What Is Pre-Boarding And Why Is It Crucial To Remain Competitive? (Including 6 Creative Ideas)

In today’s tight labour market, pre-boarding is more important than ever to ensure loyalty and longevity of new hires. The most talented professionals are often in high demand, and companies that deliver an effective and supportive pre-boarding experience will have a competitive edge over other companies that do not offer this.

Pre-boarding employees is essential for the workforce of today, who want to feel like a valued member of the team right from the get-go.

What is pre-boarding? A definition

Pre-boarding is the process of getting new hires acclimated to their new role and company before their first day. It’s a chance for you to welcome your new recruit, make a great first impression and set the tone for their entire tenure at your company.

Opening pre-boarding welcome package from new company

What is the difference between pre-boarding and onboarding?

Although both pre-boarding and onboarding are concerned with introducing and initiating a new employee into the company culture, there are key differences:

  1. Pre-boarding happens before a new hire starts work, during the pre-employment period.
  2. Onboarding starts on the new employee’s first day, with an introduction taking place after they have started work.
  3. The aim of pre-boarding is to prepare someone for their new adventure at your company. This gives them an idea of what to expect with their new job and get a feel for the company culture— all before their first day of work. It’s about helping someone feel ready and excited for their first day in a new environment.
  4. Onboarding helps employees integrate into the company culture and understand how they fit into it—the “after” portion of things.

Why is pre-boarding important?

The time after a job offer has been made but before the start date is a crucial time. Sometimes referred to as the “danger zone”, it’s not uncommon for counteroffers, doubts and worries to make new hires drop out before the start date.

Pre-boarding Safe zone vs Danger zone

During this transitional time between jobs, many of us may still be considering all our options. Change can be overwhelming and psychologically speaking, as humans we have an innate aversion to ‘the unknown’. Moving organisations can bring feelings of uncertainty, unpredictability, unfamiliarity and ultimately discomfort, which can skew our decision-making.

We all know how nerve-wrecking starting a new job can be. Pre-boarding practices that encompass open, two-way communication, before the employee has even started can alleviate any anxieties. Moreover, if the pre-boarding process is authentic and personal it can transform any feelings of anxiety into excitement. This is not only great for new people joining the company, but for the organisation as a whole.

Giving fist bump after signing contract

9 steps to implement an effective process

Optimising your pre-boarding process will benefit your organisation in several ways:

1. Increased employee engagement and retention

Getting the relationship between employee and employer off to the best possible start will help foster a long and rewarding relationship, and will reduce staff turn-over rates

2. Improved first day experiences

Effective employee pre-boarding can minimise ‘teething’ issues and facilitate a smooth integration into the company. It ensures new hires are fully prepared to take advantage of all the resources and training you have to offer.

3. Increased productivity

Pre-boarding will strengthen your formal onboarding program and help new staff settle in and feel confident in their new role. Effective pre-boarding can reduce any knowledge gaps and get employees fulfilling their roles faster and more efficiently.

4. Improved team-working and staff motivation

A good pre-boarding program will help new hires feel like they’re part of the team before they even start, and helps to foster a sense of community within the organisation. This boosts morale and loyalty not just for new starters, but also for your existing employees.

5. Enhanced employer brand

How companies treat their staff can be a big pull factor for prospective employees nowadays. With many companies taking staff wellbeing more seriously, those that are not demonstrating their commitment to employee satisfaction risk appearing less attractive places to work at.

Received a Videotape personal video message during pre-boarding before a new job

5 advantages of a great pre-boarding process

If you want to set your new hires up for success, you need to have an effective pre-boarding process in place. Here are a few tips on how to do that:

1. Start the pre-boarding process early

The sooner you start the pre-boarding process, the better. This way, new hires have more time to adjust to the idea of starting a new job and they can start getting excited about it.

2. Send out information packs

Rather than bombarding new starters with tons of information on their first day, sending out information packs during the pre-boarding phase allows starters to absorb the information in their own time. These packs should include everything a new hire will need to know before their first day, such as:

  • The company’s history
  • The company’s mission and values
  • An overview of the team they’ll be working with, including a short Videotape video to provide them with a warm welcome
  • Their job description
  • A schedule of their first week

3. Make sure your pre-boarding programme is aligned with the brand & values of company

The purpose of pre-boarding is to give new recruits a feel of what your organisation is all about. Gaining a deeper insight into the organisation will eliminate any unknowns and worries.

4. Set up a buddy system

Pairing new hires with a “buddy” is a great way to help them feel comfortable and welcome at their new company. Buddies can show new hires around the office, introduce them to other employees, and answer any questions they have.

5. Plan an Introduction/ Orientation Day

Traditionally taking place on the employees’ first day, this is when they get a tour of the office, to meet their co-workers, and learn more about their job. Scheduling an introduction or orientation day during the pre-boarding process can reduce first day nerves, as the new starter will already be familiar with their new working environment.

