A Successful New Hire: Start with Preboarding

Imagine you’ve accepted a new role and you’re really looking forward about starting in a month’s time. As days turn into weeks, you haven’t heard a peep from your new employer. After you’ve handed in your notice at your old company and signed the new contract your new employer never contacts you afterwards.

As time passes, your excitement wavers and instead worry creeps in. You’re meant to be starting on Monday, and today is Friday. Have they forgotten about you? Hopefully that isn’t the case when you arrive at the office next week for your first day. When you go in, there isn’t anyone there to greet you so you have to resort to asking the first person you see for help. They aren’t aware of who you are, but eventually you are pointed towards your desk. Sitting there you feel awkward, not knowing anyone or anything about your workplace. All in all, this whole scenario doesn’t sound very pleasant does it? Luckily there’s an easy way to avoid such experiences, preventing them by well-thought out pre-boarding and onboarding practices.

In this candidate-driven market you have to assume that from the moment they accept an offer until they begin, they’ll be faced with persistent recruiters, potentially being approached directly by other attractive organisations and interested hiring managers with offers and interviews for other roles.

It’s your responsibility to make sure that new hires stay enthusiastic and stick with their decision of joining your company, instead of being tempted away by other organisations.

So how do you achieve this?

By having a well-thought out and dedicated Preboarding programme you’ll be able to increase new hire excitement and engagement and take care of other administrative factors that come with starting a new role. That way your new hires will be ready to get stuck in from day one.

When does preboarding take place?

From when your new hire signs their contract to their first day in work it’s extremely important to engage and communicate with them. The period of transition is called preboarding, the stage between hiring and onboarding.

Why is it important?

Employee engagement is very important and a lot of companies are aware of this, however, what many miss is that it doesn’t just concern or affect active employees. Employee Engagement strategies need to start as early as possible.

Unless continuously managed and instilled, motivation and excitement comes and goes. If you let weeks pass without making any contact with a new hire, even the most enthusiastic candidate may find their excitement dim. Keeping that spark alive is critical in welcoming motivated and engaged new employees on board.

By having a preboarding strategy, you’ll be giving yourself the chance to start aligning hires with your values, culture, vision and mission. It’s the perfect time to start introducing new hires to their colleagues through either physical or virtual meetings. When you give new hires a sense of alignment and inclusion early on in the process it’s easier to keep momentum going, keeping their excitement going.

When you give new hires basic information about their roles, their responsibilities and giving them a sense of place within the company, you’ll be able to set up new employees up for successful onboarding.

The First Day Experience

Your new employee’s first day should be full of early learning and meaningful introductions, but that isn’t possible if you’re having them do administrative tasks, or asking them to study a cumbersome employee handbook.

When you preboard a new hire you’re enabling yourself to get the admin tasks out of the way before they start. This means you can turn your focus to a new hire’s early Employee Experience.

Companies like Twitter run a smooth preboarding programme so each hire has a successful and engaging first day experience. They thoroughly prepare for a new employee’s arrival by setting up their e-mail, and gifting them a t-shirt and wine.

Their well-thought out preboarding process allows a new Twitter employee to have a first day that includes breakfast with the CEO, a tour of the company office, and group training on the tools and systems they’ll need.

What should you include in your preboarding programme?

Details of your preboarding programme can vary and be based on the size of your business, your resources, company culture, and the time between job offer and first day. Even so, all preboarding programmes should at least include these essential elements:

  • A personalised welcome email, ensuring the new hire feels comfortable reaching out with any questions.
  • A short video or reading to start aligning new hires with company vision, mission, and values.
  • Request for new hires to complete an employee profile and give them access to the database so they can find out more about their team.
  • Provide your new hire with their employee handbook
  • Have new hires complete administrative paperwork. All of the paperwork should be done digitally before their first days and have it sync across each of your HR platforms.
  • Benefits information
  • Details on their first day and what to expect, so they know what they’ll be doing

Setting in place repeatable employee preboarding processes makes sure that all your new hires will have the same exceptional early Employee Experience.

Keep in mind that the experience you’ll be delivering throughout preboarding sets expectations around the Employee Experience your organisations will provide. Ensure that you take the time to craft a formal plan for preboarding for the best start to a successful hire.

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