The Big Reboarding

The Big Re-Boarding

by Grant Tate

WillowTree, a leading app developer, with headquarters in Charlottesville posted a picture of a band greeting people as they showed up for one of their first all-employee meetings after the pandemic. This, it seems, is their first step in re-boarding their team members.

WillowTree Re-Boarding

In well-run organizations, new employees go through a planned onboarding process where they are introduced to the organization’s history, vision, strategic direction, managers, associates, and culture. New employees learn job responsibilities, team roles, and “rules of the road.” Some companies provide an assigned mentor to help lead the way.

Now, after more than two years of remote work during the pandemic, all team members need a similar program.

The pandemic annihilated old ways of working for millions of knowledge workers. Old relations were broken, and new ones formed. Old ways of working and face-to-face meetings gave way to Zoom and other virtual methods. New management methods became necessary. Some managers thrived; others felt lost in the fog. The relationships between work and private life were reexamined and revised. The old familiar culture melted away, while new ones evolved in sometimes surprising ways.

With all this change, what are company leaders to do? At the extreme, some CEOs demanded everyone return to the office, many finding that people resigned, or just didn’t show up. But those and many other companies moved to the “hybrid model,” which, of course, takes many forms.

This means all leaders and team members must learn to work and communicate in a new environment—a new culture, a culture that must be formed anew and nurtured over a long period of time.

Re-boarding is a way to think of this process. What are the steps required to plan and solidify a culture that will sustain us in this new future? What are the values and guidelines we need in this new environment? How do we train our teams in the new way of working, communicating, and achieving?

Think of this as a ship bringing on new people on board for a cruise. How do you help them understand the ship’s rules, programs, destinations, benefits, facilities, crew members? Re-boarding needs to address the same questions.

So, all aboard, Leaders! You are about to head to a new destination.