69% of new employees are more likely to stay with the company for at least three years if they received proper onboarding. However, many companies do not have a conscious, well-developed onboarding process and very few organizations take the effort to regularly contact and educate new joiners even before they start to work. Why is it important and how can a pre- and onboarding process be effective and successful? Learn more about this in our new blog post!

Many HR professionals agree that early impressions and experiences during a new joiners’ first few weeks have a major impact on long-term engagement and productivity. Based on international statistics, almost a quarter of employees leave within the first 45 days of employment, because of the lack of peer or managerial support, clear instructions and goals, or simply had absolutely different thoughts on how their new role will look like on an operational level. It’s no coincidence then, that more and more companies are putting a bigger emphasis on efficient onboarding processes, and we are also starting to get familiar with pre-boarding, which is just as important to employee retention as its’ much more well-known ‘big brother’. And we will show you why. 

Why do pre- and onboarding matter? 

Before sharing some best practices and hints on how to design your pre- and onboarding process, we collected some facts and figures on why this topic is important, and dedicating time and resources should be in the interest of the whole organization: 

Despite the popularity of the topic and the statistics which speak for themselves, 35% of the companies do not have a structured onboarding program, and more than half of the organizations focus their onboarding program on process and paperwork, which is not enough to support your new joiners to become engaged, competent and motivated colleagues on the long run. On top of that, even fewer companies take care of educating and regularly keeping in touch with new employees before their first day. 

So how could you support the integration of new colleagues, especially in the midst of the pandemic, when everything is changing day by day, and it’s more likely than ever that the whole process will be managed remotely? 

Engagement starts with the first ‘handshake’ 

A typical recruitment process ends with sending out and accepting an offer. Then many companies become silent until the recruit’s first working day, which can lead to the inconvenient situation, that the hired candidate finds another position and rejects your job offer. However, this issue can be easily prevented by keeping in touch with the new colleague and making them feel that you are preparing for their arrival. The weeks before starting a new job are the perfect time for the employee to get to know the company, learn about their position and responsibilities, and the majority of the paperwork can be done as well. This will make it easier for the employee to arrive well-prepared and more confidently on their first day, and they can already concentrate on other important information without being overwhelmed and flooded with tasks which could have been done before their arrival as well. Did you know that companies with pre-boarding in place are 11% more likely to retain their first-year employees than those without? 

So the aim of of pre-boarding is to familiarize our company’s culture with the new joiner and prepare the field for an effective and pleasurable first week. Here are some best practices which can help you to build up your process: 

  1. Communicating your company values: sharing your vision, mission, and goals, and transparently communicating rules and expectations help new colleagues to understand your organizational culture and familiarize themselves with the new environment faster. Try to spice things up with videos and infographics to grab people’s attention and try not to overwhelm them with heavy texts and manuals.
  2. Mutual informal introduction: if meeting in person is an option, provide an opportunity to the new colleague to meet the team in an informal setting, such as having lunch together or sharing a beer after working hours. If this is not possible – and nowadays this is the basic setting -, invite them for an online event, or share videos where teammates are introducing themselves. You can also ask the new employee to prepare a brief intro video that can be shared with the team (here is a great example of how it can look like).
  3. Administrative tasks: one of the most boring, time-consuming, but necessary parts of starting at a new company is administration. Pre-boarding can be an excellent time to get the paperwork out of the way, so the first day can be focused around more exciting things, not to mention that this way your new colleague will have time to collect all the information at their own pace. 
  4. Preparing for the first day: make sure that your pre-boarding contains all the information that your recruit needs, such as when to arrive, what tasks they will have, and with whom they will meet. If the new colleague will start remotely, plan their day by sending out calendar invites a few days before they start. This can help to reduce anxiety and uncertainty.
  5. A little kindness: if you have the budget, sending out a personalized gift package (pen, booklet, mobile case, or any other creative swag) will already make them feel valued and they will know that you are preparing for their arrival.  
  6. Ask for feedback: the importance of employee empowerment can’t be overstated and worth showing from the beginning, that it has a place in your organization’s culture. By asking for feedback about the pre-boarding experience (e.g. how smooth was the process, do they have any development ideas) you are not only collecting important thoughts on how to improve the experience, but the new joiner will feel valued and more likely to share honest insights later on as well.  

Experience, not a list of to-dos

When planning the pre-boarding journey, you should not forget that the main goal is to keep the new joiner ‘warm’, curious, interested, and start to build a strong relationship. Aim to provide diverse and colorful content (videos, animations, infographics, easily digestible employee handbooks, understandable instructions), but be careful not to burden the colleague with unnecessary information. If you would like to build a transparent, unified, and measurable process, using a software might come in handy. It not only helps to manage the whole flow, but these tools are developed to provide a personalized and journey-like experience for the new colleague while taking off a massive administrative burden from the company’s shoulder. 

Do not stop there!

These hints and best practices can help your newcomer to start their first day at the company motivated and equipped with the right information. At the same time, it is important that after a successful pre-boarding, you should continue the integration process with onboarding. 

Blue Colibri offers numerous opportunities to increase employee engagement, whether it’s coordinating pre-entry activities, managing first-month interactions, or staying in regular and active contact with colleagues in the online environment. Having many years of experience in the field of HR and more than 55 satisfied customers, the Blue Colibri team is ready to support you in creating your own journey!