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A Guide to Reboarding your Sales Employees

11 minutes read

What not have we witnessed in the last couple of years? We have seen

  • A global pandemic that seemed like it would never end
  • There was a sudden shift in the

These are just some of the main challenges that we have seen during the pandemic crisis. After two long years, we finally are able to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel as our lives are getting back to normal and workplaces are getting reopened. But after two long years of remote working, it’s natural for the employees to get impacted by this new change all over again.

Even your seasoned workers may feel like they are new hires. And need I say about the actual new hires who have joined your organization during this remote work period. They have never really experienced your work culture or have met their co-workers and managers in person.

As the world is beginning to open up, many employees are already returning to offices (or will be soon). And the business leaders now need to make this change easy for everyone. This calls for what is known as “Reboarding”.

Defining “Reboarding”

Reboarding, short for re-onboarding, is the process of reintroducing employees to the workplace after an extended absence. It involves all the activities you do in order to set an employee up for success when they re-join your company or when the work conditions have significantly changed.

Reboarding is not a new concept. In the past, it is often referred to as reintegrating those employees who

  • Had been on a long-term leave
    • Like parental leave or sabbatical leave
    • Or because of an extended illness
  • Had been on temporary assignment elsewhere
  • Have transitioned to a new role within the company
  • You have rehired employees who used to work at your company in the past (also known as “boomerang” employees)
  • You have reopened your offices after a lockdown or temporary business shutdown

Whatever the scenario might be, the goal of reboarding remains the same everywhere. That is to reassimilate employees into their positions successfully.

Today, reboarding has taken on greater and global significance as employees are brought back together as teams, returning from remote offices to brick and mortar spaces and finding ways to collaborate in a hybrid workplace. This process requires ongoing employee engagement and evolving development.

Significance of reboarding

Amid lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, paces slowed and lifestyles changed. Commutes were virtually nonexistent, with many spending all their time in essentially a single location. Boundaries were blurred, and daily rituals obscured among work, home, education, and leisure.

Normal interaction amongst colleagues was virtual and intermittent. Many employees experienced stress and fatigue, likely as a result of undefined parameters and unspecified timelines.

Reboarding offers the opportunity to remotivate, refocus and encourage employees, thus ensuring individual well-being, positivity and productivity as employees become accustomed to the latest version of normal. This new normal

  • At some companies means working on-site every day
  • And at others, this means that the remote work will continue at least one day or a few days per week

While there will be variations in the “new normal,” one thing is for sure: The future of work is hybrid (meaning the work can be on-site or remote depending on your convenience) and everyone can work well in this environment if communication remains clear and consistent.

This is where reboarding helps. The reboarding process restores camaraderie, communication, and community bonding in the hybrid work environment.

When done well, it also reconnects your employees with

  • Your company culture
  • Your organization’s values
  • And your company’s vision and mission

Finally, it also ensures your employees’ comfort and safety in the office and optimizes their working potential

Reboarding Checklist

Having a checklist before you reboard your employees ensures that the reboarding is carried out smoothly and properly without missing out on anything that is important. Here is a sample checklist that will help you create one of your own:

  • Prepare useful material: Create documents containing FAQs and cybersecurity guidelines that can be referenced by your employees to get answers quickly.
  • Check and make sure you comply with your local regulations: For example, you need to know,
    • How many people can be in the same workspace
    • Whether it is mandatory to wear masks
    • And what to do in case someone tests positive or develops COVID symptoms
  • Rethink employee benefits and perks: Make sure you incentivize your reps for getting back to their older ways of working. Consider offering food gift cards and reimburse travel expenses and parking spots so employees don’t have to use public transport.
  • Sanitize the office: Schedule regular cleaning of your workspace according to the safety guidelines.
  • Adjust seating areas and common rooms: Make sure that desks in your office have the appropriate distance between each other. And restrict access to rooms where it’s not possible to maintain safe distances.
  • Order personal hygiene products: For example, at your workspace, you might want to have
    • Hand sanitizers
    • Masks
    • Gloves
    • Body temperature measuring devices (Thermometers)
    • And other useful collateral (e.g. posters and stickers to remind employees to keep a distance)
  • Craft and share new policies: Make sure that you update your sick leave, visitors, and travel policies.

Tips to successfully reboard your employees

In order to successfully reboard your employees, you need to create and implement an ongoing positive employee experience for them. The employers need to ascertain that

  • The employees are made comfortable coming back to the office
  • They have everything that they need
  • The information related to the safety guidelines and the working procedure is presented seamlessly, consistently, and concisely to employees

Here are some tips for you to make your reboarding successful

1. Listen, understand and reassure

The global pandemic has taken the world on a rollercoaster ride for more than a year. Everyone has been affected in some way, whether they experienced grief, anxiety, isolation, illness, or fear.

So, as the first step to re-boarding your employees, gather them in a meeting room and try to have a genuine and empathetic conversation with them. Ask them,

  • What challenges did they face during the pandemic?
  • How did they cope with them?
  • How did they manage to multitask?
  • What have they missed about working in the office?
  • Now that they are back in the office, what would they miss about working from home?

This way when you have genuine and empathic conversations, in which everyone is heard and understood, you not only drive an effective reboarding. But also ensure your employees that everyone is on equal ground in this new blended workplace that combines on-site presence and remote collaboration.

Empathy means listening, understanding, and reassuring team members. Employers who do so successfully can have a huge impact on their teams’ mental health, loyalty, and productivity.

2. Foster Positivity about the new change

The pandemic has forced many changes. Everyone knows that changes, even positive ones, are modifications that require adjustments.

