Preboarding: The Key to Onboarding Success

Written By Sophia Thomson
A business team welcomes their new colleague.

The Key to Onboarding Success Starts Before Day One: Why Preboarding Matters

When a new employee joins your organization, their first day sets the tone for the rest of their tenure. From introductions to training sessions, the onboarding process shapes how engaged and productive that employee will be. But what if you could influence the experience of a new hire’s first day, even before day one? Enter employee preboarding.

The Preboarding process refers to the time between when a candidate accepts a job offer and their first official day. It serves as a bridge between recruitment and onboarding. While onboarding is a part of the hiring process that focuses on integrating new recruits on their start date, pre boarding aims to prepare and excite them beforehand.

This preparation is critical. Preboarding allows organizations to share their mission, values, and culture with recruits prior to onboarding. It enables new hires to align expectations, meet future colleagues, and feel comfortable on day one. Proper pre boarding ultimately leads to quicker ramp-up time, higher employee engagement, and increased retention.

In fact, new hire churn is a major issue. Some studies show 20% of employees leave within the first 45 days on the job. However, good preboarding boosts onboarding success by over 80% and lessens turnover. It establishes open communication and trust before fresh hires walk in the door.

This article will explore pre boarding best practices to engage and retain top talent. We’ll cover communication strategies, paperwork tips, training approaches, and transitioning new hires seamlessly into onboarding. You’ll discover creative methods to onboard recruits, from welcome packages to intro videos. We’ll also discuss using pre boarding technology and continuously improving the pre-start experience.

In today’s competitive talent landscape, a thoughtful pre boarding process is essential. Follow our guidance to inspire and prepare new joins, setting them up for onboarding excellence. With pre boarding done right, you’ll build an engaged, committed workforce that hits the ground running on day one and beyond.

Why Preboarding Matters: The Benefits of Thoughtful Pre-Start Planning

It’s no secret that employee retention is a massive challenge facing organizations today. Job hopping and churn have become common, especially among younger workers. The data paints a stark picture:

With this level of early attrition, it’s clear companies must prioritize the new hire experience. This is where preboarding comes in. Pre boarding allows organizations to positively influence new employees before day one. Done right, it can significantly impact retention, engagement, and more.

Let’s explore the key benefits of pre boarding:

Reduced First-Day Stress and Anxiety

Starting a new job is incredibly stressful. Fresh starts face many unknowns: What will the boss be like? Did I make the right choice? Where is the bathroom? Proper preboarding eases much of this anxiety by answering questions ahead of time. For example, FAQs can cover dress codes, parking, lunch options, and more. A pre-start email from the manager also reassures recruits they made the right decision. This reduction in stress leads to more confident, prepared employees on day one.

Faster Ramp-Up Time

Preboarding allows new hires to complete training and paperwork early. This enables them to become productive faster once they start. Sending compliance courses, product overviews, and culture training during pre boarding ensures recruits can dive into core job tasks on day one. They enter already aligned with company values and familiar with systems. This ramp-up difference can be massive. New employees who go through a pre boarding program can achieve full productivity faster than those who don’t.

Improved Employee Retention

Engaging recruits before they start fosters a commitment to the company mission. Preboarding activities like meet-and-greets, swag, and intro videos make new hires feel welcomed and excited. This emotional connection causes them to be more invested in the organization from day one. Data shows companies with quality pre boarding retain 82% more first-year employees. Pre boarding also reduces ghosting, where recruits change their mind and don’t show up on the first day.

Stronger Cultural Immersion

Preboarding enables organizations to share their values, norms, and beliefs with new employees upfront. This cultural immersion allows recruits to envision themselves at the company and correct any misaligned expectations. Having realistic perceptions of culture leads to greater job satisfaction down the road. It also helps organizations assess cultural fit earlier on.

Enhanced Employer Brand

A thoughtful pre boarding process boosts employer brand and reputation. When recruits have a highly positive experience before joining, they’re more likely to speak highly of the company to others. They may even share their experience on social media. This enhances public perception and aids future recruiting efforts. Candidates view engaged employees as a sign the organization genuinely cares.

In today’s battle for talent, pre boarding provides tangible benefits to hiring and retention. Follow our tips to reduce attrition, speed onboarding, and strengthen employer brand through strategic pre-start planning.

Preboarding Best Practices: How to Engage and Prepare New Hires

You know preboarding is essential, but what should it actually include? Effective pre boarding both engages new starts emotionally and prepares them logistically. It balances culture and compliance to set recruits up for success.

Let’s explore some top preboarding best practices:

Start Early

Don’t wait until a week before the start date to begin pre boarding. Initiate the process promptly after a candidate accepts an offer. Quickly send a welcome email from their manager and share the next steps. This reinforces the decision and keeps momentum going from the recruitment process. Waiting too long risks disengagement.

