Returning to the Workplace: Peppercomm Launches New Reboarding Playbook to Guide Employer Communications

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Playbook now available for free download.

As tens of thousands of U.S. businesses struggle with returning to a post-COVID new normal, Peppercomm, a leading strategic communications and marketing firm, has launched a new Employee Communications Reboarding Playbook to help them succeed. The guide offers a five-point roadmap for internal communications and human resources leaders in organizations of all types to engage employees at every level during this critical transition phase.

According to a recent survey Peppercomm conducted with the Institute for Public Relations, 80% of corporate executives had not started or did not know about return-to-work planning. Only 10% had done extensive preparation for reboarding employees.

“Determining when to allow at least some of your workforce back on site is challenging: Conditions shift almost daily, and employee sentiment shifts accordingly,” said Ann Barlow, Senior Partner and President, Peppercomm West Coast. “As leadership teams navigate logistical, physical and emotional considerations, we wanted to simplify at least some aspects of the process through this playbook.”

Peppercomm’s Employee Communications Reboarding Playbook is designed to be a continual work in progress, so the team is encouraging outside organizations to share their ideas and experiences. Peppercomm will recognize others’ input, update the Playbook and share the latest thinking. Along with more information the Playbook is available for free download at The guide also features best practices, the latest industry insights, useful tools, and templates.

Peppercomm has found that a key to success is creating reboarding plans that are inherently agile and flexible. Employees’ emotions can be volatile, health and safety guidelines often change and vary across geographic regions, and COVID-19 outbreaks will continue. An effective approach will account for continuous employee feedback and external factors that can disrupt operations.

Other components of a robust reboarding plan include processes and tools to gather employee sentiment and recommendations; training and resources for frontline managers to communicate seamlessly with staff; and in-depth scenario planning to identify where the plan is weakest and how to optimize it.

“Employees will remember the first day they step into their physical space again, and how you made them feel that day and in the weeks to follow. They’ll also remember how you responded if work is interrupted again,” said Courtney Ellul, SVP & Partner, Peppercomm London. “For all organizations, money, reputation and physical and mental health are on the line during reboarding. They can’t afford to get this wrong.”

The playbook is based on Peppercomm’s 26 years of experience in internal communications and employee engagement, including corporate crisis and post-crisis strategies. Peppercomm has worked with internal communications professionals, as well as CHROs and HR directors, to develop data-driven communications programs that help attract and retain talent, ensure employees are informed and engaged, and create workplaces with genuine two-way dialogue. With data and insights underpinning every decision, Peppercomm leverages proprietary measurement solutions to track and evaluate program success.

To learn more, visit or follow @Peppercomm.

About Peppercomm
Peppercomm is an award-winning strategic, integrated communications and marketing agency headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco and London. The firm combines 25 award-winning years of expertise serving blue chip and breakout clients with forward-thinking new service offerings and the freshness of a start-up. This unique mix of experience and energy enables the firm to attract and empower teams with a creative edge, drive, and passion for promoting, protecting and connecting clients in a fast-changing marketplace. Founded in 1995, Peppercomm has received numerous prestigious industry accolades including the PRNews Social Media Awards, the PRSA Big Apple Awards. PRNews Top Places to Work in PR, Platinum PR Awards Midsized Agency of the Year, The Holmes Report’s North American Corporate/B2B Agency of the Year and Bulldog Reporter’s Midsized Agency of the Year. The agency has been listed as one of Fortune’s 10 Best Workplaces in Advertising and Marketing, 100 Best Workplaces for Women, 50 Best Small and Medium Workplaces and 50 Best Workplaces for New College Grads.

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