The first week in a new job is when 33% of new employees decide whether to stay or go. Ensuring new hires feel welcomed, effective and clear about their expectations is vital to retention. And, of course, you’ll be keen to get them up to performance quickly so they can effectively do the job you hired them for.
We’ve been talking onboarding with a lot of customers recently. But we’d like to roll back to an earlier idea: pre-boarding. Starting the process earlier, before new hires step through the door, gets them further along that crucial company learning curve. This helps them perform their best more quickly – and, just as importantly, makes them feel especially excited about and welcomed to their new work home.
In this article, we show you how to simply package up key materials into a stylized digital package and deliver it to new hires’ inboxes – as soon as they say yes!
Help that first day go with a bang
The dreaded first day at a new place of work: a mix of exciting, unnerving, and just weird. Weird, in that you don’t quite know what to do yet and feel a bit useless. Weird, in that you might spend most of the day reading stuff about the company and meeting people, slightly struggling to get what they do and how they all fit together into a big picture.
Or maybe you’re just chucked in at the deep end to find your own way (good if you’re a lifeguard, not so good if you’re a boat inspector)? There’s some merit in getting stuck in, of course. But surely there’s a way to balance out the “getting it” bit with the “doing it” bit, so your first week is actually useful for everyone.
According to this article on Talent Management and HR,
One third (33 percent) of employees knew whether they would stay with their company long-term after their first week.
Roll back a week or so
Imagine if some fantastically designed welcome materials had landed in your inbox a week or so before you started your job, to boost your confidence and understanding?
Pre-boarding materials can often be curated from materials and stories you already have in-house and on your company website. Pull them together into a slick digital package, and you can let new hires:
- Meet their team via videos or bios
- Get the lowdown on what the company and team do
- Download a plan for their first day and week
- Ask questions directly to their team or manager
- Start some of the onboarding training around processes
- Sign up to Slack or other in-house communication channels to get reading and talking to people ahead of the game
- Get to grips with the customer base for client-facing roles
- And much more
Need inspiration? Here’s our Elucidat pre-boarding example:
Here’s a pre-boarding example we use at Elucidat pic.twitter.com/r5669x2GbT
— Elucidat (@elucidat) April 27, 2017
Key tips to make pre-boarding work for you and your new hires
Pre-boarding materials are a huge opportunity to make a positive impression on those important new recruits. They give a sense of brand and team to connect with and feel part of. Friendliness and clarity of information will pay dividends over formality.
Finding a friendly/helpful face or two really matters to helping people make a connection to their workplace. Tap into real stories from people who work in the company or team, about what work is like and what they do to help paint a warm and “human” picture of the company.
While there’s lots of company info that everyone needs to know, the temptation to make onboarding and pre-boarding materials generic can often kill off the welcoming vibe needed to make new hires feel important and part of the picture.
Use your pre-boarding opportunity to drop in some targeted content around that person’s team or work location, and ensure there’s space for them to ask you questions and make comments. Since it’s their new job as much as your new employee, let them have a say and a sway on how it works – using the experience you’ve hired them for. You’ll see what they enter in your Analytics feed.
Being super clear and setting expectations around someone’s role and what they can expect to happen on day one or week one helps set the right foundations, and will likely help accelerate getting employees up to the required performance level. It also gives each new hire a chance to comment and ask questions, and be part of their own onboarding process.
In our example, we ask new hires to complete a few reading tasks before starting, to get the process underway.
Final thought: Pre-board = pre-hire?
As a final thought, what’s stopping you from using pre-boarding materials, pre-hire? Finding the right talent takes effort; keeping the right talent is, in part, reliant on that person “fitting in.” So, show off the culture, history, day in the life of, benefits, etc. upfront to paint a truthful yet enticing picture of your organization. You’ll hook in the right talent interest from the beginning.
Want advice and examples around how to write engaging digital copy? Check out our Masterclass on the matter.
You might also find Kineo’s Onboarding Best Practice Guide useful (also written by our Kirstie Greany).