Welcome to an exploration of a crucial yet often underestimated phase in the journey of the onboarding process: preboarding. Imagine it as the warm-up act before the main event, with you, the managers, playing the role of architects for this pivotal stage.
Today, we're not just giving you a sneak peek; we're providing you with detailed guides, tips, tricks, and pointers to turn preboarding into a showstopper. It's time to make this often-overlooked phase one of the most memorable parts of your new employee onboarding process.
Let’s get into this!
What is employee preboarding?
Consider the preboarding stage well underway once a candidate says, "I'm in!" and it extends to the moment they step into the office for their first official day. During this period, your new hires are in a kind of employment limbo – not quite an employee yet, but definitely not just another job seeker.
But what exactly takes place during preboarding? Think of it as the warm-up act before the main show, which is onboarding. Preboarding involves a series of activities and interactions that occur during this in-between period. It's more than just a checklist; it's the critical transition between being a job candidate and a fully integrated team member.
At its heart, preboarding is the 'people' side of onboarding, designed to make a lasting first impression, calm new hire jitters, and fast-track the time it takes for your newbie to start contributing effectively. While it may include some of the usual administrative tasks – like filling out forms – its real power lies in setting the tone for a seamless assimilation into your company's culture.
The benefits of preboarding
Now, why should we care about preboarding? It goes beyond the bureaucratic necessities and has some pretty compelling benefits:
Put yourself in a new employee's shoes. Starting a new job can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Preboarding is your chance to answer questions, offer insights, and make new hires feel like they've made a fantastic decision even before they officially start. It's like extending a comforting hand to guide them through the uncertainty, reducing their 'first-day jitters.'
Engaged employees are happy, productive employees. Preboarding introduces your company's mission, values, and culture. It's the foundation for helping new hires understand not just their role but also where they fit into the grander picture. Engaging them early sets the stage for long-term commitment.
In the fast-paced world of business, time is money. The sooner your new recruits become productive, the quicker your company reaps the benefits of their skills. Effective preboarding ensures they hit the ground running on their first official day, and that's a win for both parties.
We all know that a harmonious company culture is essential for job satisfaction and employee retention. Preboarding offers an early taste of your company's culture, values, and introduces them to the team they'll be working with. This way, new employees feel like they're part of the family from day one.
Onboarding and preboarding: Finding the line
As we've been chatting about preboarding and its crucial role, it's time to tackle a common conundrum: the blurry boundary between preboarding and onboarding. You see, these two phases can sometimes blend into one, making it difficult to keep up with the pace.
It's like trying to tell apart identical twins – there are subtle distinctions, but they can leave you scratching your head. So, let's unravel the mystery and get a better grip on what separates these two and how they harmonize.
Preboarding vs onboarding
Ok, so by now, you should be understanding the preboarding stages, but for those who can’t hear at the back of the room; preboarding's main idea is to make the newcomer feel welcome, comfortable, and informed.
Onboarding, though, is the grand opening, the main event. It's the phase that starts when your newest team member walks through the door on their first official day and extends for several weeks or even months. Onboarding is where the formal training, role-specific tasks, and getting all the gear you need to shine in your new role happen.
Where one ends and the other begins
While they have their separate traits, preboarding and onboarding are like a dynamic duo. A stellar preboarding experience makes onboarding a breeze. The smoother the preboarding, the more ready and raring to go your new recruits are for the formal training and responsibilities that onboarding has in store. They're like a team that plays in perfect harmony.
Below, we’ve taken the time to add most aspects of each onboarding stage and compare them against each other. The aim is to lay it out in an easy-to-understand way with the hope that this can reduce any mistakes that could pop up! Make sure to bookmark this for future reference!
4 Essential preboarding elements
So, with preboarding, a lot of it is up to you and your creative side. But certain aspects need to be followed, no matter how creative you’re feeling. These are the bread and butter of the preboarding process and it's crucial they’re followed.
1. Setting expectations
Imagine it as the curtain rising just after the candidate accepts the job offer. This is your moment to shine. Preboarding begins right here, and its first act involves setting crystal-clear expectations for your incoming superstar.
During this phase, you have a golden opportunity to ensure that your new employee knows exactly what they're stepping into. Paint a vivid picture of their role, responsibilities, and what success looks like. Inform them of the do’s and the don’ts of any office/company rules you may have. For example, If your dress policy is relaxed, now is the time to tell them!
2. Paperwork and compliance
Ah, paperwork – the less glamorous but oh-so-vital part of the preboarding process. This act involves the essential choreography of handling all the necessary documentation before the official start date.
