After a lengthy recruitment process, you’ve finally found your ideal candidate, and you’re ready to get them started. 

Onboarding is more than simply job training or employee orientation -it’s the bridge that helps new hires cross the gap between them and their new company. It’s the formal process of welcoming new employees into your business to keep them committed enough to stay at your organisation for the long haul. If you start onboarding your employees on day one, you’re already too late!

We often see employee onboarding as a series of events designed to introduce new employees to your company, the team, and other aspects of their new job. For instance, most employee onboarding processes include:

  • a welcome event;
  • getting the necessary paperwork completed;
  • setting up the technical equipment;
  • registering for training programs;
  • enrolling for healthcare and other benefits;
  • learning about the company’s values and mission.

But what if we started onboarding people sooner? What if we started engaging new talent when they accepted the job? Your first thoughts may be, “What’s the point? They haven’t even started yet!” or “We can relax now; they’ve accepted the job!”. Most companies will carry out some form of pre-onboarding, perhaps in the form of paperwork or payroll information. However, does it make for a good employee experience? Your pre-onboarding process should have new candidates raring to go and excited to get stuck into their new roles. They need to be reassured that they have made the right decision to choose your company to work for.

Creating a good first impression

We all know the importance of an excellent first impression. Once a candidate has accepted the job offer, they are often left to their own devices. Pre-onboarding is your opportunity to create a positive first impression of your business and should be engaging, straightforward and memorable. Even though they have accepted your job offer, it is a crucial time for your candidate because they will feel uncertain about their new role. You don’t want them to have second thoughts about taking on a new job, particularly with candidates who were encouraged to make a move from another company. The successful hiring of a new employee and their acceptance of a job offer does not mean that you are over the finish line – candidates may very well be weighing up other job offers. But signing the offer letter doesn’t always guarantee that your new hire will show up on their first day. You need to reassure the candidate that they made the right decision to become part of your organisation. An effective pre-onboarding process lets your new recruit feel like a welcome and valued part of your organisation before they have even walked through the door.

Here’s how you can engage new hires during the uncertain phase, from offer acceptance until their first day on the job:


  • Make it personal – a few personal touches go a long way to making your new employee feel valued before starting work. Are they new to the area, and can you give them any pointers as to the best places to get coffee, best restaurants, best places to live?
  • Send small gestures in the weeks before they start, such as a ‘Welcome’ card, a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates to show that you are looking forward to them starting. Even a welcome email before their first day will go a long way towards showing that you have put in the effort.
  • Prepare and send welcome packs featuring helpful information that will benefit them on their first day. Where should they park? Who should they ask for on arrival? What’s the dress code? Produce a schedule of what they will be doing on Day One, or even Week One or Month One. This will help set their expectations for the start of their new job.
  • Schedule a coffee or lunch with their team/manager before they start to help integrate them into the team and help them understand the work attitude of their manager and new teammates.
  • Notify them of future team socials or events, which will make them feel like part of the organisation and give them the impression of fun.
  • Check-in regularly with your recruit before they start. Although sending over all of the necessary paperwork is essential, they will undoubtedly have lots of questions and uncertainty, so make sure you stay connected.
  • New employees will undoubtedly be nervous before their first day so put them at ease. It is essential to communicate what is expected of them and who they can contact if they have any questions or concerns.
  • Introduce a buddy system by pairing them with a colleague to act as their point of contact.
  • Share your company handbook so that they understand your business before they start.

How Cogito Excellence can help with your pre-onboarding process

Pre-onboarding is the process of exciting and engaging your new hires from acceptance of the job offer until their first day on the job. It can alleviate first-day nerves, generate a buzz and excitement about starting a new job, create loyalty and boost productivity. The ultimate goal of a great pre-onboarding process is to reassure candidates that they have made the right choice when accepting your job offer. However, setting up an effective pre-onboarding strategy can often be time-consuming for an employer. Maybe you’re looking for ideas on creating a ‘Pre-onboarding Checklist’ for when your new candidates start or tips on how to engage and excite your newly hired talent; Cogito Excellence can help you create and deliver an effective pre-onboarding programme! Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

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