A Situational Approach to Reboarding

As businesses plan, prepare and execute the various phases of reopening, employees are returning to a different workplace. Whether they are continuing to work remotely, returning to a physical space or a mix of both, the way we work in the post-pandemic environment has been forever changed.

This post provides recommendations for how to apply Situational Leadership® practices during the post-COVID-19 reboarding phase. Similar to onboarding new employees, reboarding establishes the new processes and expectations for how people will reengage and return to work.

Reflect and Recalibrate

Almost overnight, many businesses had to react to the quarantine by “exiting the building” and flipping to fully remote. To outlast the crisis, teams needed to be innovative and agile enough to leverage technology and quickly adjust their collaborative work processes. This is a significant opportunity for you and your team to reflect on the experience to identify the wins and lessons learned that can be proactively applied as you recalibrate and make a plan to move toward stabilization.

To initiate team reflection, send a short reflection survey to your team to collect their feedback on the specific processes that worked well and what didn’t work to determine the processes and practices to continue, enhance or abandon going forward. Targeted, purposeful survey questions that generate candid insights and recommendations empower team members to help redefine the processes and expectations for their “next normal.”

Assess Current State

Businesses adapted during COVID-19 by redefining their products or solutions and how they service their customers. As a result, employees in the post-pandemic workplace needed to learn new skills and processes to perform their jobs safely and successfully. When some (if not all) of the who, what, when, where, why and how people work changes, task specificity and alignment on current perf becomes even more critical.

To gain an accurate assessment of current state, begin by identifying and prioritizing team members’ individual tasks. With the shift to remote work or changing roles and deliverables, there may be some employees that have too much on their plate, while others have too little to do. Take the time to determine the skills and specific tasks that are essential now based on the current requirements of their role or work environment and how it may have changed.

Assess team members’ Performance Readiness® for their priority tasks at the individual level and then evaluate performance trends or skill gaps across the entire team. To meet the need to upskill and reskill quickly during the flow of work, look for opportunities to leverage areas of strength to support cross-training, mentoring and delegation projects as well as areas to target for development.

Engage to Manage the Movement

If you haven’t already established a 1:1 coaching cadence as a standard practice, now is the time. To manage the uncertainty and fear that accompanies disruptive change, it is vital to engage in proactive and transparent communication that cultivates trust and personal connection. Consistent touchpoints also ensure you stay current on team members’ priorities and performance needs as they evolve and enable you to successfully accelerate development and prevent task regression.

Encourage your team members to be accountable to own their performance and engagement. Ask each individual to prepare for their 1:1 with you by documenting their understanding of their current priorities, their status and what they need from you to be successful. During the 1:1, you will have the opportunity to compare your lists, help them manage their priorities and then develop a plan to provide the appropriate level of direction and support.

With the ever-increasing number of remote workers, the intentional effort to stay connected is particularly important. Leveraging video conferencing tools during your 1:1s can help you to bridge the distance gap and engage with your team members on a more personal, authentic level.


  1. Consider your current coaching practices.
  2. What is one adjustment you can make—something to stop or something to start—to increase your effectiveness as a coach?