Onboarding begins before day 1. Here are 10 strategies to help you pre-board your new hires and make a difference in the HR onboarding process.
The first few weeks of an employee’s tenure impact their experience with your organization. Most organizations have an onboarding strategy for the first 90 days of employment, but the period before they start working for you is important as well.
Most employees have to give 2 weeks’ notice between accepting your job and taking it. Those few weeks can be scary, especially as more offers are being rescinded. The HR onboarding process must start before the first day if you want to set your company and team members up for success.
What is pre-boarding and how do you best pre-board new hires? Read on to learn more.
What is pre-boarding?
Pre-boarding is connecting and performing HR onboarding tasks before someone officially joins a company. Onboarding a new employee is a time-consuming task. Many activities done during the first few days can be done before the new employee starts work. Pre-boarding helps employers take advantage of that time after employees give their 2-week notice.
Why you should pre-board new employees
To reduce turnover, start by ensuring that employees feel welcome as soon as you extend a job offer.
Pre-boarding has become one of the most significant employee onboarding best practices. You might be wondering why that is.
A solid onboarding process improves employee turnover. A recent Gartner survey predicts a 20% jump in turnover from pre-pandemic levels this year. Employees want to work at companies that treat them well, and they make decisions about your organization before joining.
Unfortunately, a lot of turnover happens during the first few months. Your organization might even be tracking its 90-day new-hire failure rates. To reduce turnover, start by ensuring that employees feel welcome as soon as you extend a job offer.
Another reason you want to pre-board employees is to give employees time to understand all the documents they’ll be signing. New employees sign a lot of important papers with tax and regulatory implications. These documents need to be signed correctly, or your organization could risk fines for violations.
Finally, pre-boarding helps employees get to know their new team members and cuts down on first-day jitters. Starting fresh at a new company is a challenge, but with the proper techniques upfront, you can help your team avoid that reality.
How to pre-board new employees
Now that you understand what pre-boarding is and why it’s important, let’s dive into how to do it. Here are 10 strategies that can help you pre-board your team members.
1. Think about the ideal onboarding experience you want for new hires
As you pre-board new employees, you want to consider the onboarding experience you are trying to provide. Do you want employees locked away in stuffy rooms filling out a stack of paperwork? Or do you want to create employee engagement and connection from day one?
2. Utilize onboarding software to take care of necessary paperwork
You don’t have to print out packets of paper anymore. HR onboarding software can help you send out paperwork in advance to get digital signatures. If you send out paperwork in advance, new hires can ask questions and have everything complete before day one.
3. Make arrangements so that any necessary tools or tech arrives before day one
Whether you work remotely or in the office, technology is essential. You want to ensure that employees have their laptops, email addresses, extra monitors, etc., ready for their first day. Coordinate with your IT team to ensure everyone has what they need.
4. Host a Q&A to answer any lingering questions
Your new team members probably have a lot of questions. If you are using a cohort-based onboarding experience, consider hosting a Q&A. Invite company managers and executives to the Q&A so hires can meet other leaders and get acclimated to the culture.
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5. Ask team members to reach out via email and make an introduction
Meeting everyone in the first week can be overwhelming. By the end of the first day, you’ve met so many people that everyone blends together, and no one has a name. Since you have an email address for your new hire, why not use it to make introductions easier. Assign a date for each team member to send a quick introduction email. These emails can include a bit about the employee, their role, and even a selfie to help put a face to a name.
6. Email the first-week schedule in advance
Some of your new hires will be planners who like to know what’s coming up and what to expect. Make sure you appease these individuals by emailing the first-week schedule a few days before the first day of work. This email will make new hires breathe a sigh of relief when they know what team-building activities to plan for.
7. Send swag before they start, so new hires feel like a part of the family
Who doesn’t love receiving some custom swag from their new company? Send a welcome package with custom items like a shirt, notebook, water bottle, stickers, etc. Your new team members will appreciate the gesture and may even post these items on social media.
8. Personalize the experience with a fun video from the company
Another way to welcome new hires is with a custom video. You can use a tool like Tribute to gather videos from everyone on the team and make a friendly video for new hires. It only takes a few seconds to get set up, and your new employees will likely feel even more excited about their new role.
9. Make sure you follow up and stay in contact before employees join your company
Since rescinded offers have become more commonplace, you want to assure employees that you’re ready to uphold any offers you send. Engage with new hires by sending frequent communication and check-ins before day one.
10. Spread information out, so you don’t overwhelm new hires
If you follow the tips shared today, pre-boarding may become overwhelming. It’s important to stagger these experiences over 1 to 2 weeks. Coordinate with managers, leaders, and employees to prevent sending an avalanche of information at the same time. You shouldn’t wait until the last minute on pre-boarding activities.
It’s important to stagger these experiences over 1 to 2 weeks. Coordinate with managers, leaders, and employees to prevent sending an avalanche of information at the same time.
Employee onboarding is an essential process for new hires, but it can be overwhelming. Top companies have begun pre-boarding to tap into the weeks leading up to a new hire’s first day. There are a plethora of things your organization can do before day one. Overall, you want to ensure that employees:
- Fill out as much paperwork as they can
- Receive quick introductions to other employees
- Get answers to all pressing questions
- Have access to systems and schedules
- Feel right at home before they officially join the organization
Your pre-boarding process can help you accomplish these tasks, so why not create a strategy today?