Skip to main content

Depending on geographic location and lingo preferences some call it reboarding. Some call it a return to work. Or return to officeOr re-onboarding.  Or re-entry. Others associate it with layoff or furlough recall, medical leave, or secondment. Whatever the termwhatever the reason, employees who have been away from their workplace for an extended period need time to settle when they return to work in-person. They need to become reacquainted with the corporate culture, their colleagues, updated processes and procedures. Onboarding new hires is second nature for most organizations. To reboard employees, while similar, is not quite the same and can help support the transition back to work as we come out of the pandemic.

“In aggregate, reboarding is about the work that leaders and their teams must first proactively do in order to successfully reconstitute as productive, co-located teams within new and changed contexts. It’s akin to welcoming back a team of expatriate employees from abroad or starting a job all over again. – MDA Leadership 

10 Tips to Reboard Employees With Pulse Survey Feedback As Your Guide

Everyone has had their own unique experiences over the past year-plus. Juggling remote work with parenting responsibilities, for instance. Dealing with the stresses, anxieties, and pressures of an unprecedented global crisis. Initially feeling relieved to have avoided job loss, wrestling with emotions of “survivor guilt” in consideration of colleagues who weren’t so fortunate, and then shouldering a workload heavier than ever with fewer people available to help carry the weight

Acclimating to an onsite mindset and hitting the right note when it comes to socializing and collaborating may take some getting used to. Multiply the individual adjustment by the tens or hundreds or thousands of employees working at your organization, and you can easily understand why a solid reboarding strategy is needed and how employee surveys can guide those strategies.

Schedule a demo today to see how WorkTango can help guide your organization on how to reboard remote employees.  

Schedule A Demo

Reboard - employee alone at desk

You want to get your people ramped up and eager to go, as fast as possible. But you also want to make sure they feel supported. Reuniting teams with a reboarding approach that’s based on active listening will alleviate any sense of disconnect.  

Here are 10 ways to dial up your reboarding efforts and tune into the employee voice as an active listener: 

  1. Ask people what they think and feel about a physical return to work. What are their preferences and suggestions? Anxieties or fears?
  2. Spend the time needed to review and discuss ideas with your teams.
  3. Encourage people to ask questions or raise concerns with leaders. 
  4. Co-create a plan for reboarding; strike a committee to flush out, implement and track the plan. Areas of focus could include:
    • Methods of recall – who, why, how, and when 
    • Workforce supplies – sanitizer, masks, disinfectant supplies, signage 
    • High traffic zones – scheduling management and cleaning (lunch area, washrooms, elevators, meeting rooms). 
    • Coach or buddy pair-ups to make the transition less of a solo experience and more of a team effort. 
    • Consistent two-way communication to map out goals, build trust and show leaders are actively listening and employees are being heard. 
    • Reacquainting colleagues, reintroducing hires who have yet to meet anyone in person – to build unity. 
    • Hybrid considerations – blending in-person and remote environments if applicable   
Reboard - office meeting with masks

5. Make a re-onboarding resource available that includes updated policies, safety and cleaning protocols, health and wellbeing support information, FAQs and other pertinent documents.

6. Regularly check-in throughout the reboarding process using pulse surveys to follow up on earlier surveys and to zero in on specific areas of importance or concern. Share survey findingsencourage dialogue, act. 

7. Give employees time to adjust at their own pace.

8. Find out what works best for individuals, teams, and collectively across the organization.

9. Build in the flexibility to adapt as people and groups get to know what works best for them.

10.Communication consistently, transparently, often.

Reboard Employees With Confidence

After a long-term absence, employees often experience a sense of loneliness and disengagement. The good news is that when used properly, an Active Listening approach that takes Pulse Survey insights into account can help make reboarding easier.  Whether you need to gather knowledge, create a culture of feedback and learning, or prepare remote employees for reboarding, WorkTango can help you get started.

Download our Stay Survey Template to understand why employees stay at their organization. 

Additional Resources

Check out our guides on workplace culture, employee engagement, and employee surveys. Learn about every aspect of a successful employee voice initiative!


We write on the current challenges HR and organizations are facing in order to support our community. Check out more of our articles here.


Register for upcoming workplace culture and employee experience webinars or watch on-demand sessions.