Genghis Khan: “Subutai, considering your previous experience, hunger for success, your interview performance and culture fit, we are extremely happy to tell you that we wish to appoint you as our general and chief military strategist. You will be leading one of the Tumen and will be in charge of our European ops.”
Subutai: “Thank you, it feels great to know that you see me as fit for this responsibility.”
Genghis Khan: “We are ready to offer you 8 trunks of gold annually and 4 more trunks based on your performance.”
*ensue salary negotiations*
Subutai: “Great! I am looking forward to joining the company as soon as my two months' notice period ends.”
Genghis Khan: “ Fantastic! Looking forward to seeing you around.”
And now, the limbo begins.
From this point on, the period of the poker face begins, not knowing what your candidate is up to, and just keeping your fingers crossed that he would turn up on the given date. Many a time, that just doesn’t happen.
This is a common scenario for companies worldwide, with particularly severe consequences for younger companies. After all, your hiring manager has other roles to fill and simply cannot repeat the process in finding a replacement. This is why an effective preboarding process that keeps candidates engaged and motivated is one of the most critical parts of any recruitment process.
Time saved = Time spent interviewing candidate + their notice period + time needed to find a replacement.
To implement a successful preboarding process, take a moment and step into the shoes of your candidate. Switching jobs is a monumental decision for any individual with numerous implications stretching far into their personal life.
In the hiring phase, the individual and the organization assess each other on professional compatibility and, work-life culture fit. But post offer, all the factors that play a vital role in the personal life of the individual come alive. So any preboarding strategy must help him (candidate) navigate this daunting phase.
Help him counter the confusion
Let’s face it, no one places all their eggs in one basket. When your candidate is talking to you, know that he is interviewing with other companies, too. And when he lands an offer from you, a wee bit of optimism creeps in that he can also land that dream offer from that other company that’s doing the rounds in the press. By virtue of having to serve a two-month notice period, he might as well try out that role his mom-in-law keeps bench-marking him against. Note, this is also the stage where the dreaded counter offer is made to him by his existing company.
A tiny thought does cross his mind: if this is the moment of redemption he wanted all along? How do you counter this? Simple, give him what made him look for a new job in the first place, motivation. Show him you’re excited to have him on the team!
Ship him some of your swag! That awesome t-shirt and some stickers to flaunt his new family proudly to everyone. Go a step further by sending a handwritten welcome card from his to-be teammates or an audio/video message welcoming him (human voice and expressions can convey more excitement than a photograph or a paragraph).
Show him you’re thrilled by sending some swag and a personalized welcome note!
Now... keep up the excitement!
Once the excitement pumps up, any thoughts of other companies go into the back burner and now you are the standard for any other company to match.
With all the excitement comes curiosity, to know more about the people he will be working with. So, connect socially in the networks the person is more active in. Invite him over to your office to meet the folks he is going to be alongside or to the company retreat that’s happening during this period. This would give him a great way to relate to his teammates. Also, assign him a buddy with whom he has the most mutual connections. By assigning a buddy who is a peer, all his simple doubts will get a human answer instead of a rule directory. A buddy during this stage will also be a great cornerstone for the overwhelming anxiety that might follow this.
Invite him over to the office or dinner and let him get acquainted with the folks he is going to be working alongside.
Address the creeping anxiety
Just like in the case of a hangover, anxiety boils up after the excitement curve stabilizes. The overwhelming realization of making the move across to a new town and a new office weighs in hard.
It is now common for companies to help their new joinees relocate by providing temporary accommodation for the first few days. Many good organizations are taking this a step further by engaging with the spouses and connecting them with a helpful rental agent or providing a recommendation for a good school for the kids.
While already under immense pressure to wrap up existing projects at his current place of work, the gratification an individual receives at this stage will definitely boost the morale and the eagerness to be part of your company.
It is a tough transition, share a bit of their burden and help him out.
Induct him into the family
With the date of joining so close, observe your candidate’s response so far and jump in if any intervention is required. Just don’t let any eleventh-hour disaster wreck your plans now.
And if everything has been going well, maybe it is time kick-start induction by letting them know about the developments in the company or the team.
An email such as this (ideally, from the reporting manager) inculcates the feeling of already being invested in the organization and can make the date of joining more like a formal practice to be followed.
Share a few non-critical updates on what is happening in the team and make the joining date seem more of a formality.
And then, happily ever after
A well thought out preboarding can make the transition seem more like a calculated chess move than a wait for the lottery announcement. Not only does preboarding prevent attrition, it is also a great way to build loyalty towards the company and most importantly their time to effectiveness.
All the points in this blog post have been summarized into a checklist you can duplicate and implement.