OK, seriously, what is pre-boarding?! For most of us, pre-boarding has always been the handshake you get from the hiring manager with the words, “Welcome aboard.” And then, a few weeks later, you start work. That’s it. Nothing fancy, just, "You’re hired." But as most of us are well aware, the job market is changing with lightning speed. Blame it on technology, the Internet or millennials, but we all see the need to change with it. So, what is pre-boarding, and why is pre-boarding so important?
Pre-boarding is simple really. It’s preparing your new hire for their first day at work. Its keeping them interested and engaged before they ever set foot in your door. Its building excitement for their new position. And it’s getting them engaged with the company culture and creating a bond with their new coworkers and managers.
Get New Hires Ready to Jump In, Rather Than Jump Ship
Recently I saw a startling statistic that got me thinking. It said, “Over 30% of new hires are already searching for a new job in their first weeks, or even worse, not showing up for the first day at all.” Wow. All of the work that the hiring manager does, screening, interviewing, getting feedback on their candidates just to have them looking for a “better” job, or worse, never showing up in the first place. So the real importance of pre-boarding is to keep your candidate engaged and interested in the job so they walk in the door that first day, ready to jump in, rather than ready to jump ship.
Use the Technology Available to You
We all know that millennials are an online, plugged in generation, so progressive companies have come up with unique ways to keep their new hires engaged from that “welcome aboard” handshake to that first step in the door. Some companies are using short videos to give valuable information as well as an introduction to the company—a “welcome to the company” video from the company owner, CEO, or president that presents the company's mission statement and business philosophy. Think for a moment. This is someone your new hire is unlikely to meet early on, if ever, so why not have them at least virtually meet that person. Then a company culture video, explaining the dress code, where to park, giving a virtual tour of the office so they know the basics like where the break room and rest rooms are, and maybe most important, how you do lunch. Do most people brown bag it, are there restaurants close by, is there a cafeteria in the building? It might seem trivial to you, but many new hires spend a lot of time stressing about what to wear and what to bring with them. Removing that stress by using a brief, interesting video or video series can make a real difference. These videos can be posted on the company website, or even on YouTube for easy access.
Make It Fun
The important thing is to make it fun and interesting. Some companies have a “scavenger hunt” that the new hire does on their website. If you visit all of these areas, there’s a prize in it for you. Maybe a Starbucks gift card or something like it. Something to get their attention, keep their interest, and get their competitive juices flowing. You also might think about a virtual Q&A session with a manager so they can ask questions or offering a virtual buddy system, connecting them with an experienced team member who they can reach out to w/ questions or concerns.
Remember, the whole point of pre-boarding is to provide your new hire with accurate, positive information about your company before they start to make sure they show up, ready to work that first day. If they are excited about their new company, it will show in their performance.