Onboarding a new starter always requires preparation, but if the individual is a returner and/or career changer then you will need to consider how best you can support them.

You will naturally be thinking about what information you need to impart, how you are going to get them up to speed, who you need to introduce them to etc. It’s also helpful to consider their perspective and what sorts of things might be helpful for their situation.

Here is a checklist which might be helpful to follow:



  • Connect with them before they start to start to build the relationship and to discuss what would help them in the early days of their return so that you can build this into your onboarding plan.
  • You may want to ask them to meet the team in advance, or if this is difficult a welcoming email to them copying the team gives reassurance and encouragement.
  • Check how they are getting on in their preparation to start and give them lots of opportunity to ask questions in advance of their start date demonstrating your support and understanding of the transition they are about to make.
  • Let them know in advance what you have planned for their first day, and at what point you will meet or call if you are not co-located.
  • Explain how you have or are planning to brief the team, so that they are clear and reassured about their role and responsibilities.
  • Check that arrangements have been made for their office, desk, systems access and security pass ready for their first day. Some of this will be dealt with as part of the onboarding programme.
  • Appoint and brief a colleague(s) to be their buddy. Discuss the sort of support you would like them to give. You may ask a few to focus on different elements e.g. technical and social
  • Consider any meetings that would be helpful for them to attend to quickly build their knowledge of the organisation, the department, team and their role.
  • Plan for them to meet key colleagues, management, and client groups.
  • Ensure your team has planned and prepared for their colleague’s start. Involve the team in their induction plans and be clear of any buddy and training support they will need to do their role.
  • Discuss with the team any change to working processes and patterns as a result of the new team member and how to integrate into the overall working approach.