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As we continue to explore how to build a standard, stable recruiting function, I encourage you to read parts one through four of our series.

Part One: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function from the Inside Out
Part Two: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 2 – Post, Source, and Screen
Part Three: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 3 – Interview and Select
Part Four: Build a Standard, Stable Recruiting Function: Step 4 – Create and Approve Offer

We’ve discussed what it takes to build a stable recruiting function, how an ATS system can complement your process and deliver more efficiency, and the importance of maintaining a human connection with your candidates. The next step in the process is preboarding. While much of what happens during preboarding can be automated by a well-developed ATS, human contact during this phase is incredibly important.

It all begins once a candidate formally accepts an offer. This means that beyond a verbal acceptance, he or she has signed the offer letter, employment agreement, and any other documents that confirm acceptance of the offer.

Why Is Preboarding Important?

Preboarding is an essential component of the recruitment process and is not to be confused with onboarding. Many companies lump preboarding and onboarding together, when each deserves its own focus. At Beacon Lane, we define preboarding as the time between when a candidate accepts the offer and begins the first day on the job. There is a heavy operations effort during this time, to ensure that new hires hit all of the proper systems and move to “employee” status. It is during this time that we also focus on keeping new hires connected to the company and enthusiastic about their jobs, the organization, and the culture before they are able to begin work. It’s unfortunately becoming more common for a company to get to the point of having a candidate accept an offer, be ready to start work, and then rescind acceptance (either for a better offer or to remain where they are) at the last minute. Preboarding can help to prevent last-minute attrition of new hires.

What Happens During Preboarding?

Preboarding is about both the transactional operations that need to happen as well as the new-hire experience. The goal is to keep your new hire happy and enthusiastic about working for your company – it’s about keeping the job offer real and top of mind. It is helpful to new hires to help them manage the administrative workload that will fall on them as they prepare to join your organization. Now is the time to have your new hires fill out payroll paperwork, complete any mandatory physicals or drug testing, and set them up in the system with email, computer logins, etc. A new-hire checklist has become standard, but it’s still worth mentioning because it’s the simple things that often get overlooked. This is also an ideal time to inculcate your new hires into your company culture. You can:

  • Take new hires to lunch so that they can meet their new team members
  • Assign new hires a mentor who can help answer questions as they prepare for the first day
  •  Provide a welcome gift to new hires to help them feel like they’re part of the team (company swag is always a hit)

From an internal operations standpoint, preboarding requires significant consideration regarding process design. There is a handoff that must occur from recruiting to HR operations. In larger organizations, these tend to be distinct functions; however, in smaller organizations, one team may be wearing both hats. Either way, there is an operational handoff, in that once a candidate accepts the offer, a host of transactional activities needs to occur. The best way to plan for this is to process map preboarding so that you can see exactly who does what and at what point in time. This should be a lockstep process, driving standardization across the organization. This will minimize your operating risks.

From an experience standpoint, preboarding done well is an impactful method for connecting new hires to your company and helping them feel welcome from the moment they accept your offer. It can minimize a lot of the apprehension new hires may feel and ensure that, on day one, they are ready to jump right in.

Next, we will finish our series on building a standard, stable recruiting process by discussing the onboarding process.

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