How To Keep New Hires Engaged Before Their Start Date

Keep new hires engaged before their start date

Preboarding (the introductory stage of the full onboarding process) is a crucial element to keep new hires engaged before their start date with you. It nurtures each person’s excitement in joining your company and develops the beginning of a relationship between the time they agree to a job offer and have their first working day with you.

Why Are Preboarding Strategies So Important For Keeping New Hires Engaged Before Their Start Date?

They have accepted your job offer, what more should they need?

Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that people are prone to changing their minds or being swayed in a different direction. In fact, Indeed recently reported that nearly 60% of companies have had candidates become unresponsive after accepting a verbal job offer. To make matters worse, 4% of new hires leave a job after a terrible first day. These occurrences are annoying, frustrating, and frankly, will cost your company time and money, impacting the internal culture you have worked hard to create.

Finding the right person for the job role is key to the growth of any company, so once you’ve found that talent, it is imperative that you keep that individual invested in the job they have accepted by establishing and following simple preboarding best practices.

Preboarding strategies differ from company to company. They are never the same. Your plan should be creative and bespoke to your company culture and the budget you have available to play with. The main thing is that you have a plan that complements your onboarding processes, setting your new hires up for success.

Keep New Hires Engaged Before Start Date With Strong Communication

If you wait until a new hire’s first day to engage with them after they accepted your job offer, you’re already playing catch up. In 2019, 65% of employers surveyed reported hiring people who did not show up on their first day.

I would blame the employers and their recruiters for a high percentage of these no-shows. Why? Because they should have been checking in with these candidates on a regular basis, and have known if someone was no longer interested in the role. It indicates that the employer is not following (or even aware of!) preboarding best practices.

66% of candidates have said they want more communication from their prospective employer, so I would suggest taking this feedback on board and working it into your strategy. This might consist of something as simple as a bi-weekly email to check in, organising video calls with different departments within the business, or giving them a call to ensure any further questions they might have thought of have been answered.

Answer Questions Before They Are Asked

A big source of nerves comes from the unknown. In fact, a LinkedIn report suggests 80% of individuals feel nervous when starting a new role. Combat this by developing a Q&A document. When preboarding employees, you want them to feel familiar with their surroundings and know what to expect from their first day onwards. Providing a new hire with some sort of guide will help this immensely.

Plus, pre-empting their questions is bound to impress them and make them feel like they are joining a business that values them as a person.

Find Out How The Resignation Went

Did you know that over 50% of individuals will be counter-offered when they resign? Be aware of this. It should be at the core of all preboarding strategies.

When a candidate accepts a job role, the deal is not done until that individual turns up physically or logs on remotely for their first day of work. There is a lot of demand out there for certain skillsets, so keeping communication high and finding out exactly how the resignation went are key. Were they counter-offered? Is the door completely shut with their current employer?

You do not want the candidate to start considering the counter offer and thinking about how easy it would be to stay put. Get as much insight into the candidate’s mindset as possible and keep speaking with them to ensure they remain focused on their new job with your business.

Get Your New Hire Started With Admin Tasks

Channel this person’s excitement over accepting your job offer, by sending them some admin tasks to complete and information to read. You might want to consider creating a starter pack to structure these admin tasks so that you don’t end up asking them to do something twice. It might include asking for personal details like address, next of kin, and upcoming holidays. You also might want to give them information to read so they are ahead of the game – things like company values and the structure of the business.

Make sure you are clear that this isn’t mandatory, but it is something you like to offer when preboarding new hires in order to cut some of the boring clerical stuff out of their first day of work with you.

Send A Preboarding Package

Your organisation might not have the budget for lavish welcome packages, and that’s okay. Being able to keep new hires engaged before their start dates doesn’t mean personalised laptop cases and fancy gifts. It can be as simple as sending some branded merchandise out – a mug, umbrella, or even just some stationery. People appreciate gestures no matter how small they are.

If the role is going to be fully remote, typical preboarding strategies include sending a preboarding package so the new employee is fully set-up for their first day of work. If nothing else, make sure they have a laptop that is ready for them to use. I know of plenty of people who have had that sinking feeling on their first day where they’ve sat down and can’t actually get started because the laptop hasn’t been installed proplerly and isn’t ready for use. Instead, they have to sit at their desk twiddling their thumbs for 20 minutes.

Ask For Feedback Regarding Your Hiring Process

Requesting feedback on every aspect of your hiring process – from the original application, to the interviews and job offer process – allows you to show new hires that you truly care about how your team and how your brand are perceived, which in turn, will keep new hires engaged before their start date.

In 2018, 72% of job seekers reported a poor experience whilst in a hiring process. Empower your future employees by asking for their honest feedback. You might want to consider creating an anonymous candidate experience survey as part of your preboarding strategy, so that they’re able to feedback honestly.

Invite Them to Engage With Your Team

79% of employees who quit their jobs put a lack of appreciation, as one of their main reasons for deciding to leave. So while you are preboarding new hires, show them that you see them as a person, not just a number that can perform a role.

Invite your new hires to start socialising with their future colleagues now. Arrange for them to meet with key figures in the business and show them how much you value your employees. This might be a simple virtual coffee break call, an in-person lunch or even an invitation to a company social event after hours. They will gain a fantastic insight into your company culture and team. Little gestures like this can truly make the difference between keeping new hires engaged before their start date or hearing they have accepted an offer from your competitor.

Let Them Check Out Your Learning Platform

When preboarding employees, consider the reasons why they are leaving their current employer. A research project by Middlesex University for Work Based Learning discovered that from a sample of 4,300 workers, 74% felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential because their employer wasn’t giving them development opportunities.

Many preboarding strategies now contain an element of education in order to combat these worries from the beginning. I would highly recommend allowing new hires to have a look around your learning platform (if you have one) before they officially start working for you. If you don’t have one, consider putting some educational resources together in a pack to give your future hires a head start.

Check In With Your Recruiter Regarding Preboarding Best Practices

If you regularly work with a recruiter to find talent, it is important to remember that their services do not end as soon as they have found the person. Your recruiter should be playing a part in preboarding employees. After all, they don’t get paid until after your employee starts so they will be keen to keep new hires engaged before their start date.

Lean on your recruiter for information regarding the mindset of new hires. Has your new employee removed their CV from the core job boards? Have they deleted the ‘open to work’ tag from their LinkedIn profile? Has anything been said to the recruiter about other opportunities or counter offers?

Preboarding New Hires Should Be A Joint Effort

Engaging your new hires before their start date is NOT a ‘HR thing’. It is the responsibility of all managers that will be in immediate contact with the employee, to reach out to the new hire and start to build a connection.

You might want to consider creating some kind of internal new starter pack for managers so that they are aware of what is expected of them in terms of communication and other elements I have mentioned in this article.

Send out an internal announcement before the new hire starts so that everyone is in the loop and ready to welcome the person into the business, creating a strong sense of community from day one.


At VIQU, we are proud to provide businesses of all sizes with bespoke talent solutions within the IT/technology space. If you are looking for support with your talent acquisition strategy – including your preboarding and onboarding strategies, please contact us here.




Similar articles you might like...

woman looking at lines of code wondering about the growth of women in tech

Are Return To The Office Demands Killing The Growth Of Women In Tech?

Within the tech sector, we’re seeing growth in the number of women in tech roles. However, could the return to work mandates slow down this progress?

a group of professionals discussing their tech talent acquisition

Tech Talent Acquisition Challenges: Top 11 Tips To Secure Great Tech Talent

Are you having issues with your tech talent acquisition? With 9 in 10 industry leaders struggling to find great tech talent, improve your processes with these 11 tips!

Latest jobs