Onboarding vs. Preboarding – Ways to Welcome New Team

If you’ve ever been involved in veterinary recruiting, you already know that hiring staff is only the first step in the process. In addition to bringing in the right team members, it’s equally important to get them acclimated to their new role as quickly and seamlessly as possible. To do this, most practice owners follow a certain onboarding process to get new employees situated and prepared to get started. But there’s another way you can help new team members hit the ground running. It’s called preboarding. Here’s how the two differ and how you can leverage preboarding in your own practice.

What is onboarding?

Onboarding is something most of us have experienced as part of the hiring process. It typically involves welcoming the new employee, introducing them to the team, showing them around, completing the necessary paperwork and going over the policies of the practice. Onboarding also typically involves getting the new team member access to any and all equipment or tools they will need to do their job, such as a work station, an email address, office keys, etc. Beyond the basics, the onboarding process will usually also include role-specific tasks, such as scheduling and training.

What is preboarding?

Preboarding takes the concept of onboarding and makes it more efficient. Rather than pulling a new employee away from their daily duties for a period of time, preboarding starts before the new team member’s first day. Obviously some things, such as covering practice policies, will still need to be handled in person, but others, such as completing paperwork, can be taken care of electronically before the employee starts work. This saves time during the hiring process and allows the new hire to focus on getting up and running on day one.

Advantages of Preboarding vs. Onboarding

In addition to taking care of all the formalities of the hiring process, preboarding also focuses on welcoming the new employee and setting their mind at ease prior to their first day of work. Starting a new job can be exciting, but the time between accepting the offer and starting the job can lead many people to second guess their decision. These feelings of uncertainty can be eliminated by engaging in other preboarding activities, such as:

* Sending out a group email announcing the new hire and encouraging everyone to take a moment to welcome their new colleague.

* Inviting the new hire to stop by the clinic to meet the team, tour the facility and learn more about where they’ll be working, what they’ll be doing and with whom.

* Scheduling a lunch with the new hire’s immediate team, enabling everyone to get to know one another in a more casual setting.

* Staying in touch in the interim and keeping the lines of communication open (i.e. sending an email inviting any questions and letting them know you’re preparing for their arrival, etc.).

Onboarding is an important part of hiring staff for your veterinary practice, but there’s no reason it should be put off until the official start date. Utilize the period of time before your new team member begins to take care of the details and keep them engaged and excited about jumping on board and getting started.