Organisations are constantly searching for new ways to boost employee engagement. Employee engagement can be linked to everything from productivity, profitability and stronger talent retention. However, employee engagement is often overlooked until after the employee starts their first day in the organization. 75% of candidates say that their onboarding experience with a company is the first part of their broader employee experience with that company. This means candidates start evaluating the organisation from the moment they begin their application.
Preboarding new hires begins as soon as someone accepts a job offer up until they walk in the door on their first day. It is a crucial step in the onboarding process and can make a huge difference in helping employees prepare for their new role. It is an opportunity to showcase company culture to new employees. Great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%.
During preboarding it is particularly important how the organisation communicates with the new employee. 40% of candidates say they have experienced a lack of communication between when they accept their job offer and their first day of work.
To avoid this setback and turn a new candidate into an engaged employee, the channel of communication needs to be ongoing. Organisations should have a formal process in place for communication and interactions between the time of hire and the start date. Preboarding introduces employees to the company culture and gives them the opportunity to acquire some knowledge and skills before their first day, which leads to increased productivity.
What are some potential steps of a Preboarding program?
Give new hires access to the company app, platform or portal
For organisations that have a digital system in place for employees, it is helpful to provide new hires access to the platform or app before their first day. This will give them a chance to get used to the platform, it could also be an opportunity to let them complete any required training than can be done remotely through the system before they begin their new role. It gives employers the opportunity to share relevant company information with the candidates. When a candidate logs into the platform they can receive access to a variety of content that can prepare them for their new role, including first day information, a copy of the employee handbook and more.
Create an open channel of communication with new candidates
All new hires should have some form of communication from the organisation before their first day, this could be in the form of push notifications reminding them what time to arrive, what to bring with them and so on. Creating this channel of communication can set the stage for a new candidate to begin building a strong relationship with their employer even before they start working. Research has shown that the majority of candidates felt that receiving communications before their first day helped them feel more productive and prepared, while 49.5% did not receive any sort of communication leaving them with a poor impression.
Keep it concise and relevant
New employees shouldn’t be overloaded with information. Preboarding information can be customised to include things only relevant to new hires job roles or work groups. Information can be summarised and everything can be compiled into an easily accessible digital platform that new hires should have access too. The platform should be available to employees off site and on their preferred method of delivery – desktop or mobile.
What are the benefits of Preboarding?
It sets expectations
Providing information about the role before employees set into their first days ensures that they start off on the right foot. The more that they learn about their role and responsibilities, the more driven, engaged and productive they will be on the job. Setting clear expectations from the start also helps prevent confusion later down the road.
It saves time and money
Many organisations invest in technology solutions to help with their preboarding & onboarding. These solutions can automate much of the administration and training tasks required to be done by the employees before they start. This can save time by removing the need for long induction training days when it can all be done from home during the preboarding process. It can free up time for management and avoid the costly consequences of failed paper-based training & assessment.
It makes organisations smarter
Many digital solutions allow management to track onboarding tasks and training in real time. This allows them the ability to generate reports, verify if training has been completed and assess compliance ratings. This can aid in better understanding of employees needs so measures can be taken to better meet them.
It kick-starts employee experience
A great employee experience begins with preboarding and extends throughout the employee life-cycle. When the employee experience is showcased through preboarding it builds excitement for them to begin. It enables them to start their first day feeling driven and motivated for their role.
It often takes several months for a new employee to reach full productivity. An effective preboarding process gives the new hire a basic understanding of the business, the skills required to fulfill their role and a sense of the organisations internal culture. This all aids in shortening the time in which it takes for new employees to get up and running. Therefore, a good preboarding system is an investment that can pay off quickly.