Pre-onboarding or preboarding is the period of time that takes place between a job candidate’s application and first day of employment — incorporating activities such as document collection, reference verification, contract signing, welcome emails, and background checks. If that sounds like a lot of administrative tasks, that is probably because it is!
While preboarding should include more than simply admin tasks, the danger for in-house recruiters, headhunters, and staffing agencies is that weak preboarding processes can derail the entire employee onboarding experience — leaving new employees disillusioned and recruitment teams overloaded with manual work.
Unfortunately today, preboarding is still routinely overlooked and research has shown that 28% of employees quit in their first 90 days because of poor onboarding practices. To help companies overcome this obstacle, we have put together a post that explains how investing in preboarding can actually save companies time and money as well as boosting employee retention rates.
Common Pre-onboarding Mistakes
Many of the problems with preboarding today stem from three main issues: a lack of communication, an over-reliance on legacy tools, and overburdening new hires with administrative tasks.
- Lack of Communication: Some new employees may face a significant waiting period before starting a new job. Depending on the length of notice they have to provide their existing job, some employees may have to wait as long as two months before starting their new position. Two months is a long time, and a failure to maintain regular communication with the new employee can result in the initial sense of excitement about a new role quickly evaporating.
- Over-reliance on Legacy Tools: One of the most common preboarding mistakes is the overuse or misuse of legacy technology. An all-too-common example of this mistake is the use of email to collect applicant resumes and documents. Email was not built with the realities of modern document collection in mind. The unintended consequences of using email for this purpose are many and include lost documents, security risks, and many lost hours of productivity as teams spend their time uploading and downloading documents instead of focusing on core business activities.
- Overburdening new Employees with Administrative Tasks: Inefficient preboarding processes have the double impact of lowering productivity on the company side and also, crucially, dimming the enthusiasm of new hires — who spend their first week at the company performing mind-numbing and never-ending administrative tasks, that should have been streamlined.
How to Develop a Great Pre-onboarding Process
There are a number of steps companies can take to develop a winning pre-onboarding process.
1 – Send a welcome kit during the pre-onboarding period
Communication is key and making new employees feel welcome before their start date can help lay the foundations of a mutually beneficial relationship. Welcome kits should contain details such as welcome messages, confirmation of start date, next steps, and other tidbits such as information about parking.
2 – Invest in pre-onboarding automation tools
Any staffing or recruitment team that still uses email to collect applicant and employee documents is opening the door to a range of potential issues including lost productivity, data non-compliance, and security breaches. Tools that automate the applicant and employee document collection process can save companies many hours per week and help to streamline the entire hiring and pre-onboarding process. Other tools that can have a big impact on the preboarding process include ID verification and e-signature solutions.
3 – Develop and streamline internal pre-onboarding workflows
Recruitment and staffing functions should always be looking for ways to streamline their pre-onboarding workflows. Companies who deal with large numbers of applicants and new hires can make major productivity gains by constantly seeking out ways to improve their existing processes. There are a number of areas that can be analyzed for improvement including: document collection processes; internal candidate application visibility; candidate communications; and internal approval processes. If companies can find a way to automate some of these elements, they stand to make major productivity gains.
4 – Communicate Professionally
New hires do not want to be inundated with email and phone calls going over administrative tasks. In fact, new hires may quickly sense a lack of professionalism if they are being asked to share their personal information over the phone or via email. Internally, ad-hoc communication with employees should be eradicated too because it will only lead to lost documents and diminished productivity. Recruiting teams should look at ways that one-to-one communication can be automated and kept on-brand. The human touch is still important – but only at the right times. Ideally, recruitment teams should be equipped with ways to communicate en masse with a high volume of applicants and new hires during the preboarding stage.
Pre-onboarding or preboarding is a relatively new area of focus for recruitment teams, but honing this activity can bring major productivity benefits and increase employee retention rates.
If you would like to learn more about PlanetVerify’s Pre-Onboarding solution, please reach out to the team today and we would be happy to set up an intro call.