A better start for your new employees with pre-onboarding

Starting a new job is exciting and requires a lot of learning, both about the job content and practicalities. With pre-onboarding, you can slow the initial flood of information and ensure that the first few days go smoothly. This also reduces the workload for managers, as there is no need to review basic issues and time spent together can be used more effectively.

Pre-onboarding involves going through basic information about the employer and employment relationship, and providing practical instructions about conduct in the workplace. Clarifying the practicalities from the start, from lunches to dress codes, eases a recruit’s feelings of insecurity and stress.

Pre-onboarding can be done online or e.g. with an instruction booklet. Online pre-onboarding enables monitoring of the onboarding process, while keeping all materials easily available on a smartphone.

What should be covered in pre-onboarding?

With pre-onboarding, you can streamline the initial days of employment and ease the flood of information. Pre-onboarding also makes managers' work easier, as time with employees can be used to discuss and work through issues together, rather than reviewing the basics.

Information about the employer

  • what does our business involve and why do we do what we do?
  • what kinds of customers do we serve and what do they appreciate in us?
  • how will your own contribution help us to achieve our goals?

Practical work instructions

  • arriving at work and getting around the premises
  • instructions and facilities for meals and breaks
  • dress codes and phone use
  • instructions on the employment relationship and salary payment
  • instructions promoting safe and efficient work
  • Instructions on working together
  • shared values and principles
  • what kinds of things we appreciate and measure
  • behaviour expected from our employees

It may be a good idea to provide younger employees with additional instructions on ground rules for working life, to avoid needless misunderstandings and friction.

You can download the free onboarding template at onboardingtemplate.com.

Instructions for pre-onboarding

Many new employees receive logins for the digital onboarding environment upon signing the employment contract, and can access onboarding materials on their phone or computer.

When pre-onboarding is done digitally, real-time reporting data is gathered on the process and managers can monitor the progress of onboarding. At the same time, information is documented on what the employee has been taught and understood.

Digital onboarding continues to be available to the employee, for easy reference to instructions on what to do when sick, or for finding payroll contact information if there are pay-related questions.

The following can be added to onboarding

  • a video greeting from the management or a supervisor
  • ticklists of issues to be handled at the start of the employment relationship
  • videos of customer stories or work phases
  • tests on applying working instructions in work-related situations
  • shared terminology and small terminology exercises
  • tasks including the gathering of information on important work-related concepts
  • instructions on who to contact for help in various situations

Other onboarding materials specific to a particular location or task are often used. When instructions are readily available and information on practical issues is easy to find, work is much smoother, even when an employee transfers to a new position at short notice.

It should be noted that training is counted as work time. You should let your new coworker know how much time to reserve for pre-onboarding.

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