Preboarding or onboarding, what is the difference?

Terms like preboarding and onboarding are often used in the industry, but it can be difficult to know what the real difference between them is. To make it simple, you can say that preboarding and onboarding are two different phases in the process of introducing a new employee. Preboarding is the phase between a signed contract and the first day at work, while the onboarding starts from the first day and onwards during the first few weeks and even months on site.

Onboarding or preboarding?

As mentioned, the preboarding starts as soon as the person in question has signed the contract. The period between a signed contract and the first day is valuable time that must not be lost. A whopping 28% have at some point accepted a jobposition and then backed out before they started. It is often right after signing that the new employee is most curious and excited about their new adventure. Take advantage of this by sharing information about the company, the person's new role, and their new co-workers even before the first day. Feel free to also share information about what is expected of the person on the first day and what their schedule will look like. By sharing this information, you are creating a safe environment where your new employee feels well prepared.


Your new employee is now in place for his/her first day of work. Unlike preboarding, which was a preparatory phase, onboarding is much more about guidance and getting the person started as quickly as possible in their new role.

Since most of the informing were done in the preboarding phase, you can now focus on creating relationships, connect the person with their selected mentor, give access to all tools and logins and introduce them to your way of working. If you already have a knowledge hub with documented workflows, guides, and checklists, you are creating an even more efficient environment where your new employees can be productive from the get-go.

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