All About Pre-boarding

July 30, 2018

Attracting today’s top talent can be hard. Even when you think you have someone locked down and hired, there is a whole other world of other organizations and recruiters also looking to do the exact same thing. You’ve already spent time and effort attracting talented candidates for your organization; the last thing you want would be to lose them and miss out on an opportunity. Thus, it is imperative to make sure that your new hires stick with your company, rather than accept another offer.

A pre-boarding and onboarding process that is communicative and engaging can have a big impact on maintaining new hires and benefiting your organization.

This could include regular check-ins and communication and activities that facilitate collaboration and interaction with team members, assimilation into the organizational culture, and maintain new hires’ interest in their role and impact on the organization.


But first: how is pre-boarding different from your onboarding process?

The goal of pre-boarding is to make your new hires feel welcomed and introduce them to the team and culture they’ll be joining soon. Pre-boarding starts the moment an employee signs an offer to your organization and continues up until their first day at work. During this time, you must maintain communication with your new hires, and keep them engaged. Like any fire, a new employee’s spark can easily burn out without any fuel to keep it going. It is very easy to forget about pre-boarding, and focus on onboarding and the employees you currently have. However, it is important to remember the employees that aren’t even there yet, as they will be feeding into your organization and supplying new knowledge, skills, and productivity to your organization.

Pre-boarding also provides your organization with the opportunity to start teaching your new hires the mission, values and culture of your organization, as well as introduce them to their future workplace and teammates. Providing these opportunities for support and helping them feel like they are already part of the organization is just one way to keep your new hires excited, engaged and ready for onboarding.


Lastly, pre-boarding allows you to get some of the onboarding work done beforehand so that your new hires can focus on getting acclimated to their new workplace. Teaching them the ropes and celebrating their hiring isn’t possible when they have to fill out forms and study the employee handbook. Pre-boarding allows you to take out the work before they start the actual work. 


So what should you include in your pre-boarding process?

  1. Send your new hires a customized welcome email and make sure they know to reach out if they have any questions.
  2. Have them complete their employee profile ahead of time and give them resources to start introducing them to the work environment.
  3. Provide short videos or readings to help get them acclimated to the organizational culture in a fun, engaging way.
  4. Have them complete their paperwork ahead of time through an online, automated process, which will save everyone time, and allow for more engaging activities.
  5. Provide your employee handbook and benefits information ahead of time.
  6. Provide the new hire’s first-day schedule so they feel comfortable and prepared and have something to look forward to.


Once again, it is important not to forget the importance of pre-boarding in your employee experience. According to the 2017 Strategic Onboarding Survey by HR Daily Advisor and SilkRoad, 45% of participants have pre-boarding activities to engage a new hire before he or she even shows up to work.  Adding activities and strengthening your pre-boarding process can benefit your organization by:

  1. Reducing the Number of No Shows: By keeping new hires engaged before they start work, you can keep them excited for their first day and set a precedent for how they will contribute to the organization.
  2. Increasing Productivity: By reducing the time spent on paperwork and acclimating your new hires to the organizational environment ahead of time, you can make employees productive starting their very first day.
  3. Helping New Hires Fit into the Organizational Culture: Pre-boarding helps prepare the employee for their first day by providing them with the advantage of already knowing the team and culture. Providing videos, packets, packages to welcome employee and highlighting the culture can help employees feel prepared before their first day and help them adapt quickly to their new work environment.
  4. Maintain Excitement and Reduce Fear and Anxiety: Pre-boarding activities and constant communication with new hires can keep them feeling excited, needed and valued. It can also help them remove excess pressure and anxiety by allowing them to feel prepared. This way, they can feel safe, comfortable and ready for work going into their first day.


Pre-boarding helps mitigate some of the doubt involved in the hiring and onboarding process. Keeping new hires engaged and making them feel like they are a part of the organization will keep them from doubting their decision and potentially looking elsewhere. A lack of communication can create uncertainty and nervousness, which may lead them to seek out a better offer elsewhere. By adding pre-boarding activities and engaging with your new hires, you can help them confirm that they made the right decision in joining your organization. When employees feel supported, excited and interested in the work they do, they perform better and produce higher quality work. So, next time you hire some new employees, rather than just sit and wait for their first day to arrive, continue to communicate with them and keep them engaged. This will smooth the introduction process and make sure that everyone benefits from the very first day at work.