Top Strategies for Re-Onboarding Returners Effectively

There are many reasons businesses welcome back employees who have been off for an extended time, such as maternity, paternity, parental, carer, bereavement, illness leave. This process, known as re-onboarding, is crucial for ensuring a smooth transition for the returner and the business. It also aids retention of key talent, supports the returners well-being and maximises productivity within the business.

Here are some top strategies for businesses to re-onboard their returners effectively:

Clear Communication

Communication is key when it comes to re-onboarding. Allowing the returner to express their expectations and for the business/manager to be clear on the businesses expectations for the returner is vital.

Ensure that your returners know what is expected of them and what changes have occurred in the organisation during their absence.

Regular updates and open channels of communication will help them feel connected and engaged.

Ensuring there is regular feedback and recognition helping the returner to feel motivated and valued.

External Supports

In a working environment, a returner feels vulnerable to speak about how challenging they are finding the return. Due to fear of impacting their career or relationships in the workplace, the returner does not speak up to say they are struggling with both personal and professional aspects of returning to work. Instead, they tend to move companies or leave the workplace (In Ireland 82% of mothers return to same employer after mat leave and 12mths later only 57% are with the same employer).

Providing support through external resources, such as coaching is extremely beneficial as it allows the returner to work through their challenges in a safe and non-judgmental space.

Manager Guidelines & Training

People managers have so much to deal with within their workings days, that putting supports in place for managers is essential to ensure the smooth transition back for the returner.

Giving managers guidelines and templates on how to manage returners and putting specific training in place, will promotes fairness and consistency for the returners. It also reduces discrimination and aids in reducing any unconscious biases that may be present.

Schedule Check-ins

Over the first 6 weeks of the transition back to work, ensure there are diarised check-ins between the manager and the returner. This will help to regularly evaluate the re-onboarding process and make adjustments as needed. It will also provide opportunity for feedback from returners to identify areas for improvement, or overcome challenges they may be facing.

Refresher Training for the Returner

It is important to offer refresher training to help returners get up to speed on any new systems, tools, or processes that have been implemented during their absence. This will help them feel confident and competent in their role.

Remote Work Options and Phased Return

Offer remote work options where feasible, allowing employees to work from home or other locations. This can reduce commute-related stress and expenses, as well as provide a better work-life balance. Offering a phased return back can help ease the transition as the returner is finding their way with their new balance personally and professionally.

Provide a Mentor or Buddy

Introducing a mentor/buddy scheme provides peer to peer support, whether industry peer or company peer, and can aid the navigation back for the returner. Having a working parent network group for to promote sharing of tips, internal and external resources and peer support is a great way of creating community within your business.

In conclusion, re-onboarding is a critical process for businesses to ensure the successful return of their employees. By following these strategies, businesses can help their returners feel valued, supported, and engaged, leading to increased productivity and success for the organisation as a whole.

Book a free consult to understand ways your business could improve their strategies to re-onboard employees in your business, in an effective, meaningful way.

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