Onboarding vs Pre-boarding: A beginner’s guide to employee centricity

A pile of resumes, hours of painstaking research and filtering, even more time spent on shortlisting and interviewing—finding the right candidate for your organization is an extremely tiring process.

Given that employee turnover rates are costly affairs (figuratively and literally), it makes sense to go all out to ensure you reduce this possibility as much as possible.

The screening process by itself is a good start, being very selective about the sort of candidates you want to spend time getting to know.

But, the real jitters start here, don’t they?

Will, the person join us? What if they choose another company instead? Will they feel at home in the workplace? How well will they get along with other teams?

Research shows that it takes around 8 months for an employee to reach full productivity. This is also a crucial period to ensure that the possibility of churn is low. Two processes can help you improve employee productivity as well as retention—Preboarding, and Onboarding.

Let’s start with the latter part.

An Ode to Onboarding

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What is Onboarding?

It’s the process that begins on the employee’s first day at work. In essence, it gets them familiarised with the way your company works, a quick walkthrough of various teams, and its functions, making them understand your corporate culture, structure, and policies.

The length of this process varies from company to company—some have a half-day orientation program, some have week-long or even month-long sessions that take the employee through each function.

Which brings us to the next question: What exactly does a good onboarding process look like?

What are you supposed to include in your Onboarding process?

Typically, here are the things that your onboarding process should cover:

  • Information on company policies and perks

    Information on company policies includes familiarizing the employee with their insurance coverage, PF contribution, tax, ASH, and leave systems, and have them sign all the necessary documents. Once these basic formalities are complete, you can bring forth more individual sessions for the employee.

  • Clarity on their role in the organization

     

    preboarding vs onboarding, candidate preboarding, employee preboarding, onboarding, candidate onboarding, what is employee preboarding, how to do candidate preboarding
    One of the top reasons for employee attrition is not ‘salary concerns’, it’s because employees don’t feel like they’re growing or contributing to the organization in any way. So, giving them maximum clarity of their roles and responsibilities can make a difference in your attrition rate.

    Handing them a 100-day roadmap with clear targets might help them align their efforts in the right direction, right from day 1. The clarity in role and function is also the best possible way to help them bond with their team and their manager right from the start—who better to familiarise them with their role than their squad? Even better: Bonding with their team also gives them a sense of belonging right away.

  • Training to get them accustomed to their role

    Now that your employee has a clear understanding of what they must accomplish, you need to give them the knowledge that will help them do so. Getting to know how other departments work and how their teams depend on each other helps them understand their way around the place.

    For instance, you can arrange for demos scheduled with each team:
    The head of sales can show them how their team achieves targets.
    The Operations team can help them understand the nitty-gritty of the company functions.
    The customer support team can help the employee understand who the target audience is and what demographic they fall under and so on.

    This process also gives them a glimpse into the company’s culture and gets them invested in the values—it makes them less likely to quit on you.

  • Induction to the company’s culture and practices

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    They need more than just a glimpse of your culture—it’s time to dive deeper.

    The fastest and most efficient way to do this is by integrating the employee with the company’s communication software or intranet. Observing interactions on the company’s internal channels help the employee understand the tone of conversations, how open and approachable the top management is, how direct or complicated it is to raise concerns or provide feedback, and so on.

    It’s also essential to get them familiar with the company’s mission and vision statement. Everything helps them identify themselves more with what the company stands for.

    To sum it up, at the end of this process, the employee is more accustomed to their as well as the company’s goals, they feel at home in the work environment, and they are less likely to churn.  And that’s worth all the effort that goes into Onboarding them.

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But this entire process depends on one assumption:

That the employee will get from point A (accepting the offer) to point B (joining you), employee churn happens not just after they have walked through your doors. It might happen even before. (Read – 8 step guide to improve your time to hire)

Is there a way to make the employee feel sure about joining you even before their first day?

Say hello to Pre-boarding

A preboarding process can be useful in showing the candidate how excited you are to have them on board by giving them a peek into what’s in store for them.

What’s the difference between Pre-boarding and Onboarding?

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Preboarding vs Onboarding

is Preboarding acts as a bridge between the time the candidate accepts the offer and the beginning of the onboarding process.

Here’s the simplest explanation to what exactly preboarding is: It’s the process you set in motion from the time the candidate accepts the offer to the time they join you on their first day, whereas Onboarding begins only after they join.

Naturally, you’re wondering why you need this, given that you already have such a comprehensive onboarding experience in place. But research by HBR shows 4% of employees can quit after their first day—and a preboarding process can have a significant impact on reducing this number.

How does Pre-boarding work?

Typically, the candidate’s joining date is at least a couple of weeks or maybe even months away from the time they accept the offer. It’s essential to stay in touch with them during this hiatus and make sure their interest in joining your company is piqued. Preboarding is also an excellent time to get to know the employee better, not confined to areas of work. Here are some ways in which you can get started:

  1. Add them to the family

    If you have an internal newsletter for all your employees, add them to the list so that they get an idea of your culture, and they also have a chance to know about multiple people in the organization. It’s a simple yet effective way of showing them that you trust them and are genuinely looking forward to them being in the company.

  2. A rendezvous with the team

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    Go a step further and set up a casual meeting with their team and their manager before they join—perhaps a movie or just a catch-up over tea. Getting to know their team outside of work gives them something to look forward to and reduces the anxiety of joining a company that’s filled with unfamiliar faces.

  3. Keep it simple

    If it isn’t possible for a team meeting, fret not. It can be something as simple as a personal welcome email from the team members to them or maybe a video conference. It’s the effort that counts, not where the meeting takes place.

  4. A glimpse of their first week

    Sharing your onboarding plan with them, telling them what they’ll be doing on their first week, gives them something to look forward to. Seeing the well-planned process also increases the trust factor by a long shot.

  5. A welcome package

    A bag of the company goodies never fails to impress. How about a water bottle, a notebook, and maybe a hand-written note from the person that interviewed them? It’s not too time-consuming, has a personal touch, and leaves a lasting first impression.

  6. A tour of the office

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    The day of the interview might have been a bit too stressful or short on time for proper introductions. You could arrange for a quick tour a few days after, showing them their workspace, and taking them around the pantry and recreation areas to get them more comfortable.

  7. Set up a channel

    If you have a group of people set to join you on the same day, you could set up a Whatsapp group for them so they can get to know each other—not only does this help them socialize, it also encourages interaction between people from multiple teams.

These measures are simple and are gestures that count for an employee who’s on the fence about joining. The hiring process is an expensive one, and the retention process has to begin even before day 1. It’s also the right way not to forget that you’re dealing with human beings, not resources—it helps you keep the big picture insight, while also helping you to focus on the smaller details. An organization that puts empathy first is one that will have a loyal workforce. Remember that every time you hire someone new, you are bringing someone new into a family. Preboarding and Onboarding processes are just steps that show that you care.

So what do you think? Are you ready to build lasting employee-relationships?

Interested in seeing how you can automate your entire preboarding and onboarding process? Book a demo today.

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