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Why re-onboarding your workers may be just what your company needs

TheSoul Publishing CHRO says re-onboarding allows existing employees to become more ingrained in a company’s evolving culture while establishing a mutual understanding of how it is applied to day-to-day operations.

Why re-onboarding your workers may be just what your company needs
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We’ve all been through the onboarding process at a new job—some of us more often than others. For those who have been with the same company for a while, many things may have changed since that original “getting to know you” process. This is where re-onboarding can accomplish three goals:

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  1. Shape employees’ understanding of how the company has evolved
  2. Help teammates get a complete understanding of our business achievements
  3. Lay out the major goals and obstacles on the horizon

While a solution to integrate newcomers can be straightforward, we at TheSoul Publishing struggled with getting current employees to this same level of engagement and up-to-date knowledge—especially since we’ve made significant changes in overall processes, production optimization, and tools to promote a remote-first culture. A re-onboarding program allows existing employees to become more ingrained in a company’s evolving culture while establishing a mutual understanding of how it is applied to day-to-day operations.

How re-onboarding is different

Onboarding is aimed at newcomers, helping them to quickly fit the company culture and begin producing results. A new employee is discovering the company itself: how its people work, interact, and what processes are in place. Onboarding enhances social integration and cultural knowledge and helps to lower stress. Since 2019, TheSoul Publishing has seen 88% growth in employees across the organization; and since launching digital onboarding, the new-hire turnover rate decreased significantly. As HR professionals know, that’s not an easy task.

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. Knowledge gained through the original onboarding is simply not enough to keep a large team on the same page, especially when working remotely across the globe. In the modern workplace, traditional methods often need to evolve with a company and its workforce.

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At TheSoul, in particular, our approach was focused on highlighting the company’s asynchronous communications model. Since we don’t expect our global teams to be available simultaneously, we leverage workplace software in which employees can access tasks and information when it’s convenient for them, and we rarely have live meetings. With this new model, we introduced new tools for communicating, so knowing how, and when, to use those new tools became imperative to about 1,400 veteran employees across 60 countries.

Designing the right programming

Company culture can be difficult to understand when you’re sitting in a home office. So it’s even more of an imperative to create a re-onboarding experience that engages employees. At TheSoul Publishing, we landed on a gamified initiative focused on some essential learning principles to ensure employees would gain a solid baseline of company knowledge. We knew we needed to make the experience fresh and not give employees the feeling that they were simply redoing their original onboarding here.

Our re-onboarding initiative had two key goals. First, we wanted to promote our culture. Second, we wanted to ensure all teammates were up to date with our evolved suite of digital tools. As a content creation company, one of the first steps was designing exciting and immersive programming. This not only serves to encourage high participation rates, but also ensures that employees digest the information. We avoided any long reads with outdated figures and instead, leveraged examples to establish a better connection between our beliefs and day-to-day work activities. This more engaged approach encouraged employees to be fully involved in the process and take in the information more effectively.

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Additionally, we knew the training couldn’t just come from HR. We engaged multiple departments, focusing on IT, finance, PR, and production topics to make the programming as impactful as possible for the wider team. From there, we created a pilot program where the management team acted as our initial test subjects. Before rolling out to the wider company, we collected feedback and fine-tuned all aspects to ensure it would be beneficial to our employees.

Employees respond

Workers were asked to devote additional hours to a re-onboarding program, and some did, in fact, voice their displeasure. We saw this as a positive sign of honest communication and reiterated that the re-onboarding initiative would provide benefits that outweighed the time commitment.

After the program was completed, we saw employees engaging on the right applications in the appropriate manner (solving a major pain point prior to the re-onboarding). Others who had been previously ineligible began requesting to participate in the programming. It was clear employees had a better understanding of who is responsible for what in the company, and what training courses are available to get team members up to speed. Further, employees are quicker to adopt our asynchronous communication model, given that now they have a better overview of workplace software and functions across the company.

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Putting your own re-onboarding program to work

Engagement went well beyond expectations for us at TheSoul Publishing. While it’s too early to summarize quantitative metrics, our teams, managers, and company leaders have embraced the program as an asset, rather than a nuisance—and we’ve seen a significant boost in productivity across sectors of the business.

For companies that want to introduce re-onboarding to their workforce, this shouldn’t be considered a one-time event. Cementing employees’ understanding of your company culture is an ongoing exercise—and one that continues to evolve—with re-onboarding being a key pillar within this process.


Aleksandra Sulimko is the CHRO of TheSoul Publishing.

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