Preparing for Success with Employee Preboarding

by Jeni Fahy

Apr 14, 2017

Your Recruitment team has found the perfect candidate. Someone with outstanding credentials and impressive experience, who will fit right into your company culture. They’ve accepted the position and are scheduled to start in 3 weeks.

Now it’s time to kick back, relax and say, “Catch you next month!”

… Well, not quite.

The competition for today’s top talent is intense. A great candidate’s agreement to accept a role at your company no longer guarantees they’ll be eagerly waiting at reception on their first scheduled day of employment.

From the time a sought-after candidate accepts a job offer to the time they actually begin the new role, you should assume there are persistent recruiters, attractive organizations, and interested hiring managers all contacting them with offers and interviews for another position.

It’s the responsibility of People Operations to ensure that new hires stick to their decision of joining your organization, instead of taking the bait from another.

How?

With a dedicated Preboarding program that increases new hire excitement and engagement, while taking care of the administrative aspects of starting a new role, so they’re ready to jump in on Day One.

When does Employee Preboarding take place?

From signing an employment offer to their first day of work, it’s important to communicate and engage with your new hires. This transitional time period is called preboarding — the stage that comes after hiring but before onboarding.

Why does it matter?

Employee engagement is a hot topic, but what many People teams miss, is that it doesn’t just concern active employees. With only 29% of the US workforce reportedly engaged, Employee Engagement strategies must start early.

Excitement and motivation come and go unless they are continuously instilled and managed. Even if a candidate was beaming with enthusiasm around the new role during their final interview, if you let weeks go by without contact, that spark will likely burn out.

And keeping that spark alive is a critical step in bringing engaged, motivated team members on board, and setting them up for success.

Preboarding offers the organization a chance to start aligning new hires with its mission, vision, values, and culture. It’s also a great time to begin introducing new hires to their peers through virtual or physical meetings with teammates. An early sense of alignment and inclusion is critical in keeping the momentum going around a new hire’s choice to join your organization.

By providing basic information about their role, outlining their responsibilities, and giving them a sense of place within their new organization, you can set new hires up for a successful onboarding.

What does preboarding mean for the First Day experience?

A new hire’s first day should be filled with meaningful introductions, early learning, and celebration. But this isn’t possible if you’re having new hires fill out tax forms and non-disclosures, or tasking them with studying a 60-page employee handbook.

Preboarding enables you to get the admin involved in taking on a new hire out of the way before they begin work. This means People Ops can turn focus away from the administrative side of early onboarding and onto a new hire’s early Employee Experience.

Top companies like Twitter focus on running a smooth preboarding program for a successful first day experience. Twitter thoroughly prepares for a new hire’s arrival — before a new hire even sits down at their new desk, their new email is set up, and a T-shirt and bottle of wine are waiting.

With a polished preboarding process, a new Twitter employee’s first day allows them to dive right into the new role, through breakfast with the CEO, a tour of the company office, and group training on the tools and systems they’ll need.

What should be included in a preboarding program?

The details of your preboarding program depend on the size and resources of your organization, your unique company culture, and the time between a new hire’s job offer and first day. However, all preboarding programs should include these basic elements:

  • - Send a personalized welcome email from the People team and the new hire’s manager, ensuring the new hire feels comfortable reaching out with any questions.
  • - Request new hires to complete their employee profile, and give them access to the database so they can check out their team.
  • - Provide short, engaging preboarding videos or reading to start aligning new hires with company mission, vision, and values. Zappos, a leader in Employee Experience, effectively showcases its culture through video — this 3 minute peek into the ‘Zappos Family’ serves as an easy, effective way to begin aligning new hires before Day One.
  • - Provide your employee handbook.
  • - Share benefits information.
  • - Detail the new hire’s first day schedule, so that they feel prepared and can get excited.

Building a repeatable preboarding process ensures that all new hires share the same excellent early Employee Experience.

Remember, the experience you deliver during preboarding sets expectations around the Employee Experience your organization will deliver. Take the time to build a formal preboarding plan for the right start to a successful hire.

Want to see how Sapling’s best-in-class technology can streamline your employee preboarding process? Download Sapling’s Essential Guide to Employee Onboarding Success or schedule a product demo below.blog_banner.png

Jeni Fahy

Jeni Fahy is a contributing author at Sapling, a culture-first organization helping People Ops leaders deliver employee experience programs with consistency, visibility, and analytics. If you’re interested in enhancing your employee experience with strategic employee onboarding, schedule a demo with the Sapling team.