1. Agree what contact your employee wants from the outset, check in at agreed points and make sure it is working for all parties throughout their leave – what people think they want either before or in the early stages of leave (when they may have other priorities) may be different further into their leave and in preparation for their return.
2. Find ways to ensure your employees remain up to date – a calendar entry at the end of each week/fortnight or month may assist you to reflect on all that has taken place and consider if anything is relevant for your employees to be made aware of. Alternatively create a notice board to jot suggestions down as a team, this will remove some pressure for the manager and can be communicated to the employee as agreed and in appropriate timescales.
3. Don’t be afraid to offer opportunities to stay in touch and invite them to events or important meetings, be flexible where you can (ability to attend some part of the event but not all) and be clear that there is no pressure. It is helpful to explain the benefits of being there and even if an employee is unable to make an event the offer will help them to feel included. Consider options to cascade messages from the event afterwards in a way that suits all parties.
4. Share job advertisements and business news as and when it is available by whatever communication method has been agreed, try not to assume that something will not be of interest.
5. Remember the informal stuff e.g. birthdays. If you are having fun with the team think about how they may be included.