Send Branded Swag

One of the easiest pre boarding wins is sending new hires a branded welcome package. This might include shirts, hats, notebooks, or other useful branded items. Swag generates excitement and gives recruits a taste of the company culture. It also serves as a physical reminder they made the right career choice. Even small items like a handwritten thank you note make a difference.

Share Company Info Upfront

Give new employees a head start learning about the organization. Before day one, send over essential items like the employee handbook, org chart, and FAQs. Share intro videos from leadership as well. This allows recruits to immerse themselves in the company culture and better grasp expectations. Having context ahead of time enables quicker socialization when onboarding begins.

Introduce Key Players

Help new recruits get to know the people they’ll interact with. Introduce them to their manager and direct teammates through email, video calls, or even virtual coffee chats. Such personal outreach makes recruits feel welcomed into the organizational family right away. It jumpstarts relationship building so new employees have familiar faces to turn to on day one.

Complete Paperwork Early

Don’t overwhelm new employees on day one with endless HR forms to complete. Have them sign documents like tax forms, direct deposit info, NDAs, and policies digitally during pre boarding instead. This clears their plate to dive into substantive work once onboarding begins. Taking care of admin upfront is a huge time saver.

Offer Pre-Start Training

Get a head start on training by assigning e-learning modules related to the job role during pre boarding. For customer service reps, this may include product overviews. For engineers, assign technical training. Completing courses early allows newcomers to focus on company-specific systems training on day one. It also demonstrates your investment in their development.

Schedule Introductory Tours

Give new employees a peek into their future environment by scheduling office tours and team lunches during pre boarding. This allows them to see their desk location, meet colleagues, and ask questions in person. If based remotely, provide a virtual desk tour over video conference. The visual familiarity makes walking in on the first day less intimidating.

Check-In Regularly

Don’t go radio silent after the initial welcome. Check in regularly during the pre boarding period to answer questions and provide status updates. Keep communication open through emails, texts, chat apps, or quick phone calls. This constant connectivity makes new hires feel supported and prevents disengagement after signing an offer.

Strong preboarding combines tactical preparation with relationship building. Use these best practices as a starting point to enhance your program and engage new employees from the outset.

Implementing Preboarding: How to Structure a Seamless Pre-Start Experience

Preboarding clearly provides tremendous value – but only with thoughtful implementation. Fully realizing the benefits requires planning, coordination, and continuous enhancement. How should organizations structure a robust pre boarding program? Let’s go through the key steps.

Define Your Preboarding Timeline

First, establish a standard preboarding timeline for your roles. This depends on typical new hire notice periods, which vary by company and seniority. Some workers may start in 1-2 weeks, while executives rebase over 2-3 months. Define expected pre boarding duration for each job area. This sets clear guidance on when to initiate activities based on start dates.

Identify Core Preboarding Activities

Next, determine which pre boarding activities suit your organization. Common options include welcome kits, paperwork, training, networking events, and onboarding previews. Prioritize core elements that exemplify your culture, share needed info, and simplify day-one logistics. Also, designate clear owners and timelines for each activity. For example, HR may send branded swag packages two weeks out while department managers schedule intro lunches one week before the start date.

Create Schedules and Checklists

With core activities defined, build out detailed preboarding schedules and checklists. These ensure a consistent experience across new hires despite different timelines. Show what should happen each week between offer acceptance and day one tailored to specific roles. Checklists are simple guides for new hires on required tasks and recommended learning. Maintaining organized frameworks minimizes stress for recruits and program administrators alike.

Automate Tasks Through Technology

Leverage HR technology like onboarding platforms to automate pre boarding tasks. Some outsourced solutions automate sending branded welcome kits, paperwork, FAQs, and training content to new hires based on scheduled start dates. Built-in workflows ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Tech removes manual effort so you can focus on high-touch activities like meet-and-greets and office previews.

Set Expectations with Hiring Managers

Get buy-in from people involved in pre boarding like the hiring manager and coworkers. Set clear expectations for their role through training and resources. For example, demonstrate how to properly welcome new recruits via video call. Also, explain the program’s benefits for retention and performance. When staff understand preboarding’s purpose and their part in it, they’re far more likely to invest time in making it successful.

Engage but Don’t Overwhelm

While it’s important to connect frequently with new hires, beware of overcommunication that becomes noise. Thoughtfully plan your preboarding communications strategy and cadence. Welcome kits, distributing a company handbook, and social events are great at the start, but don’t bombard recruits throughout with constant generic check-ins. Let pre boarding activities spark organic conversations instead. Also, gauge new hire preferences and adjust communications accordingly.

