Employee preboarding: The missed opportunity

Employee preboarding: The missed opportunity

I spoke to a CHRO recently and she told me about their employee preboarding process in these terms: “We don’t want to get the fish on land just to leave it there for dead. That is how I feel about our employee preboarding process like it is today”.

Overoptimizing the hiring process and underoptimizing the preboarding process? 

Recruiters often sell the job to the candidates and they feel highly valued and engaged after they have signed the contract, only to feel like a commodity after contracts are signed because there was a lack of communication and follow-up.

This over-optimization is also shown in another statistic you can check in your own company; how many talent acquisition/recruiters work for every employee experience and people operations at your company? Just like it does not make sense to only have salespeople and without a customer team, it does not make sense to just get people in without ensuring that they are set up for success. In sales language, it leads to customer churn, in people operation/human capital terms it leads to employee turnover.

If employees do not feel that their expectations meet reality, they are likely to lose interest quickly. When surveyed, 61% of new hires state that they do not think their new job lives up to their expectations and feel cheated.  1

When your company has invested so much in hiring a new employee, it only makes sense to not leave them feeling like dead fish after contracts are signed.

However, it’s strange that so few companies stand out from the crowd and invest more in the employee preboarding experience.

Take the employee perspective

In the period leading up to the first day, it’s natural for employees to be a little anxious and nervous, perhaps even a little doubtful. Same as the first day of school. Everyone wants to feel like they’re joining a workplace that supports them and a company that looks forward to supporting them.

As part of these pre-first day jitters, employees create their own set of expectations for the new role. They might search online to learn about the company’s staff and perhaps even make contact with future colleagues. The days and weeks leading up to the first day is powerful. It’s a time when we forge ideas about how the new job will be and try to keep our nerves under control as we wonder how we’ll perform and fit in.

Scared Kumail Nanjiani GIF by Team Coco

Will they meet people that might become their friends? What will the career opportunities be like? What we don’t know are the untold stories about bad past work experiences, such as a difficult or ineffective manager or a dysfunctional culture that, troublingly, could also play out as a source of mild or more severe trauma.

But what if there is not a good preboarding experience before day one? It follows that any negative feelings might be dialed right up, leaving the positive ones lagging behind. This begs the question – why not control this and give employees what they crave?

Reduce no show rates with personalized automation

One of our clients in the airline industry struggled with employees signing a contract but never showing up for day one. They reduced the number of employee no-shows by 75% with the following change in the process; After conducting surveys, the airline business in question realized that while they had a highly sophisticated system of automating communication, tasks, and training to the new hires, they’d forgotten about the employee experience. Their process did not drive engagement and connection in the preboarding stage as it was too focused on the tasks.

In response, they changed the onboarding process slightly by automating two messages instructing HR or hiring managers to call the new hire to congratulate them on their new job and ask if they had any questions. This new practice created a sense of belonging to the company and made it real that there is actually a human being, perhaps even a team, waiting for the new hire’s arrival. This is a great example of automation in the Preppio solution to humanize the onboarding experience.

Other clients we work with have reduced no-show rates by asking new hires to add teammates on LinkedIn, listen to a podcast about the culture in the company (A CEO podcast episode is a good idea), or get a call from a buddy.

Test Preppio’s preboarding software on your phone:



It takes a village 

The whole company needs to adopt an onboarding mindset and preboarding is a critical component. The company should not let the excitement and enthusiasm and energy of all new hires go to waste. Creating perceptions and building actions to demonstrate that the company genuinely cares about a new hire starting requires some effort from the business’ internal stakeholders. This is not a mindset that pats managers on the back for checking off boxes. Rather, it’s a mindset that facilitates employee success by using tools to make it easy for all stakeholders to be onboarding champions.

The organization’s focus on its success, story, plans, and mission are great things to communicate, but even better is creating an onboarding experience that allows the new hire to be the hero of the story. In other words, the importance of ‘You’ in order for ‘Us’ to reach our mission!

The fact that “You were carefully selected from the vast numbers of people applying for the job, because of the fact that we believe you can help us” – is exactly how to speak to people that join. The first days should be about giving new hires confidence, connection, clarification, culture – not information overload.

In a research paper by Talya Bauer, our very own Chief Scientific Officer, competitive advantage was seen to strengthen in those organizations that capitalize on their talents. Talya found in one study that organizations judged to be the best onboarders have a retention rate of as high as 91 percent after the first year of employment compared to just 30 percent for the organizations assessed as the worst onboarders. Similarly, new hires who had good onboarding experiences achieved results of 71 percent for hires in the first year compared to only 17 percent for the poorest onboarders. 2

 

Aberdeen Group survey 2013

Preboarding checklists VS preboarding software?

 

Busy managers often forget to do the tasks on the checklist or things fall between the cracks. If managers and people operation teams do not have a system of checks and balances in place to ensure that critical things like ordering the equipment or setting up the desk are done in time, it will lead to bad results. It would be strange to not give the customer success department a CRM tool to ensure customers get a good onboarding experience, the same should apply for employee pre- and onboarding!

Check Checkmark GIF by MOST EXPENSIVEST

Do you have an onboarding system in place that makes sure your new hires feel cared for and set up for success when they arrive on day one? If you still are a bad HRIS onboarding module, spreadsheets, e-mails, or have a checklist that you hope people follow, you should consider using Preppio’s research-backed onboarding software. It is like a CRM for your people operation teams that go beyond the checklist and create a personalized WOW experience for new hires while making the job of being a hiring manager easier!

Test Preppio’s preboarding software on your phone: