Grace&Porta Blog

4 Ways to Recall and Welcome Back Furloughed Employees

Robert Hicks




by Robert Hicks, Group HR Director of Reward Gateway, an employee engagement company

Maintaining productivity and morale while re-onboarding returning employees


 How to re-onboard furloughed employees


5 min read


This year has been unpredictable in many ways, and while things haven’t gotten completely back to “normal,” we’re starting to experience a shift in returning back to work. Many organizations that have furloughed employees are starting to welcome them back, but the question then becomes: How do you engage (and re-engage) your furloughed employees?


up quoteThe critical puzzle piece is making sure your employees feel connected to the business and to their fellow employees when they return.down quote


After months of not working together, it’s only natural that you need to reignite the fire a bit. By embracing open and honest communications, showing appreciation for your people, listening to their needs and making it easy for your employees to find the information they need, you can make the return to work for furloughed employees as seamless as possible. Let’s dive into the four key elements for recalling furloughed employees back to work.



 How to re-onboard furloughed employees


Embracing open and honest communication

If this experience has taught me anything, it’s that a lot can happen in a short period of time. It’s important to not only bring your people up-to-speed on changes in the business, but also to connect them to the larger purpose and leadership decisions


up quoteEmployee safety is at the heart of bringing people back to work, so it’s important to communicate this to your employees and increase visibility of office or workplace changes.down quote



In addition to prioritizing employee safety, it’s key to cultivate connection during times of crisis. Your people need to hear from your Leadership Team about what they can expect when they return and they also need to feel excited. Some may feel “out of loop” or worried about what the future of work could look like, so your leaders and managers need to over-communicate to help employees feel more engaged. 


Here’s an example of how Reward Gateway's CEO, Doug Butler, uses our employee experience platform to communicate with our people about what the “new normal” will look like.  How to re-onboard furloughed employees


up quoteMy biggest piece of advice? You don’t have to have it all figured out before you communicate with your people. Bring them along the journey with you and let them know the why behind certain decisions.down quote


Download Reward Gateway's eBook to discover how to engage furloughed employees with powerful communications and recognition »



Showing appreciation with recognition


Returning back to work can be very motivating for your people – it’s your job to keep spirits high and improve employee motivation during the re-onboarding process with employee recognition. Recognizing people during a crisis helps show your people why their work is meaningful and lets them know they’re making an impact.

 How to re-onboard furloughed employees


One of our clients, PDSA, a leading veterinary charity, created new eCards dedicated to welcoming furloughed employees back by showing appreciation for them. These eCards live on a social recognition wall to boost visibility across the entire organization of over 2,200 employees and connect people who haven’t worked together in a few months.


 How to re-onboard furloughed employees


up quoteThese eCards are a nod to the next phase of the organization’s journey and helps motivate employees to work hard towards a shared goal. down quote



Listening to what your people need


Although you may be welcoming your employees back, you need to understand people’s comfort levels and willingness to return to work. In an ever-changing world, it’s your job to get to the heart of what will help your people perform (and feel) their best.


up quoteWith employee surveys, you can directly ask employees what they think about returning to work to ensure you create an environment that will help you best connect, recognize and support them.down quote


For example, if you have an important announcement going out to employees who have just come back from furlough, send out a survey to follow up on your communications to ensure that they’ve read the requirements, feel informed about coming back to the office and can express any concerns they may have.


 How to re-onboard furloughed employees


A lot goes into reopening offices or gearing your people up for temporary remote work, so be sure your efforts are received well on the other end and open up the door for two-way feedback with an empathetic ear.


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Robert Hicks

Robert Hicks

Reward Gateway



Robert is the Group HR Director at Reward Gateway, an employee engagement company. In his spare time he goes to gigs, watches football and cricket and enjoys the odd ski weekend.