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Combatting early resignation with preboarding

How to support new employees between signing the contract and their first day at work

 
 

Have you ever had new employees resign before they’ve even started the job? Early resignation is an expensive problem for many companies. Effective and personalized preboarding helps to prevent this. In this article, you’ll find out what role preboarding plays, and why digital preboarding is particularly effective. Discover nine effective preboarding measures that will inspire your new employees.

 

What is preboarding anyway?

Preboarding starts as soon as new employees sign their contract and ends on their first day at work. This is the strategic phase in which your company welcomes new team members, provides them with important information, and gradually introduces them to the corporate culture. Use this time to strengthen the anticipation and bond between new employees and your company, and at the same time lay the foundations for a successful first few days and weeks. Preboarding ensures that new employees are productive and committed from day one. It helps to retain talent in the long term and makes it easier to onboard them.

 

What role does preboarding play in personnel management?

A well-implemented preboarding program forms the basis for a strong, lasting bond between new employees and your company. It goes far beyond merely administrative tasks—it is a strategic process that binds new employees emotionally to the company before they officially take up their role. Through targeted preboarding, you communicate appreciation and trust, lay the foundations for a positive working relationship, and promote a culture of open communication. You reduce uncertainty among new employees by setting clear expectations. You provide new team members with the resources and knowledge they need to hit the ground running. Preboarding not only contributes to employee satisfaction and loyalty, but also has a significant influence on the corporate culture and general working atmosphere.

 

Preboarding benefits for employees

Promotes a sense of belonging

A feeling of appreciation and belonging to the company is created even before the person has their first day of work.

Reduces stress and uncertainty

Early involvement and information provision remove uncertainties and build trust in the employer.

Informs and prepares

Early access to company information and culture makes new team members feel confident and informed.

Accelerates integration

Getting to know the team and working environment before starting a role facilitates and accelerates a person’s integration into the company.

Clarifies duties and goals

Having a clear overview of their duties and goals enables new staff to hit the ground running with clear objectives and motivation.

Facilitates networking

Early involvement in communication channels and the company network establishes important initial contacts and encourages active involvement.

Strengthens commitment and productivity

A positive introduction increases motivation and willingness to work for the company.

Contributes to a positive initial working experience

A comprehensive preboarding experience forms the basis for a lasting, positive working relationship.

 

Preboarding benefits for employers

Increases employee loyalty

A positive first impression strengthens loyalty to the company and can reduce staff turnover.

Increases productivity right from the start

Employees who arrive well-prepared can be fully productive more quickly as they are already familiar with many processes and the corporate culture.

Improves the employer image

A structured preboarding program shows that a company invests in its employees, which in turn strengthens its employer branding.

Optimizes the onboarding process

Bringing training and induction forward saves resources and makes the onboarding process more efficient

Promotes a strong corporate culture

Communicating values and standards early on supports the integration of new employees into the corporate culture.

Reduces the cost of recruitment

Effective preboarding contributes to employee satisfaction, and can thus indirectly reduce the costs of recruitment.

Reduces the risk of staff resigning early

A good preboarding experience can eliminate any doubts new employees have and prevent them from leaving the company prematurely.

Strengthens internal communication

Early involvement in communication networks facilitates the flow of information and fosters team spirit.

 

Digital preboarding. A miracle cure for early resignation?

During digital preboarding, you introduce new employees to their new working environment with the help of digital technologies and platforms. Even before they start their first day at work. It uses tools like eLearning modules, virtual tours, and social networks. 

Digital preboarding is an effective tool in the fight against early resignation. In contrast to traditional methods, it facilitates immediate and continuous interaction with new employees as soon as their contract is signed. It can be used flexibly wherever the employee is located and whenever they have the time. Your new employees get to know the corporate culture at their own pace and according to their own schedule, familiarize themselves with tools, and network with their new colleagues. This flexibility increases satisfaction and reduces the risk of overwhelm and disappointment, which often lead to early resignation.

Digital preboarding methods are particularly valuable when new employees are still working for their old employer or have other commitments. The period following resignation is stressful enough. There is little time for the person to think about their new position in any great depth. But flexible, digital preboarding can take place after work or at the weekend. Whenever your new employees have the resources available. Very important: Don’t create unnecessary pressure. Give new team members the freedom to decide for themselves when and if they want to take part in preboarding.

 

Digital preboarding: Challenges and solutions

Technical barriers

Not all new employees have the necessary technical skills or access to the equipment they need. 

Provide easy-to-understand instructions and offer technical support. When creating your preboarding content, make sure it is mobile-friendly, as this lets new employees get started right on their own smartphone.

Lack of personal interaction

Digital methods sometimes seem impersonal. If there’s no human contact, it’s difficult to build a good relationship. 
Organize virtual hangouts and team meetings. Write personal emails and encourage other team members to do so. With an internal social network, you can strengthen personal ties without having face-to-face contact. 

Information overload

If you provide too much information at once, new employees will quickly feel overwhelmed. Instead of a warm welcome, preboarding quickly starts to feel like unpaid work. 

Divide the content into clear, easily digestible modules and provide a clear, structured learning path. This enables new colleagues to go through the preboarding process stress-free and step-by-step.

Maintaining commitment and motivation

Some people find it difficult to stay engaged and motivated in a digital environment. Long online courses or text documents quickly become boring and feel cold and unfriendly.

