Back to Hiring & Recruiting

Best Practices for Employee Pre-Boarding

Written by:

Talia Knowles is an avid reader, writer, and coffee enthusiast, with over five years of experience in writing and editing.

Reviewed by:

As a seasoned HR professional with over 20 years of experience, Keca is an expert in various aspects of Human Resources.

Best Practices for Employee Pre-Boarding

Best Practices for Employee Pre-Boarding

Employee engagement is a critical aspect of running a successful business, and experienced HR professionals know that the most effective employee engagement strategy begins well before the employee’s first day of work. 

Employee pre-boarding is the process of engaging and preparing new hires before their official start date at a company and involves activities aimed at welcoming and familiarizing new employees with the organization, its culture, and their future role. 

What Is Pre-Boarding?

Employee pre-boarding typically begins as soon as a candidate accepts a job offer and continues until their first day of work.

Pre-boarding aims to make new hires feel welcomed, informed, and connected, ensuring a smooth transition into their new position.

Employee pre-boarding seeks to alleviate any anxieties or uncertainties new hires may have, set clear expectations, foster engagement and excitement, and lay the groundwork for a positive onboarding experience. 

By investing in pre-boarding, organizations can help new employees feel valued, supported, and prepared for their new role, ultimately contributing to their long-term success and retention within the company.

During the pre-boarding phase, new employees may receive welcome messages, information about the company’s mission, values, and culture, access to relevant documents and paperwork, introductions to key team members and stakeholders, and any necessary instructions or preparations for their first day. 

Pre-boarding can also involve assigning a mentor or buddy to support the new hire, providing them with resources for professional development, and facilitating connections with their future colleagues.

Setting the Stage for Pre-Boarding

The time between signing a job offer and actually beginning work can sometimes cause stress to new hires if they aren’t provided with a timeline and other informative materials. 

If they sign an offer and then experience radio silence for the weeks leading up to their start dates, some employees may feel anxious about the security of their new position. Prevent nervousness or cold feet by staying in close contact with new hires. 

Inform them about the arrival time, dress code, parking arrangements, and whether they need to bring lunch. Addressing these minor concerns helps prevent your company from being associated with unnecessary stress, so strive to provide as much clarity as possible.

Pre-Boarding Activities

The essence of pre-boarding is to ensure that employees feel as equipped as possible before their first day of work. 

Even though it may be too early to start doing real work, that doesn’t mean it’s too early for new hires to engage with their new organization. In the first few days after they sign their offer letter, take steps to welcome new hires and introduce them to the company culture. 

Encourage your team to send welcoming messages through work communication channels. This can simultaneously help new hires get acquainted with their team and with essential communication platforms. 

Other actions, such as providing necessary documentation and paperwork and granting access to relevant resources and tools, can also help prepare employees by allowing them to carefully consider decisions like benefit choices and 401k contributions. 

Moreover, completing these tasks in advance eliminates the need to tackle them during their initial week on the job, reducing stress and enabling them to focus entirely on training.

Personalizing the Pre-Boarding Experience

Personalize the pre-boarding experience wherever possible to make new hires feel valued by their new organization. Though a standard pre-boarding checklist or guide can streamline the process and ensure nothing is forgotten, it can also feel impersonal. 

Small steps like adding individualized notes or going over materials in person or over a call can make new hires feel valued and quickly answer any questions they may have. Also, be sure only to share material that is relevant to their position, as excess documents might be confusing or feel overly impersonal. 

Assigning a buddy or mentor is a simple but effective way to help new hires integrate. They might feel more comfortable approaching a peer with questions and can begin acclimating to company culture before starting work. 

Engaging and Connecting with New Hires

You don’t have to wait until the first day for your new hire to get acquainted with their team. In fact, the pre-boarding phase is an ideal time for introductions. Email the new hire introducing their future colleagues, or encourage team members to reach out individually. 

If there is an upcoming event, consider inviting the new hire to allow them to meet everyone in a relaxed setting. This approach helps alleviate first-day anxieties by demonstrating the friendliness and welcoming nature of the team.

