Pre-Boarding or Pre-Boring? You Decide.
How to make sure the time between an employment offer and a first day reflects as well as possible on you and your company.
Most employers understand that onboarding – the first few days of a new employee’s tenure at a company – is a critical time when the employer and employee develop the beginnings of a working relationship. But there is a time before onboarding that is often neglected in the hiring process – pre-boarding.
“Pre-boarding is a fairly new concept that often gets confused with the traditional onboarding process most of us have experienced when starting a new job,” according to Recruiterbox. Pre-boarding starts and is completed before a new hire sets foot in the office; it often includes paperwork, logistics, and it can also include informal interactions between the company and the new hire.
In one of the tightest job markets in decades, it is more important than ever for companies to make sure they are getting the employee lifecycle right, and making a good impression on the employees whenever possible. The pre-boarding experience is a good opportunity to do just this. Companies across all industries spend an average of $4,425 to recruit workers. Part of HR’s job is to keep these people engaged and in place, and much is at stake…the cost of losing a recruit in their first year is estimated to be six to nine months’ salary on average for salaried employees.
In the race to keep employees, every moment counts, including the moments before they show up for their first day. The days before their start date can be emotional – a time of excitement but also trepidation – as well as difficult for reasons including logistics like re-location, finding new schools for kids, and so on. Strong and effective communications during this critical, difficult time can help to solidify the employer/employee relationship long term.
Here are just a few suggestions to keep your pre-boarding process interesting and make sure more of your new hires show up for their first day excited to dive into work:
- Paperwork. The deed of filling out tons of tax and payroll documents can be daunting for many new hires. Consider bundling paperwork with other assets, such as videos about the company, or even gamification exercises to make the process more interesting and enable the employee to learn a bit about the company before starting.
- Start meeting the team. Pre-boarding is the perfect time to introduce a new employee to the people they will eventually be working with. Encourage your team to reach out to the new employee (if permitted by applicable local employment laws); people who already work at a company can offer invaluable insight, encouragement, tips about life in a new city and more. This will help everyone get to know each other and work towards establishing a relationship before the new hire’s first day.
- Day one guide. A day or two before the employee’s first day, send them a comprehensive guide about what is being planned for their first day. Make sure to include everything from where and how to park to the entrance, keycard, name badge, or other types of building procedures. Also, think about including ideas for breakfast and lunch and provide a detailed schedule so your new hire feels grounded and ready to take on the day.
- New hire buddy. Think about pairing your new hire with an established employee. This will help the new hire learn the lay of the land faster than by themselves thanks to the special bits only fellow staff members will be able to impart to one another.
- What about a scavenger hunt to get to know the new city, etc, before they even begin work? Several Strayboots customers use our scavenger hunts very successfully to pre-board and onboard new hires. If your team member is new to the area, consider sending them (and maybe their families) on a scavenger hunt to better learn their new home. Include relevant locations and local attractions so they’ll feel at home as soon as possible.
Some companies are also launching more involved pre-boarding programs. Medical manufacturer B. Braun, for example, launched an app to help retain employees in the critical first 90 days. Braun has a distinct corporate culture and prepares new hires with materials provided via the app. Listed on the App Store, the app has a public face as well as encouraging interested people to apply for a position with the company.
The days in the run-up to the start of a new job can be an exciting but also a scary time. Employers who go the extra mile to recognize this and help their workers through this transition can reap the benefits down the line through better employee retention, satisfaction, and productivity.
*Important note. Remember to check the labor laws relevant to your business related to onboarding and pre-boarding. Local, state and federal labor laws and regulations may require some pre-boarding activities to be compensated even if the employee is not on the clock.