Pre-boarding? Non-Proprietary? No Problem!

How do you "pre-board" new employees with non-proprietary info?

I had a conversation the other day about pre-boarding employees prior to their start date.  A question was thrown back to me:  How can we pre-board employees before we’re able to give them access to proprietary systems and information?

I love questions like that.

Pre-boarding isn’t new employee orientation or training, but it is an important component of a new employee’s learning journey.  We need to see this phase as an opportunity to give the incumbent a glimpse into the culture of the organization s/he is joining.  It’s our chance to act on the natural level of engagement the new employee has about the new job.  Think about it: a new employee will never be as engaged as s/he is right after s/he accepts the job offer.  This is the time that an incumbent is burning up Google, searching for information on the company and its people.  And many times, that incumbent is on a wild goose chase, finding nothing more than the company website…which, let’s be honest, isn’t always the most effective or educational resource.

So, how can you reach these new employees, prior to their start date, to welcome them to the team and maybe even foster some learning?  Here are 8 ways you can accomplish this, without the need for proprietary systems or information.  Enjoy!

1. Send the new employee a team photo with someone holding up a “Can’t Wait to Meet You!” sign.  Include with a card signed by everyone on the team.

2. Create a brochure or booklet with helpful, non-proprietary industry resources – websites, books, blogs, active industry leaders/brands on Twitter, etc.

3. Encourage employees who are on LinkedIn to connect with the incumbent, to start building his/her network of colleagues. (Sidenote: are we connected on LinkedIn? Twitter?)

4. The hiring manager can set up a short meeting prior to the employee’s start date to provide guidance, helpful information, and discuss plans for the first day/week.  Take him/her to lunch!

5. Have someone on the team shoot a candid video via smartphone, capturing random day-to-day occurrences in the office.  Give a building tour, let him/her in on silly inside jokes, record someone setting up the new employee’s desk, etc.  Make it fun!

6. Meet the new employee for coffee/breakfast the morning of his/her start date – give him/her encouragement (and a little caffeine!) to start Day One on a positive note!

7. If possible, get a handwritten note from the CEO or other executive/department leader, welcoming the new employee to the team.

8. Does your company have a blog? In addition to industry information, encourage the new employee to read the posts, get familiar with the authors and subject matter, and even add comments! Get involved in the social culture of the organization!

Quickly immersing your new employee in the culture of your organization will help you capitalize upon the high engagement.  It will help the employee reaffirm his/her decision to join your company.  It will set the stage for learning.  It will encourage connections among the team…which makes everyone more effective!

It doesn’t have to be about a logging into a system. It doesn’t have to be formal.  It doesn’t have to be elaborate.  But it should be genuine.

So, your turn…what else?  What are other ways you can go beyond proprietary resources to help new employees learn?  I’d love to hear your ideas…

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6 thoughts on “Pre-boarding? Non-Proprietary? No Problem!

  1. Mike says:

    Great tips Michelle! All very good tips. Cool video idea! It’s also possible to get to know the new hire by giving them tips on how to get along with their new co-workers. Connecting on LinkedIn or twitter is great but you still have no idea how to get along with them short of guessing.

    The new hire doesn’t need access to a proprietary system since their data is already in the system. It will give them an opportunity to get comfortable with more than just their manager.

    • Michelle says:

      Thanks, Mike! I agree, giving a new employee insights into the “personality” of the team will help them become familiar with their new colleagues sooner. This would help the employee get to know the team as people, which balances their industry knowledge that they might find on social profiles. Good stuff!

  2. Colin says:

    Cool ideas, Michelle. I especially liked the idea of the brochure – seems like there are so many external networks/resources that we use on a daily basis. Giving folks a head start at learning non-proprietary resources (twitter, linkedin, etc if they aren’t already) could really help their transition. Thanks!

    • Michelle says:

      Hi Colin! With the technology and resources we have right at our fingertips, it’s never been more simple or accessible to put together an engaging plan to welcome new employees to the company, team, and role. Taking advantage of the time between offer acceptance and start date is the perfect time to get started. Thanks for your feedback!

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