While starting a new job can be nerve-wracking for some individuals, it is an exciting milestone for others. As an employer, it is crucial to recognize the significance of this moment for your new hires by sending them small welcome gifts. 

Branded sweatshirts, mugs, pens, or other office supplies offered by your company can be sent before their first day. Additionally, ensure that necessary job-related items, such as uniforms or computers, are provided. This gesture excites new hires and conveys your care while setting the stage for their perception of you as an employer.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Pre-Boarding

As always, measuring the effectiveness of your pre-boarding process can equip you with the information you need to constantly improve it. 

Assess the pre-boarding stage’s impact on new employees’ integration and success within the organization by establishing clear objectives and gathering feedback through surveys or interviews to evaluate new hires’ perceptions and experiences. 

Monitoring time-to-productivity and retention rates can also provide insights into the program’s effectiveness and measure employee satisfaction and completion of the onboarding process.

Additionally, tracking performance metrics and seeking feedback from managers can help gauge the overall impact of preboarding. By utilizing these methods, organizations can gather data to assess the effectiveness of their preboarding efforts and make necessary improvements to enhance the onboarding experience for new employees.


Though sometimes overlooked as a part of onboarding, creating and implementing an employee pre-boarding strategy can significantly boost the employee experience and improve retention rates

Unfortunately, many organizations focus primarily on hiring and onboarding but skip the step between those two stages: employee pre-boarding

Pre-boarding encompasses activities such as sharing important documents, completing hiring paperwork, and introducing new hires to the team. 

As all of these steps can be completed before the employee’s first day of work, they help new hires begin acclimating as soon as they sign their offer letter. 

The time between accepting a position and starting work can be nerve-wracking for some people, and an organization’s lack of communication often worsens matters. 

Improve your organization’s employee retention and the new hire’s experience by investing in a pre-boarding process. Your new hires and your organization as a whole will thank you for it. 

Employee Pre-Boarding FAQs

Why is employee pre-boarding important?

Employee pre-boarding helps new hires feel welcomed, informed, and connected to the organization even before they join. It sets the stage for a positive onboarding experience and can increase employee engagement, productivity, and retention. Especially if there is a long period of time between accepting a position and beginning work, pre-boarding can keep new hires engaged and excited for their first day. 

When should employee pre-boarding start?

Ideally, pre-boarding should begin as soon as a candidate accepts a job offer. This allows sufficient time to complete necessary paperwork, provide relevant information, and establish communication channels before the official start date. This doesn’t mean they need access to all relevant materials immediately. Still, even a small action like adding them to work communication channels and sending a welcoming message can get the pre-boarding stage started on the right foot.

What activities are typically included in employee pre-boarding?

Employee pre-boarding activities can vary depending on the organization. Still, they often include:

  • Welcome emails or messages from the hiring manager or HR team
  • Provision of necessary paperwork and documentation
  • Access to company resources, such as employee handbooks or online tools
  • Introductions to key team members and stakeholders
  • Preparation for the first day, including logistical information and expectations.
How can pre-boarding be personalized for individual employees?

Personalization can be achieved by tailoring the pre-boarding experience to individual needs and roles. This may include assigning a buddy or mentor, providing role-specific resources, or conducting virtual meet-and-greet sessions with relevant team members.

How can employers engage and connect with new hires during pre-boarding?

Employers can engage new hires by encouraging participation in social channels or online communities, organizing virtual team-building activities, and facilitating connections with peers and colleagues through introductions or virtual networking events.

What support and resources should be provided during pre-boarding?

New hires should be provided with information about benefits and perks, resources for professional development, and guidance on navigating the organization. This helps them feel supported and equipped to succeed in their new role.

How can the effectiveness of pre-boarding be measured?

The effectiveness of pre-boarding can be measured by gathering feedback from new hires through surveys or interviews. Additionally, tracking retention rates and early performance indicators can provide insights into the impact of pre-boarding on employee engagement and success.