How you as a company can score points with employees with pre-onboarding.

Urs Merkel
November 9, 2023

Ideally integrating new employees into the organization and their team is a critical process for every company. Especially since onboarding processes have also taken place remotely, pre-onboarding has become much more important.

Companies that proactively organize pre-onboarding make the actual onboarding process easier and can score points with employees by providing information and structure, as pre-onboarding creates security and expresses anticipation, which is synonymous with appreciation. Pre-onboarding also promotes successful integration into the new team, which also increases productivity more quickly.

In three sections, I will show you how you can optimize the important time from pre-onboarding to onboarding in your company.

Exchange of information and welcoming culture

Preliminary information As soon as you have selected the right new employee for you following a candidate analysis, such as with soft.fact, and the contracts have been signed, the pre-onboarding phase begins. In this phase, it is important to provide your new team member with helpful information. Of course, information on when, where, how and with whom the actual onboarding will take place is particularly important. Process information always creates security, as it sets expectations for the first few days more clearly. Preliminary information about the company itself is also helpful. Definitions of lived values that go beyond the descriptions on the website, or a detailed vision, mission and purpose, create an even clearer picture and a higher level of identification. All of this information from pre-onboarding can be revisited during onboarding and already ensures an exchange between employees that supports team loyalty.

Welcome package A welcome package works both remotely and on site. In addition, a welcome package can also be designed inexpensively. From a simple postcard with a greeting, to merchandise, or gadgets such as sustainable organic coffee/tea or other treats, to vouchers or headphones. There are virtually no limits to the variety of design options and it can easily be implemented internally or, if the company is large enough, with external service providers. With such gifts, you convey appreciation to the new team member and the feeling that they are already part of the team. In the welcome package, you can also set the focus for the actual onboarding. With a checklist for the first working day and a short agenda, a helpful structure is easily created.

First contacts and team integration

Virtual introduction A good alternative to the welcome package is a short video message in which people from the team introduce themselves to your new team member. Make sure that the video message is created by people who the new employee has not yet met during the hiring process and that the onboarding buddy also introduces him/herself in the message. In the personal message, you can repeat information about induction plans or structures. Such a video message already creates a nice welcome feeling, which makes the days leading up to the first day of work feel completely different.

Overview of contact persons in advance

Everything new - There is a lot of new input during onboarding. This can be overwhelming for people and challenging to remember. We therefore recommend that you provide your new team member with an overview of the contact persons for the various subject areas in advance. Ideally with a picture, name and contact details. Of course, this should also include the topics for which this person is the contact person. This provides orientation, creates security and also makes your organization more approachable, as you are already showing the people who are looking forward to meeting the new person.

Planning and structure

Create a structured induction plan Before the first day of work, create clarity for your existing employees and your new employee. Clarify who is responsible for what. List which person is the contact person for which topics. Show what the weekly work structure is and which meetings your new employee should attend straight away. This can also be done very easily by sending calendar invitations to the internal email address. In an induction plan, you can also outline further training measures in the technical, methodological and interpersonal areas. It is also helpful if the plan includes various learning formats and feedback rounds. It is also essential to indicate the period over which the induction plan extends and after what period of time you will undertake an interim review.

Technical preparation

Preparing the technical set-up must of course also be part of the pre-onboarding process. Access to the email account, calendar and day-to-day software and hardware must be in place before the first day of work to ensure a smooth start. If the first working day is remote, then the technical set-up must be sent out in good time to be on site for the first day. In the case of an onsite induction, the workplace where your new team member starts should also be prepared. Nothing is more frustrating for a new employee than technical problems on their first day at work. Therefore, check the access points and the technical set-up and keep technical support on call during the induction period.

By taking these steps into account, companies create a solid basis for the successful integration of new employees. A well-thought-out pre-onboarding process can ultimately make a decisive contribution to promoting the satisfaction and productivity of new employees and guaranteeing a good start.

Urs Merkel
September 1, 2023