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Preboarding is the engagement with the candidate who accepted the offer till they officially start with the company. This time should be spent by HR professionals to ensure that the candidate feels valued and welcomed even before they start on their job.
During preboarding, employers can send new hires important paperwork to complete, provide access to company resources such as online training materials, and introduce them to their new colleagues through virtual meetings or social events. This can help to reduce first-day jitters and make the transition to a new job smoother.
Organisations benefit in many ways if the preboarding process is done right. Here are some benefits discussed in no particular order:
Retention of top talent is one of the key challenges for organisations. A well-thought-out preboarding engagement with new hires will help create a great impression of the company and build lasting relationships which could prove hard to break for the new hires.
Every job has a learning curve. Using the preboarding process, organisations can utilise even the time before the new hires join to provide the required information and access to training.
This is very subjective and differs between individuals. This hard-to-measure and personal experience of each employee determines how enthusiastic the workforce is. The preboarding engagement can prepare the new hire to perform job tasks quickly and successfully. This will help in improved satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment.
Preboarding can actually help in aligning new hires with the organisation’s goals, values and culture thereby integrating them faster.
It is well known that organisation culture plays a big role in shaping its brand. By engaging with new hires even before they start, organisations show their commitment to their employees. This can enhance the brand’s reputation as an employer of choice.
There are many things that can help smoothen the joining day formalities. Some of the steps HR can take are:
Any paperwork like employment agreements and forms to be filled can be sent in advance. This helps on the joining day and the onboarding process will be effortless and free of unpleasant surprises.
By providing access to mandatory training materials, policies and procedures, HR can ensure that the new hires are familiar with the organisation even before the joining day.
Facilitate introductions between new hires and their colleagues through virtual meetings or social events. It encourages them to feel more comfortable and connected to their team once they join.
One of the ways to prepare them for their big day is to provide all the required information regarding the joining day formalities and what to expect. They should be aware of whom to meet, where and at what time. They should know what is the appropriate dress code.
A welcome kit could include a welcome letter, personalised stationery, and information about the company’s culture and values. New hires feel valued and excited about joining the organisation.
The engagement of hiring managers with new hires is very important during preboarding. It shows the genuine interest of the management in the offered candidate and will be perceived positively by the new hire. The hiring manager plays a crucial role in the preboarding process. Setting someone up for success takes effort from their immediate supervisors. Hiring managers are vested in the new hire’s performance on the job. They can prepare their new hires by setting expectations around performance and behaviour:
Sending an email with a welcome message to the new hire is a great first step. The note should be not only an introduction of the sender but also a message of anticipation and excitement for future collaboration. This type of communication could build positivity and the new hire will have a fair idea of a supportive work environment that one is joining into.
A reasonable next step would be to schedule a meeting to introduce each other and hopefully provide an overview of what the team does. This meeting could either be in person or via a video call so that they have a face attached to the names.
Preparation is the key to a great first-day experience. Armed with all the information provided by the hiring manager, the new hire can be prepared to meet the expectations whether they are about some project tasks or meeting with colleagues to discuss work.
Any resources new hires need to be successful in their roles can be provided during pre-boarding. These resources could be training materials, expanded job descriptions, and performance expectations.
Nothing beats first-hand experience. Time permitting, if the new hire can be engaged in their future team’s activities like project planning or work review and genuinely seek opinions from the new hire, it can foster a sense of engagement and belonging. This carries into the work once the new hire joins and enables them to engage with the larger team more productively.
Lack of communication during this period could actually make the new hire uncertain about joining day. HR and the hiring manager should be in constant communication with the new hire to help answer any questions or provide relevant updates.
New hires could be new to the city or may have special interests or hobbies. By personalising the preboarding experience to individuals, their specific needs and interests can be addressed. For example, all the best places in town for a specific type of cuisine the new hire is interested in can be shared.
While HR and the hiring manager can engage the new hire, assigning a mentor will greatly help. A mentor is someone who can put the new hire at ease and help in guiding and supporting as required.
Learning is a never-ending process. Offering online training, workshops or coaching to the new hire will make them feel valued. Such training sessions will help the new hire to be confident and productive once they join.
Provide access and introduce onboarding software for the new hire to log in and complete some of the paperwork. A smooth, streamlined online tool will enhance the new hire’s experience with the organisation and leave a positive impression.
Celebrating milestones during the preboarding period, such as completing paperwork or completing training modules, can help create a sense of accomplishment and momentum.
Preboarding is a great opportunity for organisations to create positive impressions. They can enable new hires with the requisite tools and instil confidence to succeed in their new roles. Many of the steps described in the article are not cost-intensive. If it is done correctly, preboarding will turn out to be a very valuable investment in the long run especially when you consider the results of improved retention rates and productivity. There is a good scope for improvisation of the process to cater to specific geographic regions and business sectors.
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