6. Make sure it’s personalized

Personalisation shows new hires you care and value them as an individual. This will make your company stand out and immediately builds that employee-employer rapport. This can be done by taking into account their individual needs and preferences. For example, if a new hire is coming from a different country, you might want to provide them with information about the local area.

7. Use technology

In today’s post-covid world where many people now work remotely, traditional office spaces are being used less and less. Many companies have made use of technology in light of the pandemic to keep the team working well together and ensure a cohesive and happy workforce.

For example, you could use a tool like Greenhouse to automate the sending of information packs. Or you can use a tool like 15Five to help new hires get acclimated to your company culture. To make your new hire feel at home already before their first day, you can use a tool such as Videotape to create very easily a warm welcome for them.

8. Get feedback

After your new hire’s first week, be sure to get their feedback on the pre-boarding process. This will help you fine-tune your process and make improvements for future new hires.

9. Keep it light, fun and positive

You want to give new hires a good first impression of your company, so they feel excited about joining the team rather than anxious or stressed. A study by HCI found that 58% of organisations focus their employee onboarding on processes & paperwork, and a third reported that their onboarding experience was informal, inconsistent or reactive. The focus of pre-boarding should be on the people not the paperwork, avoiding administrative ‘tick box’ procedures. A way to turn each pre-boarding into a personal experience is by creating a personal video for your new hires.

Two girlfriends watching a Videotape outside

6 creative ideas for making new hires feel welcome in a fun & personalized way

Traditional onboarding processes have involved a lot of information transmitted to new employees, often leaving them bewildered with an overload of information. To avoid overwhelming new hires, aim to make it a two-way process by interacting and engaging with new recruits in a fun and creative way.

Personalised pre-boarding sends a strong signal to candidates that your company is invested in its people and committed to providing a great experience for all employees – not just the ones who are already on board.

1. Personalised gifts

Sending new hires a personalised gift is a great way to make them feel welcome and appreciated. This doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive—a simple mug with their name on it will do the trick. Or, you could send them a welcome basket filled with items from your city or state.

2. Videos

Videos are a great way to add some personality to your pre-boarding process. You could create a short video that includes all of the team members saying hi to the new hire. Or, you could have new hires make a video about themselves as a way to get to know them better. An easy way to do this is by using Videotape, which you can try now for free.

3.  Planning socials

The people you work with have a massive impact on your job satisfaction. Giving new recruits the opportunity to connect with their future colleagues in a welcoming environment will lay the foundations for a unified team.

Incorporating food is a great way to make new hires feel welcome (who doesn’t love food?). You could organise a special lunch where everyone can get to know each other.

Team building activities are becoming increasingly popular in forward thinking companies. Why not organise a fun day, such as an Escape Room to break the ice and get the team acquainted with one another.

4. Company merchandise

Giving new hires some company merchandise is a great way to get them excited about their new job. This could include items like t-shirts, pens, or notebooks with your company’s logo on them. Or, you could go above and beyond and give new hires something really unique, like an engraved watch or a custom-made piece of jewellery.

5. A warm welcome

Giving new hires a warm welcome before they have even stepped foot in the company will ensure they feel comfortable. This could include organising a meet-up with some team members to introduce everyone. Or, you could go above and beyond and throw them a Welcome Party complete with food, drinks, and games. Or for something less time consuming and super easy to coordinate remotely, use Videotape to ensure your new hire receives good energy from your company immediately.

6. A personal touch

One of the best ways to make sure your pre-boarding process is successful is by adding a personal touch. This could be something as simple as giving new hires a call to introduce yourself, or creating a short personalized Videotape video. Or, you could go above and beyond and send them a care package filled with their favorite things. Regardless of what you do, the important thing is that you take the time to connect with new hires on a personal level.

Make new people feel part of the team instantly

Final thoughts: a checklist for pre-boarding new hires

Knowing what is pre-boarding and how to pre-board new staff effectively gives you an unmissable opportunity to set the tone for your new employees’ time at your company. Make sure you:

  • Start communication with new hires as soon as possible
  • Align pre-boarding with the brand & values of the company
  • Give new hires further details about what their role will involve
  • Recommend some reading or videos to minimize any knowledge gaps
  • Arrange a fun way to meet new colleagues, by planning a social activity and making a welcome video with Videotape
  • Ensure new hires have someone from the company (like a ‘buddy’) they can raise any questions or concerns with
  • Go the extra mile to show them you care, through personalization and creativity

By following this checklist, you can be sure that your new hires will have the best possible start to their time at your company. So, what are you waiting for? Get pre-boarding today!

Ready to create a personalized pre-boarding experience?

Videotape is the easiest way to create and send welcome videos for new hires! Try it now for free.