for professional development and training can help empower your team. 
  4. Build Connections – Re-onboarding is also a time to re-establish relationships with co-workers and introduce new staff. Not only should you spend this time getting to know everyone on a personal level, but you should also take some time to explore their expertise and opportunities for collaboration. Whether it’s facilitated ice-breakers or breakout groups, the more you can foster connection, the better you can establish a connected culture. 
  5. Schedule Routine Check-Ins – In the first few weeks or even months after a re-onboarding, it can be helpful to touch base with staff members regularly to see how  you can support them. Checking in regularly, both formally and informally, can be a great way to continue that re-onboarding process outside of the initial meeting. 

By focusing on your re-onboarding process, you’re setting your organization up for success. Not only can you help reduce staff turnover and improve productivity in your workplace, but you can also find areas of improvement that can make your workplace – wherever that may be – a better and more productive place.

Jose Triana
Post by Jose Triana
November 10, 2022
Jose Triana is a writer and creative focused on helping purpose-driven organizations learn and find value online. When he isn't working on content, you can catch him going for a run or resting with a good book.