Why Onboarding on the First Day Is Too Late

3 min read
Aug 19, 2015

Optimized-iStock_000063642209_SmallWhen bringing a new employee into the fold, you need a well-developed onboarding process to lay down the groundwork for success. Employee onboarding provides new hires training and a solid knowledge base. And this process begins before your new employee starts their first day on the job with pre-boarding, which outlines the steps your hiring manager and new hire will need to hit the ground running.

Why are onboarding and pre-boarding so important? Consider these findings from Allied HR, The Aberdeen Group, and iCMS:

  • It takes a year or longer for new hires to get up and running, but only 2% of companies extend onboarding to one year

  • Companies who onboard experience 54% greater new-hire productivity Tweet: Companies who onboard experience 54% greater new hire productivity @TINYpulse http://bit.ly/1Jdwa4B

  • Onboarding improves company ROI by more than $79,000 per year  Tweet: Onboarding improves company ROI by more than $79,000 per year @TINYpulse http://bit.ly/1Jdwa4B

While it might seem counterproductive to spend one year onboarding, the increased productivity and money that your company will save are far worth the extra time required. To prepare for the long new hire process, follow this five-step pre-boarding program.

Step 1: Effective Recruitment 

The first impression your company makes will stick with your new hire throughout their career. Pre-boarding begins with a detailed job description and a well thought-out interview process. It includes a hiring checklist with the qualities, skills, and personality traits that would best fulfill the job description.

Many new employees are dissatisfied during onboarding because they feel that their initial impression of the job was incorrect. As an employer, it’s your job to reveal your company culture, job expectations, management practices, promotion opportunities, company benefits, and salary requirements. The more information you can provide your new hire up front, the less likely you’ll run into communication issues and surprises later on.

Step 2: Pre-start Communication

The last day you talk to your employee should not be when you offer them a job. Regular and open communication should continue through their start date.

Before day one, you should tell your employee:

  • What to expect their first day

  • What time they should arrive

  • Whether they need to plan lunch

  • Who they will report to in the morning

Prior to day one, it’s equally as important to provide opportunities for questions missed during the interview process. Opening the lines of communication early will help your new hire feel much more comfortable with their choice and be better prepared to meet your expectations.

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Step 3: Begin Paperwork

There seem to be hundreds of documents that need to be created, signed, and filed for each new hire. Get all of the paperwork prepared and ready before the onboarding process. You can even send much of the paperwork through email so the employee can begin the process early. Consider using automation tools, which can help make the paperwork process much easier.

Step 4: Prepare Technology and Property Access

New employees require an email address, desk, computer, office key, cloud access, etc. One of the worst things you can do is allow your new hire to show up on day one and have nothing ready for them. Make sure that IT knows a new employee will be starting so that the team is prepared to answer questions and provide company technology access as needed. Keep the building manager up to date on new hires so that the employee walks into a ready-to-use space.

Step 5: Create a Training Plan

Don’t leave the onboarding process up to chance and availability. Let the hiring manager know that they need to keep their schedule clear so that they can dedicate the necessary training time.

One of the best things you can do before onboarding is to create an onboarding training checklist. This checklist will help you prioritize each step of the new hire process. It can be as detailed or as high-level as needed. Just remember not to keep your new employees in the dark. Allied HR reveals that 60% of companies don’t set any milestones or concrete goals for new hires, without goals how can your new hire feel like they have a set path to success?

When your new hire walks in the door, the last thing you need is a scramble to figure out “What now?” and a new hire who wonders, “Did I make the right choice?” By following the five steps to create a pre-boarding process, you can ensure that your onboarding goes off without a hitch — helping you save money, increase productivity, and reach company goals. There is no reason not to create a pre-boarding and onboarding process, and a thousand reasons you should.



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