February 20, 2023

How a Good Pre-Boarding Program Can Impact Your Organization

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Every moment your company has to interact with a candidate is critical. Even when you’ve gone through the recruitment and job interview phase all the way to offering someone a job, there’s a period of time that could impact their job satisfaction with your organization. It could even affect their motivation to show up to work in the first place.

The period of time between a candidate accepting a job and starting their first day is known as “pre-boarding”. Why does pre-boarding matter? According to CNBC, 22% of job seekers have accepted a job offer but didn’t come in for their first day of work.

Even for candidates who come into work after accepting the offer, a bad pre-boarding experience could create ripple effects that impact their time at your organization. Here’s why pre-boarding matters and how to create a pre-boarding program that engages candidates. 

What Does Pre-Boarding Entail?

Pre-boarding lasts however long it takes before an employee who’s accepted a job offer starts work. In many cases, it may last around 2 weeks, as many employees will request at least that amount of time to give notice to their current employers. In some cases, pre-boarding with your organization may be shorter or take longer, depending on the employee’s start date.

Pre-boarding includes:

  • Any communication between your company and the employee
  • Resources about your organization that can help the employee learn more and get comfortable
  • Being available to answer any questions the new hire has
  • An outline of what the new hire can expect from their first day/week on the job

Some companies move onboarding tasks that can be completed online to the pre-boarding phase. These might include:

  • Filling out benefits paperwork and payroll information
  • Watching corporate videos or reading a corporate handbook
  • Setting up a new hire with a company email address

Introducing the company in-depth and providing training during the onboarding process can still happen in person or virtually when the employee officially starts work. But you can get the ball rolling by creating a pre-boarding program that prepares employees to integrate into the company.

You can also create a list of frequently asked questions by new hires. Proactively offering answers to what might be on a new hire’s mind can help put them at ease.

Why Does Pre-Boarding Matter?

During the pre-boarding period, it’s possible that your soon-to-be employee is using your offer as leverage to negotiate a better salary with their current employer. Or, they’re fielding other offers from other employers. That’s why, however long the pre-boarding process lasts, you’ll want to ensure you’re staying in contact with the new hire and are keeping them engaged through two-way communication, so they genuinely commit to your company. 

Pre-boarding can provide benefits including:

  • Building rapport: Pre-boarding interactions help build a stronger relationship with the candidate. You can learn more about their needs and desires from the job, and they can learn more about your company, its culture, and their future coworkers. Plus, your current employees can benefit from learning more about the new hire so they feel confident about how they’ll contribute once they begin work.
  • Retention: First impressions matter. The pre-boarding process can help solidify a partnership that shows your company cares about the new hire, which in turn makes them more likely to stay at your company.
  • Referrals: Even before the new hire begins work, they might start praising you to their contacts due to an exemplary pre-boarding process. This could result in better sentiment for your business and more referrals to your company in terms of workers and customers. 
  • Increased productivity: Orienting a new employee during pre-boarding could result in the new hire being able to jump into work more quickly. They can start to form relationships with coworkers before they start, so they’ll feel more comfortable diving in once they begin.

And, of course, pre-boarding helps you stay connected to your new hire, so they don’t drop off before day one of their work. Even when there are a couple of weeks or longer before they start, you show you’re still invested in their success with your organization. 

Tips for Pre-Boarding Programs

In addition to virtual onboarding tasks, you can make employees feel included during pre-boarding in other ways. Some ideas:

  • Send a welcome gift basket with company swag in it. Or, make it available for pickup at the office, so the new hire can stop in again and connect with people there.
  • Once a new hire’s email is set up, send a welcome email that announces the employee to the company.
  • Ask the new hire to complete a fun questionnaire introducing them, their work and skillset, and personal interests. You can turn this information into a graphic you can use when you introduce them to the company and in content marketing, like a company blog or social media post.
  • Pair the new hire with a current employee who will be available to assist when they start, as well as who will connect with them during pre-boarding to answer questions. It’s helpful if this is someone who isn’t their manager but who works in their department.
  • Have the new hire’s coworkers film a welcome video sharing insights about each one. 
  • Create a resource document that includes common FAQs for new hires regarding what they can expect on the first day/week/month.

An Effective Pre-Boarding Program Can Help You Improve Retention

Retaining employees requires keeping them engaged and cultivating strong relationships. The pre-boarding period is a critical time when you can:

  • Show a new hire you’re invested in them
  • Teach a new hire more about your company and its culture
  • Make the new hire excited to work for you

We recommend pre-boarding for organizations in all the industries we work with, including Accounting and Finance, Information Technology, Human Resources, Financial Services, Corporate Support, and Marketing, Digital and Creative. When you partner with AccruePartners as your recruiting firm, we can assist with recommendations for the pre-boarding process.

Contact us to learn more.

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