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The Preboarding Period And Why It Pays Off To Engage New Hires Early

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

The Preboarding Period And Why It Pays Off To Engage New Hires Early

Finding great candidates can be difficult, but retaining new hires is even more challenging [1]. Especially these days when longevity is difficult to predict and with the job market full of opportunities, job seekers are afforded more decision making power. With more choices available, the responsibility falls with employers to provide a positive and engaging employee experience.

Now is not the time to dismiss employee engagement. Neglecting to facilitate communication or to engage closely with your employees can cost the business great talent. Companies have to invest in building a relationship with their employees immediately to improve employee retention. This can start as early as the hiring process.

While an effective and efficient onboarding process can help instill employee confidence, get new hires started off on the right foot, and promote a team mindset, you can actually start building rapport with your worker even before the employee's start date.

This is where preboarding comes in. Preboarding is an effective strategy to start a strong relationship before your new hires even step foot in the office. In this blog article, we explore the preboarding period and why is considered a crucial component of the employee experience.

Preboarding vs Onboarding

‍While preboarding falls under the onboarding process, the truth is that the preboarding process involves engaging with your new hire before they officially begin their first day with the company. Onboarding, on the other hand, continues after the employee's first day and can last for several days on the new job.

Preboarding and onboarding essentially share a similar purpose and it's because of the misunderstanding that they serve only one purpose that preboarding is often overlooked. However, when done properly, preboarding can make employee onboarding and employee engagement strategies faster and more efficient. By maximizing the time between your new hire's acceptance of the job offer and their first day, you can motivate them, help them get acclimated to their new role and responsibilities, and start them off engaged and ready to hit the ground running.

A good preboarding program provides the new hire with all the information they need including introducing them to the company culture and giving them an overview of how the company works. Some preboarding programs additionally give the new hire all the HR paperwork ahead of time as well as the employee handbook so they accomplish the documents and tax forms and read about company policies beforehand as a guide to the company's culture. They can do this learning at their own pace and before they begin their official onboarding tasks.

Having this knowledge readily available to your new employee allows them to feel at ease from day one. Starting the onboarding process by properly preboarding talents before the first day helps ramp up the transition process and gets your new hires up to speed and comfortable in their new roles in record time without overwhelming them on their first day.

A poor onboarding experience, on the other hand, can send new employees running for the hills before they even start to do their jobs. Studies show that up to 4% of new hires leave a job after day one [2] due to a variety of reasons including inefficient onboarding systems or getting overwhelmed with the number of administrative tasks squeezed into their first several days.

In the end, you don't want to start your new hire off on the wrong foot. How an employee begins is integral to longevity. And if your new hire has a smooth preboarding and efficient employee onboarding experience, he or she is most likely to begin motivated, excited to be part of the team, and set up for success.

Preboarding Can Bolster the Hiring Process

‍Your employee's journey starts before they accept the job offer and sign an official contract, and preboarding is a powerful recruitment process tool to begin building trust and retaining talent. With the increase of remote working as a result of modern events, HR professionals now have to fight to keep a new hire engaged that they may never physically meet, removing the personal element of bringing people onboard. To combat this, check out one of our previous blogs on how to effectively manage remote teams.

While a hiring manager may not be able to use traditional methods of engagement for new team members, it is still important for them to find ways to reach out and make new employees feel like an important part of the team and make new hires feel engaged. This is how preboarding can help. With preboarding getting rid of the simple tasks before their employment begins, you get your new employees up to speed ahead of time and give them the chance to focus on their work and generate rapport and make meaningful introductions with their new team members on their first day.

At the same time, through effective preboarding HR professionals can streamline their own processes. By removing the simple logistics tasks from their pipeline ahead of time, they can focus on other more complex items that may require their attention.

Why Preboarding is Crucial in the Employee Experience

‍Starting a new role is often intimidating and can be a life-altering decision for candidates. The period between leaving a role and beginning a new one at a new company is typically short but is arguably the most critical, with candidates often weighing different offers and different opportunities.

During this critical time, it can be common for new hires to experience doubt or second thoughts about the next decisions in their career. In fact, due to the uncertainty of this time and without the reassurance they need from their new company, up to 45 percent of new hires leave after only six months. [3]

Preboarding coupled with a strong onboarding program not only helps your new hire adjust quickly but also starts the employee-company relationship off on a positive note and gives the employer an opportunity to communicate company values and accelerate employee performance by empowering candidates. When an organization provides a structured preboarding program, employee productivity improves by up to 70% [4] while establishing a good foundation and instilling loyalty early.

At the end of the day, if a new hire feels that the company has invested in them from the get-go, they are far more likely to be equally invested in the company and this can translate into longevity, retention, and increased opportunity for engagement.

Benefits of a Strong Preboarding Process

‍ There are countless benefits of establishing a strong preboarding program. Some of the most integral ones include:

1. Increased employee productivity - When employees can focus on their work tasks earlier because they were adequately prepared ahead of time, they are able to get to work faster and acclimate sooner.‍

2. An improved first day experience - With a dedicated preboarding program, your new hires aren't coming into the company blind. They have already been briefed ahead of time and will feel less overwhelmed with new information.‍

3. Increased employee loyalty - With the right amount of communication and engagement from the get-go, employees build an affinity for your company early which will only grow over time with good employee engagement.‍

4. Decreased turnover - With more employees feeling like an integral part of the team they are less likely going to look for opportunities elsewhere. Turnover can be costly, so by helping keep attrition low you are also saving the business money and time.

The pre-boarding strategy doesn't have to be elaborate or complicated. While some companies send comprehensive preboarding packages sometimes just taking a few measures to make new hires feel welcome or to invite communication can go a long way. Companies can also just send a welcome message or provide a point of contact to answer frequently asked questions before the start date.

Additionally, the pre-boarding process is the opportune moment to provide important documents like the company handbook and HR documents. Software can digitize the process, streamline it, and create a digital hub for communication between parties.

As a cloud-hosted native mobile app, Qualee was specifically designed to allow pre-boarding and the engagement of new hires from the moment they sign an offer letter. If you would like to learn more about how Qualee can help your organization with the pre-boarding process, visit our website and download Qualee for free today!

You might be interested in the following resources:
Calculate onboarding ROI using our Onboarding Cost Calculator
Learn about our Employee Engagement Platform
Trial our Employee Onboarding App
Our Recommended Exit Interview Questions for an Effective Offboarding Experience

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