Reboarding Employees: How To Rehire Workers Quickly


Business is on the uptick, revenue is returning, and you’re thinking of adding another member to the team. If you’ve had to lay off any employees recently, you might be thinking of simply rehiring the people you laid off. This is a natural solution to any employer looking for workers. Reboarding employees is the process of onboarding former staff returning to work after a period of separation, regardless of reason or length of time. Past, furloughed, or laid-off employees returning to the workplace can be cause for celebration for your company while boosting staff morale.

The thought of hiring employees back, for whatever reason, is exciting. However, there are quite a few things that you should consider before saying, “You’re rehired!” You need to do your due diligence before jumping in and calling someone to offer them their position back.

If you are in the process of considering a new or revamped policy to address reboarding previous employees, here are seven tips to keep in mind.

Before Reboarding Employees, Look At Your Cash Flow

The worst thing you could do is rehire workers and have to lay them off again. That would be unethical, especially in times of financial stress. Rapidly changing employment statuses would reflect poorly on your company.

Take time to evaluate your current cash flow and projected revenue to ensure you can take on past employees. You should take just as much time on this process as you would hiring a new employee. This is especially important if you rehire someone who was laid off in an economic or financial downturn.

If you cannot hire new employees or your company is in a hiring freeze, chances are there is no budget for rehires either. Even in instances where employees left on the best of terms, it would never be advisable to reboard a staff member when they will likely be laid off again.

If you’d like to start this process, but your company is strapped for cash, consider reboarding employees on a temp-to-hire basis. Temporary, short-term, or even part-time employment can be a great stepping stone to full-time work. When you bring returning employees in temporarily, make sure they understand what that means.

Get Clear About The Open Position And Why The Rehire Should Fill It

Before making that final decision, determine why this decision to rehire makes a great choice. Is rehiring better than a new hire? Could you merge that position into another role without causing your current team undue stress?

You may already know this employee you’re considering, but what has changed since they separated? Would the reason for their separation indicate any future problems? Don’t neglect your responsibility. Put in the work to ensure that you are setting your rehire up for success. Don’t get so busy filling a role quickly that you forget to fill the role well.

You also need to ensure that rehires go through the proper steps like job interviews, just like any new hire would. Do you want to demonstrate the integrity and fairness of your company’s hiring policies? Make sure that rehires go through the same process any other prospective employee does – from initial screening of their qualifications to reference checks. This process is essential if the employee was terminated previously.

There may also be many instances where a returning employee cannot be hired. For example, their position may have been filed internally, or another candidate would be a better fit.  Be sure to address concerns during the initial interview stage of the hiring process before any decision is made.

Chat With The Past Manager/Colleagues Of The Rehire

Before you bring on that former employee as a new hire, ask their past colleagues about their first tenure. Did they do the job asked of them? How easy or challenging was it to work with them? Did they feel like a good fit for the organization? Ask employees outright: would you feel comfortable working with this employee again?

Have a deeper discussion with their previous manager. Was their departure the result of a lay-off or due to their job performance or disciplinary action? How did their previous reviews go?

Don’t forget to communicate with other stakeholders like leads, HR professionals, or training managers who might have something to say. You don’t want to make a mistake rehiring someone who wasn’t a good fit for the organization.

Communicate Rehire Status With The Organization As A Whole

Before officially reboarding employees, make sure the company knows about these upcoming personnel changes. The organization should be able to trust that the process is fair for any prospective employee.

Take into account that other former employees may still be looking for an opportunity to be rehired in some instances. When other former employees get rehired, it could raise questions about hiring practices.

It is important to be transparent about the process and to keep standard policies in place. It can be a welcome sign when former employees begin to search out ways to return to your company. Make sure the rehiring experience is fair and honest to match their returned loyalty.


Get Clear About What Documents Need To Be Re-signed Before Reboarding Employees

You shouldn’t have to re-sign every employee document if they’ve been an employee recently. Take a look at which employee documents (like Section 3 of the I-9) have actually changed or updated. You want to remove hiring barriers and streamline processes wherever possible.

You might want to require a new direct deposit form, but some documents like certifications might still be valid. You shouldn’t need employees to fill out their entire hiring packet, just select forms. Work with that new hire to determine what actually needs to be updated.

Be upfront about what benefits the rehire is eligible for. What rights might have been forfeited in their previous separation? Depending on how the hire left your company, they may give up some of their rights like PTO and health benefits. If you truly need employees quickly, it might be encouraged to be lenient if the workers are laid off by the company and bought back quickly.

Take Rehires Through The Onboarding Process

When the rehire is back on staff, there are likely going to be some changes. Employees returning to the same department or role can typically have an abbreviated employee onboarding experience. If their role or department is changing, you’ll likely want to realign their onboarding process accordingly.

As you would for any other new hire, make sure they receive all pertinent information. Some policies or company information may have changed since they were previously with the company. Don’t assume they will remember everything, especially if it’s been a while since they were employed there. Retrain employees if they need it.

Onboarding helps ensure they maintain the knowledge needed to perform their job successfully. You’ll have the peace of mind to know that you have a doubly experienced worker on your hands.

Touch Base To Ensure That The Rehire Is A Culture Add

Rehired workers should hopefully be fitting into the company and creating a culture add for your team. During their 90-day ramp-up period, continue to check in monthly and explore their progress. Create a rubric to grade employees on how well they are acclimating to the organization and their department.

If they are not performing well after 90 days, it’s important to set milestones for them to work on during the next few months. Make sure this is available for them to check in on to monitor their own progress. Follow this up with some helpful one-on-one coaching from their manager.

If their capabilities still do not improve after some one-on-one coaching, it might be best to part ways.

How To Use WorkBright To Rehire Employees Quickly

One of the best parts about WorkBright is our rehire wizard. If you ever need to rehire an inactive staff member, you can do it with a couple of clicks!

Step One: Head To A Specific Employee Profile

To look for a specific employee in WorkBright, you should head to the staff tab or use the search bar to find a particular employee.

Step Two: Head To The Employment Tab Of The Staff Member

Each employee has an employment tab. Click on that tab and navigate to Change Status —> Rehire.


Step Three: Enter In Any Updated Information You Have About The Employee

Go through the quick prompts to update any information like form assignments and employee information (if you have it.)


Step Four: Schedule Any Start/Hire Dates And Welcome Back Emails

The last step is to schedule out any start/hire dates if you have them. Decide when you want to push any welcome back emails by selecting to send notifications now, later, or never. After you review all this data, your employee will be rehired in WorkBright.


Conclusion: Reboarding Employees Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult

Reboarding is a good thing to need to do. It is a great indication of the “rebound” a company can make. However, it still needs the same care and consideration you give hiring any new employee.

Bringing back former employees with strong performance records, loyalty to the company, and the talent you need is also an opportunity to build your internal pipeline. These hires make great additions to your team because they are already familiar with your company’s policies and culture. Former staff members can quickly be brought up to speed.

You may want to rehire former employees to hire quickly and have predictable quality. Rehiring employees shouldn’t mean that you take tons of shortcuts or make assumptions. Take precautions and do all due diligence to ensure that reboarding employees is the best option for your company.

Chances are you need a reboarding or rehiring policy in place if you have not done so already. Keep the process as fair and equitable as you are expected to for any other new hire, and don’t skimp on the details. If you do all of these things, you’ll be in great shape!

Do you want more tips on reboarding employees? Check out our expert guide to rehiring terminated or furloughed employees. This article focuses on COVID-19 related furloughed and laid-off workers, so it can be a helpful guide for employers.