Blog Post

What is preboarding and how can it impact your new hire retention?

According to a 2019 Robert Half study, 28% of workers say they’ve accepted a job offer, only to back out before the start date. And with EU unemployment rates dropping to a record low of 6.3% in June of 2019, it’s safe to assume this trend is set to increase.

So, as a HR professional, what can you do to prevent more than 1 in every 4 new hires leaving before they’ve even begun?

In short, the solution is preboarding.


What is preboarding?


Put simply, preboarding is the process of engaging your new hires from the moment they accept a job offer, through until their first day on the job. It can alleviate new hires first-day fears, give them the tools to be up & running faster, and ultimately drive engagement and retention.

Additionally, preboarding can help HR professionals anticipate when new hires are at risk of ‘ghosting’ and allow them to intervene with a counter-offer.

Really good preboarding touches on all four core areas of employee onboarding:

4 Cs

4-C_0002_Layer-4

Is your new hire legally ready to represent your company?

Example tasks:

  • Set-up company email and share log-in details
  • Collect tax forms and direct deposit information
  • Ensure company privacy policy is signed


4-C_0000_Layer-3

Does your new hire fully understand the job and what is expected of them?


Example tasks:

  • Send through a full job description document
  • Schedule a ‘half-way-there’ check-in call with a direct manager
  • Share relevant online training modules


4-C_0001_Layer-2

Will your new hire feel like a part of the family when they arrive at the office?

Example tasks:

  • Assign a buddy [outside of their team] and have them reach out early and often
  • Send a swag bag to their home address with a hand-written note
  • Connect them with relevant team members


4-C_0003_Layer-1

Can your new hire navigate the spoken AND unspoken aspects of your company culture?

Example tasks:

  • Share the company handbook and benefit guide
  • Take them on a digital tour of your office
  • Put together a ‘first-day’ email with tips on parking, dress code and good lunch spots



How is preboarding different from onboarding?


We see preboarding as an essential part of a greater onboarding puzzle. Onboarding is the whole picture - preboarding is just one piece:






How can preboarding help boost employee retention before day 1?

 

44% of workers who backed out of a job offer before day 1, did so because they received a ‘better offer from another company’.

What a ‘better offer’ looks like, we can’t be sure, but we do know that higher salaries are only the 4th most important factor that employees look for in a new job. Much more important are company culture, personal value fit and the need for a new challenge.

Preboarding lets your new hire ‘peek behind the curtain’, to see how your company works and dissuade any pre-start fears they may have. Perhaps most importantly for HR departments though, it creates more touch-points with your new hire so you can anticipate and counter-act drop-off.

Here are 2 real-life situations preboarding can help you avoid:

  • Your new hire accepts another position with a competitor because they were offered more flexibility in their working hours. Your company is happy to accommodate this kind of flexibility, but you never had the chance to negotiate because you weren’t in contact with your new hire.
  • Your new hire hears from a former colleague that your company has a poor reputation as an employer and decides not to show up on Day 1. You’ve improved your processes in a big way and had an AMAZING first week planned, but your new hire (now ex-hire) will never experience this because you didn’t take the time to ‘woo’ them before Day 1. 

Ultimately, preboarding puts some of the control back in the hands of HR departments and, as a part of a larger Onboarding strategy, can help boost new hire retention by up to 82%!



QMARK

The Takeaway


A well rounded preboarding experience will set your new hire up for success. As part of a larger onboarding programme, it can help to boost retention, drive engagement and ensure that your valuable recruitment efforts aren’t in vain.



Want to know more about preboarding and how it fits into a wider onboarding strategy? Download our free 'Future of Work' whitepaper.

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