5 Tips to Keep New Hires Engaged Before Their Start Date

Finding talent is hard (which is why I attend and teach a course several times a year designed to teach me how to recruit and hire). Keeping them excited and engaged when you’ve got them on the bench for five years is even harder (and the topic for another post). But, what I want to talk about today is what to do once you’ve made a hire, but there is a delay in their start date (for example, if they are moving across the country, need to give 30 days notice at their current job, or are waiting for a major bonus before making the move).

In the past three years alone, Adam Hergenrother Companies has attracted talent from Utah, Florida, Maine, Texas, Colorado, Alaska, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Minnesota, Connecticut, as well as all across Vermont. The majority of these top candidates did not accept our offer on a Friday and start two Mondays later. Nope. Some of these candidates accepted an opportunity at our company and then joined us 30 days, 60 days, or even several months later.

The potential is pretty high for an employee to back out of an offer when they delay their start date more than a couple of weeks. But there are several things you can do to mitigate that risk. You’ve invested a lot of time and resources finding the right hire (or at least you should have!), it’s not going to hurt to put in a little extra time and effort to keep them engaged, excited, and ready to hit the ground running on their first day.

Here are 5 ways to keep your new hire engaged before their first day:

  1. ASSIGN A POINT OF CONTACT —> This can be the hiring manager, your HR coordinator, the employee’s new supervisor, or a team member who’s been working at your company for a while. It doesn’t really matter who it is, as long as the new employee has one point person who can answer all of their questions. These are probably not going to be compensation or job specific question. More often than not the new employee is going to want to know how long it will really take to get to the office in morning traffic? Do people bring their lunches or go out? Who should I email for XYZ? Are ties really optional? Having someone to answer these questions and someone they know will be a friendly face on the first day will work wonders in keeping the new employee connected even though they won’t be starting for 1-3 months. It is also the responsibility of the point person to check in once or twice a week via email, phone, or text to see how they are doing wrapping up their old job/packing up their house, make sure they have given their notice in the time frame they had originally indicated, make sure they are still excited and their mindset is right, as well as communicating any relevant information from the company.
  2. INCLUDE THEM ON TEAM COMMUNICATION —> Once your new hire is made, let the team know that they will be joining and when. In the meantime, start CCing them on everything relevant (and non-proprietary). I think this is a great way to get them feeling included immediately. Not only are you giving a new hire a glimpse into the assignments and projects that they will be working on, but on how the team communicates. Giving the new hire insight into the work load and work flow, gets them thinking about the company as theirs. It may even spark a brilliant idea that they can bring to the company and implement on day one. It also teaches them some of the language and culture of your company. Make sure you let them know that they aren’t required to participate, it’s just a way to get their feet wet as they make the transition.
  3. GET THEM INTO THE COMPANY RHYTHM —> Whenever possible, get your new hires on any calls or meetings that they can be on. One of our companies has a morning power-up and a weekly CEO call. Perfect. Have them dial in and listen. If there are monthly company meetings, either invite them if they are local or have them Skype in. Get as many daily, weekly, or monthly calls/meetings on their calendar as possible and have them jump in whenever they can. They have accepted the offer and want to be a part of the team – so get them connected and experiencing the rhythm of meetings, check-ins, etc. as quickly as possible.
  4. INVITE THEM TO TRAINING —> Whether it’s a live training, a webinar that someone from your team is hosting, or a national conference – get your new hire there. Again, it’s simply another touch point, a way for them to feel a part of the team, to start getting a feel for the work, and to understand the culture. Even better, they will get a jump on some of the company training before their first day. That’s a win-win for both of you.
  5. TAKE THEM TO LUNCH —> Lunch, dinner, cocktails, coffee… it doesn’t matter. Get your hiring manager or the new hire’s supervisor and the new employee together in an informal setting and let the conversation flow. This should be the same person as the point of contact in point 1 (and maybe even bring along a couple of other key team members). If this is a new hire that is relocating, instead of lunch, you could schedule an evening Zoom call when everyone’s relaxed and not distracted by the minutia of the work day. This is the opportunity for the new employee and the supervisor to bond early on and help the new hire prepare for their first day.

Okay, I know… this definitely seems like a lot, but you don’t have to do everything and in fact, your staff will do most of it! Pick one or two things that will work for you and that fit into your company culture. It’s worth the time to nurture your new hire and bring them into the fold, especially when they won’t be starting right away.

Now that you’re armed with these tips, don’t ever let the timing of a new hire stop you from bringing the very best of the best into your world. Top talent will be ready when the right opportunity comes their way. Top employers will wait a few weeks longer for top talent if they have to.

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