As team members prepare to return to the office, reboarding should clearly communicate expectations, timelines, and changes.

Employers need to positively communicate changes ranging from safety guidelines to new hybrid work policies and everything in between. You also need to be open to receiving feedback from your employees.

3. Communicate your new vision and mission

In every industry, the way business is done has been transformed by the effects of the pandemic. As employees adapt to the new back-to-office work environment, many are faced with

  • Reconfigured offices
  • New safety protocols
  • Altered schedules
  • Social distancing
  • Human resource policy changes
  • New business goals
  • New remote work opportunities
  • Software and hardware upgrades, and more

Communicating these differences in light of the company’s ongoing vision and mission is crucial to successful reboarding.

Business leaders must deliver this information in a concise and direct manner, with patience to their employees. They must motivate the employees by refocusing on the company’s long-term vision and mission as everyone leaves survival mode behind and comes together again for a common goal and purpose.

4. Tackle health and safety concerns

Although your employees might have been vaccinated and the COVID restrictions in your location are mostly lifted, the anxiety regarding Covid-19 might still be there.

So, your reboarding should reassure your employees that the company leadership has planned well, based on the latest guidelines and protocols to keep everyone at the office, healthy and safe.

It’s crucial that you communicate with employees and implement safety measures based on their inputs. Also as your employees, clients, and customers return, you must make it absolutely clear that they must strictly follow masks, social distancing, sanitization, and disinfection policies at your workplace.

5. Reestablish and communicate cultural expectations

Where an employee is located during working hours could be different each day with this transition to hybrid environments. A critical component to re-onboarding (and truly the first step) is making sure to communicate cultural expectations and business norms, which should be agreed upon by the whole team.

Setting business and cultural norms could include answering questions like:

  • What are the health and safety policies internally and with regard to the clients?
  • Which meetings will remain virtual, and what are the expectations for the ones that are in-person?
  • How are we making sure anyone working remotely is included, given a voice, and is made part of team-building? etc

Whatever your cultural and operational new norms look like, once agreed upon, it’s important to make them readily available to the entire company. Make sure that you create a document of some kind for employees to access and refer to if questions come up.

6. Create a plan and focus on short term goals

Just like the way you create a detailed plan of execution for onboarding, you also need to create a good plan for re-onboarding. Create specific 30-60-90 day plans to establish clear goals. List down the tasks that need to be completed in order to achieve those goals in a given timeframe.

Create this plan for your entire sales team and be sure to emphasize on the achievable short-term goals on which the entire team can work together to achieve. Celebrating wins along the way is a sure-fire way to

  • Boost motivation and teamwork
  • And help everyone feel supported and valued

7. Connection is key

This new big change of working in a hybrid work environment might leave many of your employees feeling like they’re starting at the beginning even if they’ve been with the same company for quite some time. More than that, a lot of folks started a job remotely and have never had the opportunity to meet their coworkers in person.

So creating moments of connection between employees is key. In your re-onboarding process, be sure to sprinkle one-on-ones or team meetings between employees who might not have been in regular contact in the past two years.

In those one-on-one or team meetings,

  • You can have each employee talk about themselves, their interests, family, etc
  • Including a few icebreaker fun activities in those meetings is important
  • Asking some seemingly silly and unrelated questions can help in connecting people very well

And from there, it becomes so much easier to start talking about individual skills to ultimately establish shared knowledge and best practices.

8. Schedule Training and Re-skill the employee

The post-pandemic world has changed quite a bit.

As the

  • Physical spaces are opened
  • In-person meetings are resumed
  • Travel restrictions are mostly eased
  • And the economy and businesses are starting to boost

new trends are emerging in selling and buying processes. For example, today a sales rep can give an option to the client to either do the meeting in person or virtually.

These changes require your employees to be reskilled again to be cognizant of the new world order.

So, arrange training sessions and,

  • Brush up your reps’ knowledge and skills on virtual selling
  • Teach them how the market has changed after the pandemic
  • Train them on the best practices of selling in this hybrid work environment
  • Also, provide them training on the guidelines to follow in order to protect themselves from COVID while they are
    • Working in a physical space
    • Attending a meeting or conference at a client’s location
    • Or when they are traveling for business
  • Train them with guidelines on what to do if someone gets infected with COVID or shows symptoms of COVID in your workspace.

This helps in preparing your employees thoroughly in the post-pandemic hybrid work environment.

Want to learn how to run a new hire onboarding process remotely? Read this blog below:

How to Run the New Hire Onboarding Process Remotely?

Looking for some exciting sales contest ideas for your onboarding?

Read: 5 Sales Contests for your Next Sales Onboarding Process

Searching for a gamified onboarding sales training plan? Check ot this blog below:

30 60 90 Days Gamified Sales Training Plan

Looking for strategies to make your new hires productive very quickly?

5 Strategies to Reduce Ramp-up Time for Your New Sales Recruits

Want to know how sales enablement helps to drive the new hire onboarding successfully?

How can sales enablement help to drive new hire onboarding?

Want to know how you can partner with your HR to streamline your onboarding process?

Read: How to partner with HR to streamline your onboarding process?

Customer Success Story: Poly

Learn how Poly runs its new hire sales training program successfully through SmartWinnr

Looking for a sales gamification software that will run a gamified new hire onboarding program?

Explore SmartWinnr’s Learning and Gamification features and learn how to run a gamified new hire sales onboarding program that’s repeatable, and takes only 10 min of your time. Curious to learn more about it? Book a demo today!

Published on Tue May 17 2022

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