The Power of Pre-Onboarding

Most organizations recognize the fundamental importance of effective onboarding. However, in spite of all the statistics that support onboarding in the hiring, engagement, productivity, and retention of a new hire, there are numerous details that “fall through the cracks”, so to speak. According to an Allied Workforce Survey, four out of five companies don’t have a specific budget for onboarding, while 1/3 of organizations spend zero dollars on their onboarding processes. But even for those who do have their budgets and systems in place, many still miss out on a unique opportunity to utilize pre-onboarding.

For the average new employee, the first day on a new job is filled with paperwork, introductions, tours of the office, and a general overview of the work life. This first day can be overwhelming and exhausting, as a new employee attempts to make a good impression on his or first day. The reality is that much of the processes of the first day can be handled before the new employee even begins their first day.

Consider that for some new hires, it may be many weeks or months from the time they sign their contract to the time they actually begin. Even if it’s a few short weeks, the window of time between them leaving their old job and starting the new one is a critical time to integrate them into your team and culture.

For example, we leverage the power of intelligent automation to communicate with our new hires before their day one. Through the use of chatbots, we can help our new employee complete important paperwork. We can also learn what he or she needs in terms of training, or answer questions that help develop and build clear expectations.

While I understand that some hires are “hush-hush” out of respect for their current job situation, there are times that a new hire can integrate into the social aspects of the company, even if it’s as simple as interacting via social media pages that are specific to current employees. Having a quick lunch or coffee to introduce team members to the new employee, before he starts, can go a long way in helping him feel like he’s already a part of the team.

For a new employee, pre-onboarding helps them to:

  • Begin their immersion into the culture of the company.
  • Ensure that all paperwork is filled out properly, and in a timely manner.
  • Develop clear expectations of their role and responsibilities.
  • Feel like they are already part of the team.

For an organization, pre-onboarding:

  • Assures that communication is maintained from the interview process through the hiring and start process.
  • Paperwork and necessary forms are completed satisfactorily, and that compliance is maintained.
  • Helps immediately with getting the new employee engaged.
  • Begins the process of bringing the new hire to full productivity before her first day.
  • Allows the company to focus on onboarding tasks that are specific to engagement and productivity.

Just imagine if you get engaged, set a date to get married, but then don’t talk to your future spouse until the day of the wedding. It seems unthinkable. While that may seem a bit outlandish, the principal of communication is the same. Once you hire a new employee, take the initiative to develop the relationship through pre-boarding, so that he or she can feel like they are part of the “family” before they even begin their first day on the job. Pre-onboard and onboard, then watch your company flourish with a culture that is engaged and productive for years to come.