Preboarding: From “Yes” to Day 1

Preboarding fills the "communication gap" that often occurs in the period between a person accepts an offer and the first working day.

What is preboarding?

Basically, preboarding is the activities a company does to get employees started in their new role – before they have started their first day at job.

A lot can happen from the day a new employee accepts the job and until they actually start. With preboarding, the company can welcome new employees and introduce them to the company, the team, and the culture during this period.

The new employee gets a solid foundation with insights into the company as well as the workflow, and the company remains top-of-mind with the employee, who also makes time to feel comfortable in relation to the new job. Most people in HR (recruitment) have tried to hire a new employee who quits in the last minute due to uncertainty and has therefore accepted another offer or stay in their current job.

Why should you use your valuable time on preboarding?

About 1/3 of the new employees decide in their first week whether they want to stay in the company or leave it. Therefore, it is important to make new people feel welcome and give them clarity on what to expect.

Furthermore, there are several advantages associated with starting the start-up process early with preboarding, for example, less risk of recruitment failing, minimizing time-to-performance, and ensuring the new employees feel comfortable in their new role.

Preboarding Tips

You can involve new employees before their first day by, for example, inviting them on an internal communication channel such as Slack, so that they can gain insight into the language and the culture – as well as take part in the communication. 

In addition, you can digitize the preboarding process – by giving the newly hired access to the company’s LMS, through which they can access start-up material, go through a training course and/or watch a film about the departments or management. 

Furthermore, you can eliminate the initial uncertainty by giving new employees a plan for their first day or first week so they know what they are going through.

Another option is a “buddy” who contacts the new hire and possibly tells about the first day/week, then the new hire also gets a clue and a person with whom he/she is comfortable. 

Send if necessary business cards, work clothes, and the like for the new employee before the first day, the employee can more quickly connect oneself with the company.

It also gives the impression that the company is ready for the new employee and they are needed.

It’s real people

Ditch the formal tone. Use a friendly and informal tone in the preboarding material and communication with the new employee, and give a “human” impression of the company. 

You can also go one step further and invite the new employee on an informal visit where they have the opportunity to greet the entire team and maybe even have lunch with them, so the first day becomes less nerve-wracking.

And forget all about one size fits all! Standardized and impersonal preboarding kills the mood. Use targeted content and make sure there’s room for the newcomer to comment and ask questions along the way. 

You can target the content by, for example, telling about the team that the employee soon will be part of and the daily work in the department.

Now you know what preboarding is. With simple actions and tools, new employees get a sneak peek into their (soon to be) everyday lives, and the company can, through the process, make them feel like part of the team and the company, even before their first day of work.