Solicit Continuous Feedback

Preboarding should evolve over time to meet changing needs. Regularly survey new hires about their pre-start experience and perception of the company. Ask what information or connections would have further eased their transition. Also, track metrics tied to preboarding success, like new hire ramp-up time, satisfaction, and turnover. Feed insights back into the program to constantly refine and improve.

A truly successful preboarding program requires structure, coordination, and enhancement. Follow these tips to implement a high-impact experience that delights recruits and benefits the business.

Preboarding Tips: How to Engage and Support New Recruits

Preboarding is both an art and a science. While frameworks provide guidance, thoughtfully engaging new hires takes creativity and care. Consider these tips to inspire and prepare recruits before day one:

Make Them Feel Welcomed

Kick-off preboarding by congratulating new hires on joining the organization. Express how valuable their unique talents will be. Share your own story about what makes the culture special. This warm welcome sets a positive, uplifting tone from the outset.

Introduce Key Players

Help new employees get to know managers, mentors, and team members they’ll work closely with through virtual introductions. Briefly share colleagues’ backgrounds and responsibilities. This allows recruits to visualize collaborating together. It also gives them friendly faces to connect with on day one.

Provide Job Insights

Offer realistic previews of day-to-day work during preboarding. For example, share sample project timelines and deliverables for their role. Discuss typical challenges they may face and how your team tackles them. Such job insights help recruits envision their future responsibilities.

Keep Communication Open

Proactively encourage new hires to ask questions and share concerns throughout preboarding. Set up designated Slack channels, email chains, or forums focused solely on their needs. Also, ensure they have contacts to reach out to directly. Responding quickly to recruits during preboarding builds crucial trust.

Avoid Information Overload

While covering essentials like policies and procedures, don’t overdo it with generic information. Parse out content over time rather than dumping everything at once. Most importantly, listen to new hires about what information would be most valuable to them before starting. Let their interests guide you.

Customize to Roles

Tailor preboarding based on new hires’ roles, seniority level, and location. For example, junior engineers may need more training, while senior leaders require introductions to key stakeholders. Remote employees may benefit from extra connection opportunities.

Leverage Technology

Use collaborative tools like Slack, Teams, and Zoom to engage and support new recruits virtually. Share photos and videos to put faces to names. Schedule video calls to provide personal touches. Tech enables interactive preboarding despite remote environments.

Thoughtful preboarding creates excitement, clarity, and connection for your new team members. Apply these tips to help them feel genuinely welcomed into the organization.

Preboarding: Key Takeaways to Remember

Preboarding is a crucial part of the new hire experience, yet often overlooked. Here are the key takeaways to keep in mind:

  • Preboarding provides the critical foundation for onboarding success. Engaging recruits before day one leads to greater commitment once they start.
  • Build a structured pre boarding program tailored to your roles and culture. Identify core activities like welcome packages, training, and introductions that will resonate.
  • The focus should be both logistical preparation and emotional engagement during preboarding. Share company information but also convey the culture that makes you special.
  • Start forming connections between new personnel and the organization before their first day. This upfront relationship-building pays dividends in satisfaction and retention.
  • Done right, preboarding increases productivity, reduces turnover, and enhances your employer brand. The ROI easily justifies dedicating resources to do it well.
  • Continuously evolve your preboarding based on new hire feedback and program metrics. Fix any weak points and keep enhancing the experience over time.

Remember, day one sets the tone for an employee’s tenure. With strategic pre boarding, you can influence recruits’ perceptions and emotions even before they walk in the door. Treat pre-start planning as an investment in your workforce and culture, not just a logistical necessity. The benefits of retention and performance speak for themselves.

Preboarding: Start New Hires Off Right

The data doesn’t lie – preboarding has a tremendous impact on the new hire experience. As competition for top talent intensifies, more companies are investing in strategic pre-start planning. Why? Because thoughtful pre boarding reduces first-day anxiety, accelerates productivity, and boosts employee retention.

But preboarding can’t be an afterthought. To realize the full benefits, organizations must dedicate time and resources to do it right. This means identifying core activities, assigning owners, leveraging technology, and evolving based on feedback. The effort pays off handsomely in recruiter brand, employee productivity, and reduced turnover.

As you grow your team in today’s dynamic work environment, now is the time to evaluate your pre boarding process. Are you informing, exciting, and supporting new recruits from offer acceptance onward? If not, prioritize improvements that better welcome and prepare hires before go time. Your culture and bottom line will thank you.

Remember, the first impression you deliver as an employer lasts. Make sure new employees start off engaged, enabled, and energized through stellar preboarding. Your onboarding depends on it.

1 thought on “Preboarding: The Key to Onboarding Success”

Comments are closed.