You found the perfect candidate for the job, and they said yes! Job done? Not yet.
Between when a candidate accepts the job and when they start work is a particularly vulnerable period. An Indeed study found that 65% of employers have encountered job seekers who accept an offer, then don’t show up to their first day of work. Maybe they changed their minds or found a better offer, or perhaps they just got cold feet.
You want to keep new hires excited and invested in your company right up until they show up to work. Activities you use to keep new hires engaged before official onboarding are known as preboarding. A strong preboarding program is the first step in an engaging employee onboarding process that boosts new hires’ enthusiasm, commitment, and retention rates.
We’ve created an engaging preboarding template that you can use to keep new hires connected and excited before their first day of work. Here’s what you need to know to build a preboarding program, and how to get started.
The Purpose of Preboarding
Preboarding helps you keep new hires engaged and excited before their official start date by:
Creating a connection. You want to make sure your new hires actually make it to their first day of work (and beyond). Frequent communication helps you maintain a strong connection with new employees and keeps them excited about your company and their new job.
Setting up an exciting first day. Nobody wants to spend their first day on the job filling out tedious paperwork. You can use preboarding to get some administrative tasks out of the way and pave the way for a more compelling and active first day.
Eliminating jitters. The first day of work can be nerve-wracking if you don’t know what to expect. Preboarding can help emotionally and practically prepare new employees to start work.
Introducing company culture and values. Build the employer-employee relationship from the start by laying the foundation for your companies values. Include activities that help the new hire better understand your company and their place in it.
Preboarding Best Practices
Preboarding is your new hire’s first experience with your company as an employee, so it’s crucial to create a great first impression to start your relationship off right. Here are a few things to keep in mind to build a process that feels welcoming —but not overwhelming.
Position activities as helpful, not mandatory. You probably aren’t paying new employees for the time they spend on pre-first-day activities, so it’s important to frame them properly and keep company expectations low. It’s not homework; it’s an opportunity for the new hire to jumpstart their onboarding. The new hire should still be able to proceed at work even if they show up on the first day without having done any preboarding.
Keep tasks simple. Be careful of the amount of time you’re asking new hires to spend on preboarding. They may still be working elsewhere or have minimal time to devote to pre-employment tasks. Don’t ask them to do actual work, start projects, or complete writing assignments. Keep tasks quick and straightforward: signing up for accounts, filling out short surveys, and other straightforward tasks.
Make it fun! The goal is to keep new hires enthusiastic, so don’t pile on too much boring paperwork, and pepper in exciting activities. For example, some companies send personalized swag like company pins, t-shirts, or mugs to new employees. Others set up trivia games or other ice breaker activities.
Standardize the experience. A well-established preboarding checklist doesn’t just make life easier for HR; it also guarantees that no new hire tasks or experiences slip through the cracks. Since preboarding is a remote experience, even for brick-and-mortar companies, we recommend creating a template that you can customize and send to each employee.
A Walkthrough of the Preboarding Experience
Your preboarding process should look the same for every new employee. We’ve created a template that you can adapt for your organization and use each time you add someone new to your company.
Here are the elements to include:
Start your preboarding flow off with a friendly message that conveys your excitement for the new employee’s imminent arrival. This message is your opportunity to start building an emotional relationship with the new hire.
The welcome message shouldn’t come from HR. The new hire has already spoken with them extensively. Now they need to start connecting with the rest of the company. Have the new hire’s manager write a message, or create a standard one from the CEO or COO.
Introduction to the Company
Build excitement for joining your team by giving new hires a closer look at your company. Share information about the company and the people in it. Zappos’s short video is an excellent example of sharing information about company culture in a fun, inclusive way.
Give your new hire a chance to meet their team. Share written introductions to their new coworkers with pictures and short bios.
You can also include other information about the company, like links to the employee handbook or intranet, a benefits guide, or an organizational chart.
Invitation to Introduce Themselves
After you’ve introduced their coworkers, give your new employee the chance to present themselves as well.
At Eduflow, we ask new hires to create a short video about their background and their interests. We then share this video with their future coworkers to build up some rapport before the first day.
You could also ask new hires to complete a “getting to know you” survey. Alongside basic stats like education and location, make sure you include some questions about their interests, favorite books, movies, or other fun details.
Preboarding is also a great time to collect social media handles. The rest of the team can then follow the new hire on Twitter or LinkedIn and welcome them.
Let your new hires get a jumpstart on the paperwork that typically overwhelms the first day of work.
Ask them to complete as much paperwork as possible ahead of time to avoid wasting time filling out forms on Day 1. Have them read and sign necessary contracts and NDAs, submit work eligibility documents, and complete tax forms and other payroll details. Protect their confidential information during this process by using a secure contract signing service instead of email.
Preboarding is the ideal time for employees to sign up for all the tools they’ll need to do their job. Remote offices, in particular, tend to have a lot of communication and information-sharing tools, all of which require unique logins and passwords.
Make a checklist of essential accounts that new hires can register for, such as Slack, Asana, and Notion. Create your new hire’s company email account and give them access to sign up for the accounts they need. Set up their calendar and start sending them invitations to important first-week meetings.
Anxiety about the first day is expected, so let new hires know what to expect by providing an itinerary of their first day, week, or more.
Let them know what time they should arrive at the office (or log on), what kind of equipment they need, or what paperwork they should bring with them. If they’ll be coming to a physical office, provide directions, parking information, building access codes, or anything else they might need to know to arrive at work comfortably.
Automate Your Preboarding Process with Eduflow
A welcoming preboarding process doesn’t just cut down the chances of new hires ghosting before their first day of work. It’s also the beginning of what will hopefully be a very long relationship between your company and your new employee. You want to hit the right tone to start that relationship off right.
Start with our preboarding template and customize it for your organization with ease. It has all the components you need to create a warm, positive, and informative preboarding experience. That way, you spend less time sending and collecting information and more time building relationships with your new teammates.