Preboarding is an important activity, yet one that many organizations do not focus attention on. To clarify, “preboarding” in this context is not what occurs at the airport. Preboarding refers to the process / activities that span the time from when a new employee is hired to their start date. Research indicates that less than half of all organizations have a formal preboarding process. Today, we often hear about onboarding, which is the process of orientating / training new employees to their job and the organization. While onboarding is critical, preboarding is the first step in ensuring a successful transition for your new hire and making them feel welcomed and excited to join your organization. Oftentimes, several weeks will pass from the time a candidate is offered a position to when they actually start their new job. More often than not, there is no communication with new hires during this time.
While there are no defined rules around preboarding activities, it can include any of the following:
• Send your employee new hire forms to complete. Also send him or her hard copies or links to the employee handbook, etc.
• Invite your new hire for coffee and to meet the staff and tour the office / shop / etc.
• Take your new hire out for lunch. This provides an opportunity for the new hire to ask any clarifying questions and for you to give them information which may reduce their first day jitters.
• If your organization has any social events prior to your new hire’s start date, invite him or her to the event. For example, the company slo-pitch game will provide an opportunity for your new hire to get to know their colleagues in an informal setting.
• For non-sensitive items, include your new hire on the employee email distribution list.
• If none of the above are possible, even connecting with your recruit by phone or email a time or two before their start date will be helpful — and something that your new hire will appreciate.
These activities will help to make your new hire more comfortable and will reduce the chance of them second guessing their decision to leave their current job and join your organization. Building rapport with your new hire will lead them into their job (and your organization) with a level of engagement they otherwise would not have. Furthermore, communication will reduce the chance that your new hire gets cold feet. This can be especially true for those that will be relocating, as working in a location away from family and friends can be especially daunting. Preboarding is relatively simple to undertake, yet can make a big difference in the experience that your new hire has as they prepare to join your organization.
In the next blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of successfully onboarding your new hires.