To avoid attrition within the first few weeks of employment, there has been an increased focus on onboarding to ensure candidates are inducted fully into their roles as well as the company culture. However, the importance of welcoming new hires on board and keeping them engaged begins even earlier.
Pre-boarding covers the period between when a new hire accepts the offer and their first day. For candidates, this can be a “black hole” in the hiring process where they have gone from being a star applicant to someone working out a notice period with their current employer, and often there is minimal contact.
By implementing the following pre-joining engagement activities, you can keep new hires excited about becoming part of your organisation and alleviate any of their concerns to ensure they hit the ground running on their first day.
Sending through online tutorials or company inductions can help new hires get up to speed before they start. While not a mandatory requirement, you can give them the option to learn about their roles and the organisational culture in the weeks leading up to their first day, enabling them to tackle their new position with greater confidence. How-to video tutorials, Code of Conduct training, and housekeeping such as fire and emergency procedures are examples of training that can be sent to new hires in advance. Be mindful that your new recruit may be working out their notice period, so try to ensure that any reading or online tutorials are interesting and relevant to encourage completion prior to their start date.
Similarly, team training days or workshops, whether they be online or face to face (with social distancing, of course, can help a new hire integrate before they start with the company, as well as help to create a sense of belonging and understanding of the team culture in a less formal setting. Just keep in mind that the hire may have limited free time if they are still finishing up employment in their previous role and may not be able to attend these activities during work hours.
Getting to know the team can be a major concern for some new hires, especially when having to meet a lot of people at once on their first day. This is made even more anxious if everything has to be online. Invite your new team member along to any virtual social engagements so they can engage with core colleagues in an informal environment. Not only will they be able to identify familiar faces on their first day, but they can find out more about their new position and the dynamic of the team before they start.
If you don’t have regular team social events, maybe set up some smaller meet and greet online in lieu of a welcome lunch or after-work drinks for your new starter. This might not always be possible, so chat with the candidate about their commitments before making plans.
As part of the hiring process, your new starter will probably have broadly researched your organisation and key employees. A welcome pack helps to fill in some of the blanks in terms of their specific role, the organisation’s structure, and company culture. You could include recent copies of internal communication tools such as company newsletters, as well as up-to-date press releases and organisational and team structures.
Also, plan out their induction week and send through a schedule for their first day – or even the first week – including key meetings, social activities, and contacts. This not only shows the candidate that you are planning for their arrival but also helps them feel included.
Many candidates can be concerned about the logistics of starting a new job. A quick telephone call in the days leading up to their commencement date can be a positive reminder about the basic information such as what time to start work and what to bring on their first day.
Picking up the phone versus sending an email demonstrates a personal touch that will be appreciated by the candidate. It also allows them to ask questions to further allay any remaining fears or concerns. Finishing up with: “We are really looking forward to welcoming you to the team” goes a long way.
A planned and well-implemented process for preboarding new employees can help new hires start off on the right foot, they will hopefully be feeling welcomed, integrated, and at ease before they even start with the company.
For more advice about preboarding or help with your next talent search, contact our team of Sydney-based accounting recruitment specialists.