No doubt about it—the last couple of years have been weird for all of us. Among corporate America’s “weird” moments we can count a global pandemic, a mass enterprise shutdown, a wave of remote work that was more like a tsunami, the Great Resignation, and near record-low unemployment rates (3.6%) that have many executives scrambling to fill their organizations’ key roles.
Can you see why employee retention is more important than ever?
Don’t misunderstand me—employee retention has always been important. It’s a well-known fact that keeping employees is a lot less expensive than finding and hiring them and that turnover causes lost productivity and lost revenue, not to mention low morale. But in the current economic climate, replacing employees could not only be expensive and time-consuming, but it could also be well-nigh impossible. Therefore, now is the time to romance and make your employees fall in love with your company again and to remind them why they came to work for you in the first place.
Re-Onboarding—What is It?
Onboarding is the process of bringing new employees on board, training them, acclimating them to the company’s culture, and making sure they’re comfortable with their roles, their co-workers, and their space. It usually involves quite a bit of administrative processes and paperwork (or its digital equivalent).
So what’s “re-onboarding”? Well, basically it’s an onboarding refresher course for existing employees. Of course, they don’t have to be re-hired and go through all that rigmarole again, but they can all benefit from relearning and recommitting to the company’s vision, mission, culture, and practices. Re-onboarding can also answer any outstanding questions they might have and clear up any gray areas regarding the organization’s policies and procedures and even their future with the company.
Re-Onboarding—Why Do It?
The short answer to this question is: to have a better shot at retaining your employees for the long term. Following are some statistics about onboarding that might prove helpful:
- New employees who have a good onboarding experience are 18 times more committed to their employers.
- A negative onboarding experience doubles the chances of an employee looking for a different job almost immediately.
- Implementing a robust organizational onboarding program can increase retention rates by 25%.
- Organizations with a strong onboarding process have a 52% increased new-hire retention rate.
- Employees who participate in extended onboarding programs (up to a year) attain full job aptitude 34 times faster than their counterparts.
- A great employee onboarding experience can improve the probability of that employee staying with the company by about 82%.
At this point, you might be thinking, “Yes, but these statistics are about onboarding. How do they apply to re-onboarding?”
First of all, it’s natural for employees who have been with a company for a long time to start settling into a groove … otherwise known as a rut. Re-onboarding can be the shot in the arm they need to infuse them with the same level of excitement they had when they first accepted the job.
Secondly, employees who are slowly trickling into the office again after working from home during the pandemic are likely to feel somewhat discombobulated—like they are new employees—especially with the level of change that has likely taken place within the company during the time they’ve been away. Says Liz Fosslien, head of content and communications at Humu, “Upheavals mean that even long-time employees—who have spent years building their reputations within an organization—may now feel they’re starting from scratch” (Harvard Business Review).
So what could be better for these existing employees than a chance to reconnect and re-engage with their colleagues, managers, and company culture?
Re-Onboarding—How to Do It
Re-onboarding doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach; much will depend on your industry and the culture and policies you already have in place. However, certain best practices can be considered universal:
- Reinstate and communicate expectations – Don’t assume your team already knows everything that is expected of them. Reestablish policies, procedures, and core components of company culture. Try to find unique and engaging ways to present this information—gamifying content is always a great option.
- Focus on Goals – Be specific. Don’t simply pay lip service to your organization’s overarching goals and visions. Let your team help you come up with and establish actionable and challenging-but-attainable 30, 60, and 90-day targets that will excite them and motivate them to work together.
- Listen to Your Employees – Who would know what your employees need to feel comfortable, supported, and engaged better than they would? Train your managers and executives to find ways to gather employee feedback and act on it.
HR executives, managers, and other company leaders should take an active role in re-onboarding and supporting loyal employees who simply need to be reenergized. They have invested a lot of their time and trust in you—it’s your turn to do the same for them.
By Fernando Ortiz-Barbachano
President & CEO of Barbachano International (BIP)
Barbachano International is the premier executive search and leadership advisory firm in the Americas (USA, Mexico, Canada, and Latin America) with a focus on diversity and multicultural target markets. Outplacement and Exe