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Organizational effectiveness and reboarding managers

(Image credit: SmartBrief illustration)

Shifting workplace practices and attitudes are putting more pressure than ever on managers to deliver ongoing guidance and maintain flexibility from project to project. Strategic organizational effectiveness initiatives should be geared toward continuous onboarding of employees, and this is especially the case for employees transitioning into new managerial roles.


Enterprises and other large-scale organizations pour sizeable monetary resources into streamlining the best possible onboarding practices for their new hires — as they should, because onboarding is proven to be one of the most effective methods of ensuring long-term employee satisfaction and success.

Using the model of organizational effectiveness, we can explore the ways reboarding is just as important, especially when employees move into new managerial roles.

Traditional onboarding protocol is comprised of a few key components:

  • Pre-boarding during the candidate selection process
  • Introductions to team members and primers on company culture
  • Guidance on time tracking, sick leave, vacation, and HR policies
  • Training for software and hardware systems, BYOD policies, and company devices

While reboarding refreshes the same areas, it also covers the following:

  • Briefing on expectations and policies for the employee’s new role
  • Reintroducing the employee to company culture from a managerial standpoint
  • Sharing the methods upper management uses to measure managerial success

Furthermore, reboarding is about priming managers to succeed in today’s workplace, not just the workplace they were trained into years or even decades ago. Digital transformation, digital nomadism and fast-evolving best practices mean managers need to be more adaptable than ever. One way to help them get there is to utilize the principles of organizational effectiveness.

What real organizational effectiveness looks like

Optimized reboarding utilizes the principles of organizational effectiveness. If your company doesn’t already have an organizational effectiveness playbook, or if you are in the position to decide upon these policies yourself, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. How are my IT department and business teams coordinated around reaching concrete milestones?
  2. What is your current portfolio management strategy, and how recently was it updated to match today’s technological demands?
  3. Where is the knowledge base strongest among your employees, and what are some areas of expertise that could be strengthened?
  4. How does your organization measure and react to performance metrics?
  5. What conceptual frameworks and methodologies inform your organizational strategy?
  6. How is your organization collecting and analyzing external and internal data?
  7. Is your leadership strategy clearly articulated and consistently applied across company leadership, or does each high-level employee determine their own leadership strategy according to their own philosophies and principles?

One of the clearest markers for understanding organizational effectiveness is the OE Program, designed for nonprofit organizations by the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, whose website notes its “aim to increase the effectiveness of grantee leaders, organizations, and networks, enhancing their capacity to achieve their mission.”

Organizational effectiveness takes a step back to gain a holistic understanding of how the systems within an organization work with one another, identifying pain points in talent management, leadership development and more. In doing so, OE teams can predict both long-term business outcomes and HR needs.

Organizational assessments

One way to measure your company’s organizational effectiveness is to conduct an organizational assessment using one of the following standard methodologies:

OE needs to become an HR focus

Organizational effectiveness is all about efficiency. While approaches to OE are largely strategic undertakings, HR should be their home base for a few reasons:

  1. OE deals mainly with soft capital such as employee knowledge.
  2. HR departments still spend less than 15% of their time working in a strategic business capacity, and keeping HR practices siloed away from strategy makes for an inefficient and outdated approach.
  3. HR departments hold the knowledge CEOs and other high-level executives need regarding the types of talent and experience at their disposal.
  4. With HR SaaS solutions and internal data analytics endeavors becoming the norm, HR professionals can set their sights on the bigger picture thanks to a greater fluency with the strengths and needs of their organization’s human capital.

By honing in on leadership culture, decision-making standards, work processes, and organizational structure, HR professionals can bring OE into reboarding.

Why reboarding is just as important as onboarding

While it’s easy to view onboarding as a one-time event, successful organizations are revamping it into an ongoing process that keeps leadership continually up to speed.

Seventy-five percent of the US workforce will be millennials by 2025. With the current professional landscape already barely recognizable compared to the traditional workplace practices of the 20th century, it’s clear that organizations need to stay agile and open to change. 

Onboarding shouldn’t be a one-and-done process anymore

It’s not only technology that has dramatically changed the way work gets done — it’s also the way employees approach their work.

A cultural shift toward collaboration and away from knowledge silos is one such change, as well as a blurring of work and home environments thanks to greater mobility. In addition to mobilization on both technological and human fronts, professionals are building well-rounded careers at multiple companies rather than climbing one particular ladder over many years.

Millennials are leading the charge as digital learners, a group who learns on the spot and from a wide variety of sources:

Digital learner stats (from “A New Manager Mandate,” CEB (now part of Gartner)):

  • 57% expect to learn skills from their colleagues.
  • 37% use knowledge for their work gained within the last year.
  • 66% think the time to learn a new professional skill is once it’s needed.

This puts more pressure than ever on managers to deliver ongoing guidance and maintain flexibility from project to project. Strategic organizational effectiveness initiatives must be geared toward continuous onboarding of employees, and this is especially the case for employees transitioning into new managerial roles.

Recent research shows that the most effective managers play a connective role, meaning they focus their efforts on connecting with employees based on their particular skillsets, give feedback and development tips in real time, and look outside their individual teams to create collaborative connections interdepartmentally. Employees working with these managers become more prepared, engaged, and loyal to their organizations.

Fostering “connector” managers at your organization

How can your organization adopt the types of continuous reboarding practices that lead to a greater quantity of connector managers? One crucial approach is to bake education into your employees’ work experiences so they don’t become stagnant in their ideas and continue to add new skills to their professional arsenal that they can apply for your benefit.


Robert David has been director of corporate education at the University of California, Berkeley, since 2013. Prior to academia, he had more than 30 years of operational roles inside several technology companies based in Silicon Valley. David specializes in helping global enterprises bring Berkeley-quality curricula to their companies through custom learning and intensive course development. He is also executive director of UC Berkeley Extension’s HR/Learning Advisory Board and education architect for UC Berkeley’s University Partnership Program. David graduated with honors from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He can be reached at


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