Make your digital preboarding content varied. Use gamification, interactive elements, and a variety of media to keep your new employees’ attention. Preboarding should feel like a fun activity; not an annoying task on their to-do list.

Conveying the corporate culture

Conveying the corporate culture digitally can be a challenge. Especially if yours is not a remote-first company. Culture is something that is difficult to explain and understand.

Use storytelling, employee testimonials, and virtual tours and simulations to bring the culture to life and make it tangible.

Data protection and data security

The security of personal and company-related data should always be your top priority. Choose a platform on which you can disclose internal information without hesitation. Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are not suitable for this. Even in closed groups, you can never be sure that sensitive data will not be passed on to third parties. Alternatively, use internal tools like your LMS for preboarding.

 

Nine preboarding measures to use with your new employees

Successful preboarding requires targeted measures that enable new employees to make a smooth transition to their new working environment. The following nine preboarding measures will prepare your new team members optimally for their new position, give them confidence, and create a good first impression.

 

Get preboarding off to a good start with a welcome package

Even if you otherwise only use digital methods for your preboarding, a physical welcome pack is a nice gesture for new employees. Send new team members a personal welcome message and a small gift. Maybe a bar of chocolate or another sweet treat. Company merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs, pens or hats immediately create a sense of belonging. 

A welcome pack is also perfect for providing access to the preboarding platform. Include easy-to-understand instructions to support employees who are less digitally savvy.

 

Get to know the team and the company

Some of the biggest concerns for new employees are about their new colleagues. Will they be nice? Can we work well together? They will have many questions that lead to unnecessary anxiety. Allow new team members to get to know their colleagues before they start their new job. Arrange a team meeting where everyone can talk to each other, add the newcomers to chat groups or other distribution lists. Got a team event coming up? Great! Invite the new employees, even if they have not yet started the job. 

If they didn’t have a tour of the company during the interview, preboarding is a good time to do this. Either offer a virtual tour or invite new employees to take a physical one. A personal meeting with future colleagues and superiors is also a good idea here.

 

Communicate corporate guidelines and values

Show your new team members what your company stands for and what the rules of play are right from the outset. This helps them to identify with your company at an early stage and develop a sense of how to act in line with your values. Plus, a shared understanding of values prevents misunderstandings in communications with colleagues and customers.

 

Access to digital learning platforms

Give new team members access to your digital learning platforms as early as the preboarding phase. Ideally, you should map the entire preboarding program out as a learning path. 

Early access to your learning content enables new employees to familiarize themselves with important topics that will be necessary to get off to a good start. This increases their confidence and enables them to make more efficient use of their first days and weeks at the company. In addition, you show right from the start that learning and development are core values for your company. You give your new employees the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new tools and explore the content.

 

Personal induction and training plan

Give new employees access to their induction and training plans as early as the preboarding stage. This enables them to prepare themselves, know what to expect, reduces the uncertainty of the first few days, and gives them a feeling of security. Take your new employee’s individual needs, skills and requirements into account when planning. Employees in production require different training and onboarding processes than a new accountant or marketing manager, for example. 

It is best to map the induction and training plans directly in an LMS (learning management system) and give your new employees access as early as possible. With individual learning paths and adaptive learning, you can create personal induction and training plans in a short space of time without having to invest a lot in terms of resources.

 

Introduce a mentoring program at the preboarding stage

By introducing a mentoring program during preboarding, you lay the foundations for a successful and integrated team culture. It connects new employees with experienced colleagues who act as mentors or sponsors right from the outset. These relationships make it easier to hit the ground running, provide a point of contact for questions, and support the person’s first steps in the new environment. A mentor or sponsor not only serves as a guide through the first few days, but also promotes understanding of the corporate culture and internal processes. This builds bridges between new and existing team members and promotes an open atmosphere.

 

Regular check-ins and feedback sessions

Regular check-ins and feedback sessions during preboarding strengthen the connection with your new employees. Use these opportunities to discuss progress and exchange feedback. Or simply ask how your future colleagues are doing and whether they need support. In doing so, you demonstrate appreciation and interest in the personal development and well-being of your new team members. 

 

Introduce working tools

Introduce your most frequently used working tools during preboarding. Of course, you do not have to—and in fact should not—offer complete training at this point. But it helps to reduce uncertainty and makes it easier to understand the work processes right from the start. 

How you structure this is entirely up to you. Use online courses, digital resource libraries or FAQs to present your most important tools. You could also ask which tools they already know and which they will require training on. This enables you to plan your onboarding program effectively and in line with their requirements.

 

Establish communication channels

Like the working tools, you should also introduce the communication channels and possibly add the new employees to them during preboarding. Explain clearly which channels are used for which purpose and, if necessary, provide information on data protection.

 

The bottom line.

With a well-structured preboarding program for new employees, you do more than simply make a good first impression. You can also reduce the risk of early resignation and ensure a smooth onboarding phase. Digital preboarding is particularly easy to implement, as your new employees can follow the program flexibly and from any location. This enables you to reach people who are still in another job, have other commitments, or live further away.

Start implementing or optimizing your preboarding program now. Utilize digital solutions to make the onboarding process as enriching and seamless as possible for your new team members. We can support you in selecting suitable software solutions, creating your preboarding courses, and digitalizing your training plans. Take advantage of our free consultancy service and establish a strong preboarding process with minimal effort.

 
Nadine Pedro
[Translate to English:] Nadine Pedro, chemmedia AG
Nadine Pedro
eLearning author
 

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