Think contracts, tax forms, and other legal documents. While it might not be the most thrilling aspect of preboarding, it's crucial. Completing these tasks in advance can save time and reduce the stress for your new employees once they're officially on board. It allows them to focus on their exciting new roles instead of drowning in paperwork.
3. Equipment and workspace preparation
Now, let's shift the spotlight to the logistics of providing the tools and resources your new star will need to shine. Imagine they're stepping onto a stage, and everything from their costume to the props must be ready.
Ensure that their workspace is set up and ready to go. Their desk should be primed, and all the necessary technology and equipment should be in place. This includes the remote teams too! Having everything ready on day one shows that you're prepared and that their comfort and productivity matter from the get-go. Slack IDs, premium software passwords, even Microsoft Office installed on their shiny new company laptop, all of this needs to be considered!
4. Introducing company culture
Cue the cultural immersion. The heart of any company is its culture and values. During preboarding, it's your chance to introduce your new team members to the heartbeat of the organization.
This isn't about dry presentations but a warm welcome into the company's way of doing things. Share the employee handbook, let them in on the mission and vision statements, and introduce them to their soon-to-be partners in this exciting journey – their colleagues. Make them feel not just like new hires, but like integral parts of a thriving and unique community.
By nailing these aspects of the preboarding process, you're not only setting the stage for a successful onboarding journey but also ensuring that your new talent feels well-prepared, supported, and genuinely welcomed from day one.
Tips for a memorable preboarding process
Great, now the boring parts are out of the way, let's talk about how to turn preboarding into a truly exceptional experience for your new hires.
1. Personalized welcome
Let's kick things off with a simple yet potent gesture – the personalized welcome. As a manager, imagine reaching out to your new employees with a heartfelt message or even a friendly call. Convey your genuine enthusiasm about having them on board. Roll out the red carpet, and it can set the stage for a positive beginning to their journey with your team.
2. Buddy system
Ever thought about introducing a buddy system? You, as a manager, can champion this onboarding practice. Encourage your experienced team members to play the role of mentors or buddies for the newcomers. It's not just about making the transition smoother; it's about creating a sense of community right from the start.
3. Welcome kit
Let's talk about the welcome kit. You have the power to personalize it, making it more than just a collection of documents. Include a personalized welcome letter from you, the manager. Share the company's mission and vision in a way that reflects your personal commitment to their success. It's a tangible gesture that speaks volumes. Also, consider adding in your team’s most sought-after items in the office. Perhaps try a personalized coffee mug, a jar of gourmet coffee, snacks, treats, even office supplies! These touches of class can make the world of difference.
4. Social integration
As a manager, you can lead the way in social integration. Plan informal gatherings, important team-building activities, or even a casual get-together. These moments go a long way in helping new employees form connections and feel at ease. It's about building relationships outside the usual work setting. So, how about off-site retreats?
5. Off-site retreats
Now, you may wonder when's the best time for off-site retreats. Well, we suggest considering it during the first month of the onboarding program. Why? Because the preboarding stage is the perfect chance to pitch this exciting idea and get your team fired up for it. Make it something to look forward to.
Imagine using preboarding to tease the upcoming retreat, building anticipation and excitement. You could introduce the idea, share stories of past retreats, and highlight the benefits it brings to creating team camaraderie. By the time the actual retreat rolls around in that crucial first month, your new hires will be buzzing with enthusiasm, ready to dive headfirst into their new role and the unique experience that awaits them.
As a manager or leader, your involvement and creativity can set the stage for an outstanding preboarding experience that leads to an unforgettable onboarding journey. It's all about making your new hires feel like they're not just joining a company; they're becoming a part of a tight-knit community, complete with exciting adventures on the horizon.
Like the idea of off-site retreats? Let Surf Office take it from here!
So, you've set the stage with a flawless preboarding experience. Your new hires are excited, motivated, and eager to dive into their roles. But what if we told you there's an opportunity to make it even better? Enter Surf Office retreats – the icing on the cake for your onboarding process.
Surf Office takes your onboarding to the next level. We offer a portfolio of over 100 locations across Europe and the USA, catering to everyone's tastes, whether they crave the beach's tranquility or the charm of the countryside. Our services extend far beyond just a stunning backdrop; we're your partners in crafting a unique, unforgettable onboarding experience.
With Surf Office, you get:
- Airport transfers
- Team building activities
- Restaurant bookings
- Retreat planning assistance
- Onsite support (if requested)
So, why not add that extra layer of excitement to your preboarding process and get your team fired up for an off-site retreat? It's the perfect way to welcome your new hires and create a memorable start to their journey with your organization. Contact us today for more information!