Written by:
Christine Christodoulou

New starter ghosting: Your guide to pre-boarding candidates correctly.

Urban Dictionary describes the term ‘ghosting’ as – “when a person cuts off all communication with their friends or the person they’re dating, with zero warning or notice before hand”. Ouch.

The professional world is also no stranger to ‘ghosting’ either. According to Indeed, 83% of employers have experienced being ghosted from new starters, where a candidate has been offered a role, accepted it and then not turned up on the first day.

CNBC have said that in fact, 1 in 5 workers who accept a job offer will turn out to be a ‘no-show’ on their first day.

Now first things first, this is pretty bad practice from the new starter and definitely not the most professional way to go about things. (Also, just saying, if you’re working with a recruiter – this is extremely bad candidate management from their side.) But…new starter aside, managers really need to be getting to the route of the problem and asking themselves the question, why?

Is this just a nightmare candidate or did they not do enough at the pre-boarding stage to keep their new starter engaged?

If your new hires feel neglected during the time between offer and start-date, they may feel undervalued, unenthusiastic, and their perception of your brand could suffer as result. The main aim when it comes to pre-boarding should be preparing your new team-mate for their new role and creating a sense of excitement and engagement.

If you wait until day one to engage a new hire, you may have left it too late…

So, here’s some of the things you can incorporate into your pre-boarding strategy to limit your chance of new-starter ghosting…

Make a touch point plan…

When it comes to keeping new starters engaged before their start day communication is key.

Depending on the size of your organisation, pre-boarding should be a shared responsibility that isn’t just placed with HR or back-office. Diarise some key touch points with the relevant people throughout your new starter’s pre-board phase.

Consider building a ‘touch point guide’ for their immediate managers with ideas and a timeline of when to reach out to their new joiners to ensure the ball is kept rolling before they start.

Introduce the team…

This is a big one.

Whilst COVID restrictions are in place, consider inviting your new starter for video calls with various team members throughout their pre-boarding period. Meeting and getting to know their future colleagues is not only a great way to fast track your new starters integration with their new team, but also gives them a better understanding of the company culture and what to expect when they start.

Outside of COVID, why not invite them to your after work drinks on a Friday? Or your Monday morning breakfast meets? Building these relationships early on, will increase your new starter’s sense of belonging and excitement of joining your team.

Send a personalised welcome message or present…

We don’t care what anyone says…everyone loves receiving gifts. Why not put a smile on your new employee’s face and send some company merchandise ahead of their start-date? This is a great way to get them familiarised with your brand but also, this alongside a personalised message from your founder, CEO or new manager will make them feel valued from the get-go. Small gestures go a long way at pre-boarding phase.

Build a new starter guide…

New starter guides are a great way to engage your new starters from day dot.

New start guides should include content and assets that help your new employee get to grips with everything about your business. From their teammates and their job roles/ responsibilities, to what they can expect on their first week.

This helps your new-starter know you care about their experience of starting a new role at their company, and that you want to give them the support they need to thrive at your business.

Spread the good news…

Make sure your new starter is added to group chats and channels before their start-date. It’s important for new employees to hear about the good news, client wins and team promotions ahead of joining your business.

You could also invite your new starters to companywide meetings and roundups. This helps them feel connected to the business and feel in the know of what’s going on. It also creates a level of excitement and validates their decision to join your organisation.

Preboarding and Onboarding new employees are critical points in the talent acquisition lifecycle. Forbes says 20% of employee turnover occurs within the first 45 days of joining a company. There’s no question why HR teams and managers are considering new approaches to onboarding.

Next week (25th March 2021) we’ll be joined by Charlotte Richmond (Talent Manager at Aiimi) and Chris Newton (VP of Engineering at Immersive Labs) for our next Workplace 2.0 session where we’ll be talking all about virtual onboarding. Charlotte will be talking us through Aiimi’s success and how they’ve successfully onboarded 30 new members of staff in the last 12 months and Chris will be adding value from a candidate perspective, having gone through an exceptional onboarding process with Immersive Labs in Summer 2020.

If you’re looking to improve your onboarding process this year, you could definitely benefit from the advice and experiences our guests will bring. To find out more info about the webinar, click here.


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