Rehiring Employees After Furloughs or Layoffs

After a few months of navigating disruption brought on by the worldwide pandemic, there’s optimism that things are turning around. Some parts of the world are already lessening social distancing restrictions and allowing physical offices to reopen. Human resources teams at forward-looking organizations are building processes to design a productive working environment without certainty about what the workplace will look like in a year or even a month. 

Part of that healthy workplace is the addition of talent to fill the gaps left by the workforce reductions. In a lot of cases, a logical solution to those vacancies is to rehire the same people who were recently furloughed or laid off. While this strategy is often good for morale and productivity, it brings a unique set of HR challenges.

Digitizing the recall offer letter process

The best way to reincorporate employees into the workplace is with a streamlined digital hiring workflow. Generally, the first step to rehiring these employees is the issuance of a recall offer letter. Those letters give the employee a certain date to make a decision about accepting the offer and another date to resume paid employment. If they accept, the company can proceed with rehiring those individuals, but the HR team may also need to complete several other important processes quickly, including updated background checks, I-9 forms and other documentation. For employees who have been furloughed more than six months, new hire paperwork usually needs to be refreshed entirely.

The details about necessary rehire paperwork depend on local guidelines and specific termination policies. One-off agreements between the employee and the organization may also be a factor. Some employees may have been moved to a “terminated” status in this process, which requires separate workflows. Quickly determining the types of paperwork that need to be completed as part of the rehire process is a vital step in bringing former employees back to work.

Another important part of that process is distributing and completing all the necessary hiring agreements. Without complete reopening of physical office locations, HR teams need to restructure their tooling to provide a fast, transparent way for all new hires—including rehires—to complete these agreements.

Docusign eSignature offers a secure and efficient way for HR teams and employees to sign and complete those documents. For this specific situation, Docusign even offers customers a prebuilt template to send recall offer letters faster and with fewer errors.

HR integrations and automation as an employer differentiator

Maximizing the productivity of rehires and new hires takes more than just an electronic signature on offer letters. The Docusign Agreement Cloud is an easy way to streamline hiring and onboarding processes. By partnering with popular HR systems such as Workday, SAP and Oracle HCM, Docusign eliminates duplicate work and reduces errors in data entry. Integrations with applicant tracking systems like Greenhouse, JobVite and SmartRecruiter connect the recruiting workflow together, offering HR teams the opportunity to build one connected digital workflow for all new hires. With a connected HR stack in place, there’s growing anticipation of an increase in HR automation that will make workflows even faster and simpler.

By creating an HR stack that integrates technology and automates parts of the new hire and onboarding process, organizations create a user-friendly experience. Modern HR processes signal to applicants that the organization is committed to its workforce, which means that more applicants will be attracted to open positions and a higher percentage of offers will be accepted. When hiring resumes in full and the tens of millions of furloughed and laid off employees begin job hunting in earnest, the efficiency of the hiring process will be a big factor in attracting the best talent.

Preparing remote hires for success

Completing the hiring/rehiring process is not the end of the HR team’s responsibilities with employees who have been furloughed or laid off. Those employees still need to be positioned to succeed in a workforce that operates differently from their previous experience. It’s likely that new or rehired employees will be working remotely, which creates new challenges regarding equipment, workflows and internal communications. The same is true for all modern new hires. While optimism about businesses has increased recently, most organizations still aren’t ready for a return to the working conditions that were utilized at the beginning of the year.

To prepare for this new distributed workforce, HR leaders need to build a system that enables organizations to communicate broadly with their entire workforce and distribute important information efficiently. That includes bulk sends with new information about benefits or policy changes related to the evolving workplace. It also includes digitizing documents that employees need to read or complete, such as a return-to-work form or a self-attestation form related to COVID-19. Remote employees are most impactful when they can find information via self-service, but it takes a commitment from the HR department to create that digital environment.

To learn more about the possibilities and benefits of digital HR agreements, read about the Docusign Agreement Cloud for Human Resources. It’s the easiest way to maximize the value of your HR team’s time and turn your employee experience into a competitive hiring advantage.

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