We’ve all heard preboarding announcements many times over while waiting patiently to board a flight. If you are at all like me you’ve probably secretly thought to yourself “if I could only find a way to sneak into the preboarding line I could get comfortable before the rush of general boarding (and I could also make sure my bag fit in the overhead compartment!)”.
The premise behind an employee onboarding concept called preboarding is not all that different. The goal of employee preboarding as it relates to new employees is simple – make your new employees as comfortable and productive as possible – even before their first day of work. Preboarding refers to that span of time between a candidate accepting your job offer and their official first day of work. It is something we can all likely relate to thinking back to when we were in the new hire’s shoes. That time when we felt nervous, excited or maybe even experienced a touch of “buyer’s remorse”, wondering if we made the right decision?
You’ve invested so much time and effort attracting your new employee, the goal of an effective preboarding program is to help you:
- Create the desired “first impression”,
- Ease the employee’s socialization into your organization,
- Accelerate your new hire’s time-to-productivity.
Using Internet and Social Technologies to Create an Effective Preboarding Experience
|With the advent of rich media and social technologies it is now possible to create engaging, personalized online experiences. Every organization has its own unique culture, values, acronyms and way of doing things.|
As such, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to preboarding. However, given the flexibility and configurability of the next generation of workforce management applications, it is now much easier to create a tailored new hire experience that embodies your organization. In addition, you can drive efficiency by ensuring your unique new hire processes (i.e. compliance and transactional) are kick-started as part of your preboarding program.
Things to Consider When Crafting a Preboarding Experience
Create The Desired First Impression
Get your story across using an effective blend of welcoming and interactive experiences, for example:
- Welcome email, notifications and preboarding hub personalized to the new employee,
- CEO/Senior Leader WebOutTM video welcoming the employee to the company,
- Pictures of colleagues, personalized messages, videos, links to employee profiles,
- Ability for new employee to buzz or chat with colleagues & assigned mentors in real-time to start fostering connections.
Introduce the Company through its People
Unfortunately, we all likely remember an experience spending our initial days at a new job pouring over binders of information, almost as engaging as watching paint dry. Using technology, you can craft a much more engaging and consistent experience using tools like:
- Dynamic Org Chart with links to personal profiles,
- New Hire Community comprised of fellow “newbies” as well as experienced employees available to answer questions,
- Engaging Learning Experiences driven through:
- Personalized information (i.e. role, department, location),
- Topics introduced and explained by people using videos, conversation, real-time chat,
- Compelling, interactive content (i.e. multimedia Product Videos, wikis explaining company lingo).
Accelerated Time to Productivity
A preboarding program can start impacting this key metric even before the employee’s first day on the job through items like:
- List of suggested activities before employee’s first day (e.g. complete their personal profile, browse work communities, review benefits information),
- Automated new hire processes complete with linkages to ATS, payroll, benefits, IT and related systems,
- New hire survey enabling employee to submit required personal and payroll related information via integrated self-service processes.
Does it work?
Our experience shows new employees are highly motivated to participate in an effective preboarding experience. For example, DeVry Inc. uses a sophisticated online preboarding solution to support its goal of being an employer of choice in the educational services industry. Since launch, they are averaging over 75% of their eligible employees voluntarily accessing the preboarding solution.
Technology can also be leveraged to deploy a metric-based approach to evaluating the effectiveness of your preboarding program:
- Automated Engagement Surveys throughout preboarding and onboarding phase to determine trends. Are employees as engaged, less engaged or more engaged from initial acceptance of the job through their first year of employment?
- Real-Time HR Metrics Dashboards measuring new hire performance and turnover trends.
- Monitor HR Effectiveness by examining new hire process efficiency.
As with other aspects of HR technology, for your preboarding solution to achieve the desired results, it needs to be a component of a larger onboarding strategy.
Good luck crafting your own engaging preboarding experiences. Now if only we could find a way to improve those nasty airport line-ups!
Cary Schuler, CEO, cfactor Works Inc. @CarySchuler