preboarding strategies for new hires
Employee Onboarding
Learning & Development
User Adoption
September 26, 2022

6 pre-boarding strategies to keep new hires engaged before their first day

Finding a new team member is an exciting moment, both for the successful candidate and for the company that’s hired them. But with 43% of new employees leaving their job within 90 days, it’s more important than ever to get off on the right foot.

You’ve probably already heard of employee onboarding strategies, and hopefully understand how valuable this can be for your new hires. But what about pre-boarding?

In this post, we’re going to look at some of the most effective ways to set your new employees up for success, before they even sit down at their desks.


  • Onboarding vs pre-boarding – what’s the difference?

  • Why employee pre-boarding is crucial

  • What are the benefits of pre-boarding?

  • How to get pre-boarding right

    • Send them a handwritten note

    • Reinforce your values and ethos

    • Send them pre-boarding merch

    • Help them with administration

    • Make an internal announcement

    • Let them poke around your LMS

Onboarding vs pre-boarding – what’s the difference?

The onboarding process starts the moment your new team member walks through the door —  or logs on from their kitchen table — to start their first day at work. The aim is to help them start to settle in. This means helping them to feel part of the team, understand their new role, and access the resources they’ll need to succeed.

Pre-boarding is everything that comes before. 

It’s the process of building a relationship with your new employee while they’re working through their notice in their previous role. Sending an email ‘just to check in’ and letting them know that you’re excited about their start date? That’s pre-boarding… and it’s important.

Why employee pre-boarding is crucial

The first few months after starting a new job should be a time for settling in and getting to know your new environment. For a surprising number of employees, however, it’s a time for second thoughts. Astonishingly, 20% of all employee turnover happens in the first 45 days with a new company.

Companies need to ask themselves why this is. Some workplaces might have a toxic culture, and some staff will obviously find that the role isn’t exactly what they’d expected, but this can hardly account for such a significant statistic.

The answer probably comes down to emotions. We’re emotional beings, and we need to feel important and valued by the people around us. Put simply, if a job isn’t emotionally as well as physically engaging, we leave. 

Pre-boarding creates that emotional connection.

What are the benefits of pre-boarding?

Pre-boarding doesn’t just help with the retention of your valuable new talent. A great pre-boarding experience helps set your new hire up for onboarding, and ultimately be happy and productive in their new environment.

The direct benefits of pre-boarding include:

  • Improved experience on their first day

  • More time for first-day training

  • Faster integration with their team, leading to greater collaboration

  • Higher confidence for new hires

  • Improved understanding of company culture and values

How to get pre-boarding right

1. Send them a handwritten note

It might sound old-fashioned, but a handwritten note is a surprisingly touching and effective gesture. Where many of us struggle to keep our unread emails to a bare minimum, a letter arriving through the post (that isn’t a bill or an advert for a credit card) can be a wonderful surprise.

If this is too much effort, even a new hire email can help them feel welcome.

2. Reinforce your values and ethos

Ask yourself why your new hire chose to apply to work for you, and why they accepted your offer. Chances are, part of the answer will be that they thought your organisation would be a great place to work.

Pre-boarding is the perfect time to show them that they were right.

The application and interview stage can be very much like a first date. Both the company and the candidate are on their best behaviour. Pre-boarding is the stage where they find out whether you (metaphorically) leave your socks lying around or forget to put the toilet seat down.

Being consistent with your values demonstrates that you really mean what you say. 

Asking your new hire about the application process and asking for suggestions can be a great way to prove that you care about your staff experience.

3. Send them pre-boarding merch

We’ve already mentioned that pre-boarding is about creating an emotional connection between your company and your new hire. Free stuff is a great way to make someone feel valued.

Your first day at work gift doesn’t need to be expensive or elaborate. Even something as simple as a branded mug or t-shirt can give your new hire positive feelings. 

For top marks, offer something that shows a little bit of the personal touch. If they mention their pet dog, for example, sending a few dog biscuits can win over the hearts of pooch and owner alike.

4. Help them with administration

Asking future employees to complete too many admin tasks in advance of their first day can be a red flag, indicating that a company doesn’t respect employees’ free time. 

Leaving all the admin for the first day, however, sets your new hire up for a tedious and frustrating first few days. Not ideal.

Pre-boarding helps you strike the right balance. Give new starters all the information they need to complete admin tasks in advance of their first day if they wish, whilst also letting them know that you’re around to help.

This simple message shows that you respect their boundaries, trust them to make their own decisions, and are happy to support them when needed. Not a bad result for a single email.

5. Make an internal announcement to prep for a team-wide welcome

This is the modern equivalent of hanging up a new employee welcome sign. Let your existing team members know about the exciting new person about to join them and encourage them to prepare ways to welcome their new colleague.

It’s also helpful to have an employee introduction process. It might be as simple as funding a ‘coffee and cake’ meetup whenever you have a new hire. Just try to avoid the “tell us one interesting fact about yourself” awkwardness if at all possible.

6. Let them poke around your learning platform

Don’t forget that your new hire may well be as excited (and anxious) about their approaching start date as you are. Give them the opportunity to hit the ground running by giving them early access to your learning platform.

This allows them to start learning ready for their first day (a great way to settle nerves!) and shows how important employee training and development are to you.

Rather than expecting your new hires to hunt for the pre-boarding information they want, why not set up a one-stop shop for exciting new talent? My Learning Hub makes it easy (and affordable) to engage with successful candidates from the very start.

Get in touch now to find out more about how My Learning Hub can help you get off on the right foot with your new hires. 

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