Preboarding Bridges The Gap In Contact
It has been said that the first impression is the last impression. Your top candidate has accepted the offer, you’ve agreed to a start date, now what? We believe employee retention begins during this crucial downtime: when their commitment to joining your company is still fresh. They’re excited. You’re excited. Still, Day 1 is a way’s off. We can also tell you that this is exactly when a change of heart occurs or a counteroffer from their current employer surfaces. What can employers do to jumpstart a new hire’s loyalty? Create a pro-active onboarding strategy that starts with “preboarding” which will engage them early and on an ongoing basis up until their start date. The tone throughout the communications should be “easy and exciting.”
Here are ideas and suggestions that we’ve pooled from our experiences, clients and some of the top U.S. workplaces on how to make onboarding an event to celebrate.
Send new hires an electronic welcome packet immediately. We suggest deploying this welcome kit the same day the offer is accepted.
- Welcome letter from the CEO
- HR Onboarding checklist: emergency information, benefits information and enrollment, payroll and direct deposit forms
- Corportate literature: company background, media mentions, and recent press releases
- Employee handbook, or equivalent
- “About Me” questionnaire to share with their new department
- Hyperlinks to follow the company on social media. Get them started on being a brand ambassador! Add templated posts to share the job move with their online network, for example: “I’m excited to join the Acme, Inc. team as their newest Senior Software Engineer!”
Always Be Recruiting
While the new hire is still at their current company, it’s a good time to have a conversation about referrals. Though, the key is, not to make it about referrals. Instead, engage them in a conversation about their favorite co-workers. Gather names. Remember, their friends and colleagues will want to know how the new job is going. Encourage the new hire to follow up. A happy new hire will be glad to help spread the word about your employer brand.
Onboarding Checklist For The Hiring Manager
Concurrently, preparation from the the department is required, and the hiring manager should take point on this. Research from Google showed that reminding the hiring manager to prepare for Day 1 gets new hires up to speed 25% faster.
In the article “Extreme Onboarding,” HR expert Dr. John Sullivan mentions essential tasks for the hiring manager are:
- Discuss role and responsibilities
- Match a peer to mentor the new hire
- Support the new hire in building a social network
- Set up onboarding check-in monthly for the first six months
- Encourage open dialogue
In the 2015 book, Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Block, Google revealed that a simple reminder email to the hiring manager reduced the new hire’s time to productivity by a full month. Also, hands-on involvement with the new hire’s onboarding allows the hiring manager to make a positive impact from the get-go. Structured preboarding programs can also improve retention. Succeed@IBM found that new hires who went through pre-hire activities were 80% less likely to leave during their first year.
The Night Before Starting
Finally, the hiring manager can make a phone call to the new hire as a last step. This is standard practice for eyewear brand Warby Parker to ensure new hires know “where to go and when to show up.” Again, this drives home the welcome message. Picking up that phone is a gesture that conveys, “I’m here to personally ensure that you succeed.”
The new hire’s first day should be really well thought out. They arrive full of excitement, they should leave in the same state of the mind. Take a note from AirBNB: A great host makes it seem like they’ve been expecting their guest.
Set-up an environment that is welcoming and easy to navigate:
- A functioning computer (already connected to the network!) and desk stocked with useful office supplies
- A “Day 1 Survival Kit” including company swag like coffee mug, journal, t-shirt and a box of mints. In a humorous gesture, you can add two Tylenols. We’ll leave that to your discretion–this could be on-point with your company culture or not!
- An onboarding checklist that lays out what to expect for Day 1, Week 1 and following milestones
- Take them to lunch at a place they will enjoy (this is where the About Me survey can provide hints)
- Meet with their dedicated mentor to help bootstrap for the first couple of days. Schedule time for an ongoing interaction.
- Very Important: Let the new hire know they can ask questions and receive further guidance at any time. For every concern, follow through with immediacy.
A strong onboarding process contributes to a new hire’s productivity and retention. It’s a candidate’s market where employees change jobs every 2-3 years on average. High demand IT professionals, like Developers, have six job offers at any given time. The reality is the day we sign a new employee is when we begin to lose them. Preboarding provides a platform for the new hire to immediately jump in, rapidly build relationships and experience their new work culture and community–and through that, they’ll see all the reasons to stay.
Extreme Onboarding: How to WOW Your New Hires Rather Than Numb Them by Dr. John Sullivan