Why You Should Get New Hires 'On Board' Before Day 1


Your company has one chance to make a first impression. This is especially true for brand-conscious Second-wave Millennials. If you want your new employees to start their job on the right foot and stick around long term, the first day counts — so, don’t spend that valuable time on benefits and payroll paperwork.

The Society for Human Resources Management warns not to confuse “onboarding” with “orientation.” Orientation is getting the paperwork done, logging onto software and learning where the bathrooms are located.

Onboarding is a process that, done correctly, can help ensure your best employees are retained for the long haul. Onboarding can and should include meeting with key players, learning about the company and its competitors, understanding and absorbing the company’s culture, learning soft-skills, and even matching up mentors and mentees.

Technology is allowing managers to start getting new hires both oriented and onboarded before the first day at work, and that technology can be as easy as email. Here are a few ways to get that done:


When the HR department sends a new hire their paperwork a few days early or gives them access to a paperwork portal (many insurance companies have this now), employees can fill out the paperwork at their leisure and easily look up information they need or consult with their family or financial adviser as needed. This removes some of the paperwork stress from the first day.


Giving new employees access to their email early — and having a few key players send ‘Welcome aboard!’ emails with information about their role and more — can make new employees feel like they’re part of the team and help them start off on the right foot before they even arrive.

If there’s any required technology training, that’s also something your new employee can start early through controlled online access, on-demand webinars and other training tools. This will help them start doing substantive work sooner and contributing to the team faster.

In addition, have the IT department fully set up the person’s workstation, mobile device and everything else before the new employee arrives. Being able to quickly and easily login on the first day shows the employee that they’re valued, and it gives a good first impression that the company is organized and on top of details.

Providing your new employees the best possible experience before starting their first day will not only ramp up their productivity, but gives them a sense that they are cared for by your company. Remember: These young Second-wave Millennials expect hands-on guidance and direction. Building a positive experience early will get them off on the right foot and pay off for the long haul, contributing to the success, and your company’s success.