- Employers may be missing a crucial step when onboarding a new worker: the pre-boarding process.
- Pre-boarding can focus on building engagement, meeting the new team, having the new hire complete payroll forms, figuring out a start date, scheduling a tour of the workspace, etc.
- In a Q&A, Christina Gialleli, Director of People Operations at Epignosis, explained what exactly should be included in the pre-boarding process.
The first impression an organization has on a potential employee can make or break the employee’s work experience and engagement. What happens between that first impression up to the employee’s first day is also paramount and has lasting implications, but it’s typically ignored.
The employee onboarding process should begin before new hires come into the office on their first day; this often-overlooked step is called “pre-boarding.”
Having a pre-boarding process is an important aspect to building an employer’s brand while also making the onboarding process more seamless, as well as decreasing anxiety for new hires.
The current norm is for employers to foster employee engagement after their new hire begins working for them, but the best way might be to engage employees before they ever log in on their first day.
Nearly 33% of new hires look for a new job within their first six months on the job, according to the Harvard Business Review. This time period includes the pre-boarding stage.
By starting the whole onboarding process before new hires even set foot in the workspace, companies retain their new hire’s attention and make them feel more invested in the job sooner rather than later.
“Your pre-boarding process has a big impact on the loyalty factor that your new employee has toward your company. By using the correct communication and outreach, you can generate rapport with new hires from the very beginning,” according to ispring.
So, what exactly does the pre-boarding process entail?
Pre-boarding starts right away when a worker and employer come to an employment agreement.
Pre-boarding can focus on building engagement, meeting the new team, having the new hire complete payroll forms, figuring out a start date, scheduling a tour of the workspace, etc. This step in the onboarding process is largely about building a relationship with the new hire through consistent communication and engagement.
In a Q&A with Allwork.Space, Director of People Operations at Epignosis Christina Gialleli explained what exactly should be included in the pre-boarding process.
Allwork.Space: What is the difference between pre-boarding and onboarding?
Christina Gialleli: The difference between pre-boarding and onboarding may seem small, but the two processes play different roles, and the terms shouldn’t be used interchangeably. Onboarding starts when an employee shows up for the first day of work and focuses on helping employees succeed in their new role.
On the flipside, pre-boarding fills the gap between hiring and showing up to work. It’s all about helping employees feel engaged, welcome, and excited about their new role before they begin. It’s also a great chance to get some essential admin out of the way so they can hit the ground running when they finally do start working.
Allwork.Space: What does pre-boarding mean for the first day experience?
Christina Gialleli: That first day can be filled with jitters, but having constant communication with your new hire during the pre-boarding phase can help maintain a strong connection and keep them excited to join the company before their official first day. By making the pre-boarding process welcoming and detail-oriented, the employee will already start off on the right foot by knowing the team they’ll be working with and what they can expect that first week.
Allwork.Space: What should be included in a pre-boarding program?
Christina Gialleli: All pre-boarding programs are different. Many companies even send their new hires company swag including t-shirts and pens before their official first day to get them pumped. But, we do recommend all programs include:
- Formal welcome: Send a personal message. Have the employee’s new manager reach out with a personalized welcome message either through email or video conference. Let the new employee know people are aware they’ll be joining the workforce and are enthusiastic about having them on the team.
- Continued communication: Radio silence after a job acceptance can leave new employees feeling nervous. Build the relationship from the start with regular communication during employee pre-boarding.
- Preparations for day one: Show employees you’re invested in their success by giving them what they need to get started before their first day. Send out paperwork for things like tax forms, NDAs, and health insurance in advance. Most (if not all) of these can be completed online with the right software solution. Completing paperwork early will help new hires engage with the job right away. It will also clear the way for them to jump right in with more job-specific activities during onboarding. You want people to have everything they need to get started on the first day, so prepare all the technology and systems they’ll need to start off successfully.