Pre-boarding - The Vital Precursor to Onboarding

Why Pre-boarding is just as important as Onboarding when it comes to reducing staff attrition and time to effectiveness of new starters.

There is lots of talk about the importance and best practices of onboarding new starters. We are, however, missing a significant amount of crucial time in the new employee’s journey to the successful integration in their new role and organization. From the date a new employee signs their contract and the date of their first day (could be up to 6 months or more) traditionally there is little contact. It is during this period (Pre-Boarding) that your new employee is at most danger of finding another career path, employer or opportunity. We therefore must use this time to engage and interact with our new colleagues.

Organizations should put as much focus on “Pre-boarding” as they do on “Onboarding”.

I liken Pre-boarding to the Exec-lounge experience of your favorite airline. This is where the airline welcomes you, offers you a drink, your favorite newspaper etc and generally try to immerse you in their great customer service. They are already building brand loyalty, creating expectations of comfort and service, way before you “board” their aircraft for your flight. In much the same way organizations should be Pre-boarding their new employees to help build loyalty, understanding of the organizations culture and readiness for the new role, before Onboarding commences.

Pre-boarding time offers organizations a great chance to interact with their new employee prior to them being overloaded with information and fulfilling their actual role. It is a chance to drip feed information about the organization and their role, understand about their learning styles, aspirations and potential development needs.  It also affords you the vital contact with the new employee to ensure successful onboarding. From a new employees perspective, Pre-boarding enables them to:

  • Gain a feel for the culture of the organizations,
  • Understand their way around the business, both from a physical and structural perspective,
  • Understand more about their role and what is expected.
  • Virtually meet with other new starters

Employees who are Pre-boarded are more enthused about their role, feel more valued and believe they are joining an innovative and modern organization From an organizational perspective, Pre-boarding:

  • Embeds new employees within the organizations culture more quickly
  • Enables onboarding efforts to concentrate around the employee’s role and responsibilities
  • Reduces attrition rates
  • Reduces time to effectiveness of new starters, helping them achieve business objectives quicker.

With this in mind we must remember that Pre-boarding is a vital precursor to onboarding and should draw just as much focus.