Ignore Preboarding at your peril

Onboarding is critical for a company’s success — it directly impacts retention numbers and productivity graphs. Every CHRO and CEO we interact with, in India or abroad, are either already in process of revamping their current onboarding process or want to learn more about what other companies are doing and how they can change the way they onboard their new hires.

But amidst all the noise about onboarding, stands a lonely sibling called Preboarding. Not much has been written or spoken about this phase of a new hire’s experience. Essentially, preboarding should be a forerunner to onboarding, but it is still overshadowed by onboarding or completely missing at most organizations. We believe this is because:

  1. There seems to be a lot of ambiguity around the term — what is preboarding?
  2. Companies are unsure about who owns it — HR, Branding and Communications or the recruiter?
  3. No best practices available — since preboarding is a fairly new term & thought process.

Decoding Preboarding — One Step At A Time

Fundamentally, preboarding has never been thought of, until now. People have been concerned about the experience once the new hire joins — but what about keeping them connected even before Day 1? We often hear some of these questions when we start talking about preboarding …

  • What is preboarding?
  • Can we really engage with candidates before Day 1?
  • Isn’t it a recruiter’s job to engage candidates during the preboarding stage?
  • Doesn’t preboarding fall under the purview of Employer Branding?
  • Why do we need to invest in new hires before day 1. We have a great onboarding plan for them and it begins from their day 1.

We hear you. We totally understand how strenuous it can be to strategize & implement the onboarding phase… and now we are suggesting engaging with new hires before day 1? Are we crazy?

Let’s start by defining Preboarding…

Dictionary.com defines preboarding as — to put or allow to go aboard in advance of the usual time or before others.

When you allow someone to preview something or get onboard a plane before everyone else — the person feels important, privileged, and taken care of. It also helps them get settled in before everyone else.

Now let’s translate preboarding & onboarding into an organization scenario. By investing in your potential hires you are sending a clear message that you value them and are interested in them even before they joined. When you are interviewing a candidate, several things are happening simultaneously — the candidate might be interviewing with your competitor and their current manager might be giving them a counter-offer they cannot refuse. Therefore, your efforts at this stage will decide whether they will choose your company over others or not.

Why Should You Care

Employee turnover and no-shows are expensive nightmares for any company. And, therefore, you need to stay ahead of the curve and invest time and resources to preboard your new hires.

  1. Save Cost: Focusing on the preboarding stage helps you avoid no-shows and engage employees even before they join you
  2. Check for Culture Fit: Engaging a candidate before they join allows you to check how well they fit into your company culture.
  3. Find and Retain Top Talent: In the war for talent, you want to hire and retain the best candidates. For this, you need to impress them from the start and keep interacting with them before Day 1.
  4. Employee Branding and Referrals: Efforts during the preboarding stage will always leave a positive impression on a candidate and indirectly help you build your brand and improve the quality of applicants entering your recruitment funnel.

How Can You Start

There are several simple, inexpensive and effective ways to get started. Some of our favorites are listed below:

  1. Introduce them to their manager and team/buddy: Even before they join, allow them to know their manager, team, and buddy. Share their LinkedIn profiles with the new hire so that the new hire feels like they belong in this team.
  2. Be honest about the role: Educate the new hire on the role and the interview process in a simple & concise manner. Avoid using your in-house jargon in job descriptions or interviews. Always be honest and available to answer their questions or concerns.
  3. Share company’s values, mission, culture, and CSR activities: As of now, most companies cover this during a new hire’s orientation session but it should be something that you start sharing before Day 1.
  4. Give them a sneak preview: Invite them into the office — before day 1 — for a tour of the office, meet some colleagues and understand the company better. This will reduce their first-day fears and get them excited about the job.
  5. New hire survey: Give them a chance to give you feedback on various touch points during the preboarding phase. Show them how important is it for you to know how their experience has been from the start.

Happy to Help!

In case you still have some questions about preboarding and how you can successfully set up the process at your company, don’t hesitate to contact me at latika(@)tydy.it. I will be happy to discuss, provide tips and suggestions, share any guidance and best practices that we have gathered by working in this space with other enterprises.

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