In our rapidly evolving workplace, HR has been forced to develop a whole new language: one that accurately reflects all of our increasingly complicated roles and work conditions. 
When it comes to hiring, one of the words in this new vocabulary that you should be keeping top of mind is “preboarding.”In an era when employee engagement is everything, a crucial way to set yourself apart from the competition is a well-planned (and implemented) preboarding program.

Wait. What’s preboarding?

You know what onboarding is and when it happens. Preboarding is the step before onboarding, when new hires get to meet the organization and take care of some bureaucratic details before their first day.

The preboarding process usually covers simple things: tax forms, health declarations, insurance paperwork, and anything else that can be handled over email. Knocking out these tasks before day one allows HR to plan a more effective and streamlined onboarding experience.

Onboarding can be make-or-break for new employees. Here’s how preboarding can help.

How does preboarding make hires feel at home?

Even though you recruited a great candidate for your organization, there’s a fierce and ongoing battle today for top talent. That battle doesn’t end the second a candidate signs accepts a role in your organization. Your competitors are well aware of the most talented people out there. That’s why it’s a safe bet that recruiters and rival organizations have your new hires on their radar screens and are reaching out to them about positions even after they’ve joined your organization.

The active labor market has created a new trend in hiring: employee ghosting, which The Federal Reserve has defined as, “a situation where a worker stops coming to work without notice and then is impossible to contact.”

As such, one of your primary responsibilities today is to make sure your new hires make a long term commitment to your organization, and not take the bait from one of your competitors.

If you’ve been in your pajamas for the last seven days straight, that doesn’t mean time has stopped for everyone else. Also, take a shower.

Turn downtime into go time: Preboarding 101

With so many talented people opting out of new jobs with little or no notice, your organization’s new hire ramp-up period needs to be lightning fast. This is because most people don’t start a new job right away. And this downtime can cause them to second guess their decision to accept a new role in your organization.

However, you can eliminate a lot of this anxiety with some effective preboarding ideas:

  • Send an email to the entire organization introducing a new hire and encouraging new colleagues to introduce themselves in return.
  • Invite a new hire to pop by the workplace for informal chats with C-level team members.
  • Give your new hire a grand tour of the organization. 
  • Set up pow wows off-campus between a new hire and immediate team members.
  • Before a new hire’s big first day, send an email asking if they have any questions or concerns. Remind them how excited everyone at your organization is about their arrival!

By making the most of the downtime before a new hire’s first day you’ll be able to build on the excitement they felt when they first signed on to join your organization. 

And a motivated team member is much more likely to stick around for a while…

Use preboarding to increase retention

Employees today, especially millennials, are joining and leaving organizations at a rate that’ll make your head spin. Close to 20% of new hires will quit their jobs within the first 45 days

Hiring is about more than finding and hiring: to be a successful process, new joiners need to stick around. But the good news is that preboarding done right can quickly strengthen your new hires’ connection to your organization, greatly reducing turnover and attrition rates.

Preboarding is onboarding’s sidekick, so it’s safe to assume that with strong preboarding comes strong onboarding—and we know that strong onboarding leads to happy employees. Investing in your preboarding should be a top priority in keeping your new hires engaged and connected to your organization.

Zoe Haimovitch

From Zoe Haimovitch

Zoe is a passionate manager and leader. Together with her team, she builds our brand story. She loves to connect with people who are passionate about what they do, speak candidly, and are authentic and willing to work together.