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"65% of employers say they have had job seekers accept an offer and then not show up for their first day of work."

Data suggests that if you're waiting until your new employee's first day to start your onboarding process, you may have left it too late. According to Indeed, nearly 60% of companies report having had candidates become unresponsive after accepting a verbal offer. Moreover, 65% of employers say they have had job seekers accept an offer and then not show up for their first day of work. There are many reasons why this happens, but the time between a candidate accepting the job and their start date is likely the main factor.

For a lot of people working within the Pharma and Life Science sectors, they can have anywhere from 1 to 3 months’ notice period before they’ll be able to start with you. After all the time and effort you put into the recruitment process, the last thing you’ll want is for them to drop out before they’ve even started.  

The longer a prospects notice period, the more time they have to change their mind or be persuaded to stay at their current workplace. Having a pre-boarding strategy in place will remind them what great things they’ll achieve at your company and why you’re excited to have them on board. How you do this will very much depend on your company culture, available budget and creative ideas. But the important thing is to have a plan in place to set your new joiners up for success.

We look at five ways you can keep new employees engaged pre-start date 


Stay in the frame

It's a simple idea, but an invaluable one. Keeping in touch with your new employee will keep their interest alight ready to join your company. How often you do this will depend on their notice period length, but once or twice a month should be sufficient. As well as using these calls to see if they have any unanswered questions etc. it’ll also help you to start to build a relationship with them, discovering more about them as a person, which in turn will help them feel like a valued member of the team.  

Use one of these catch-up calls to ask them how their resignation went. If they mention their current company tried to counter offer or have been regularly discussing how much they’ll miss them, this might give you a reason to put in extra effort during their notice period to make sure they definitely start with you.

Send a starter pack 

Sending a new starter pack in the post will help to make any new hire feel valued and will show that you go above and beyond as a company for your employees. A welcome pack can also be a great tool to share information about your company. You could include:

  • Company mission and vision/employee handbook
  • HR forms e.g. employee contract, benefits, company policies
  • Agenda for their first day and month – what to expect
  • Office map/parking instructions
  • Employee directory
  • Log in details
  • Local guide to cafes, restaurants, parks, gyms etc.
  • A personalised welcome letter or card
  • Personalised branded gifts (we send a branded mug and some hot chocolate)

Remember that a welcome pack serves a very specific purpose: to make employees feel welcome, and to create a sense of belonging.

When deciding what to add to your pack, ask yourself:

  • What do we want the first impression of the company to be?
  • What does our new starter need to know?
  • What are our values as a brand and how can we communicate that through this package?
  • Are there any elements we use on a daily basis that we can use?


Big up your benefits 

Be sure to reiterate why your new hire should look forward to their first day working at your company. Shouting about your culture and benefits package highlights the value that your business places on its workforce! This can be done within your welcome pack/welcome letter or it can be communicated through your teams, but bringing it to the fore goes a long way to motivating and inspiring new hires. Often benefits packages are hidden due to what they lack – shout out about yours and staff retention numbers will see the rewards.

Employee wellbeing is a key trend for 2023 and employers should actively help promote it so keep this in mind during all communications. Liaise with your new starter as to how and when you’ll get any equipment to them (if working remotely) and ask them if they have any needs beyond the obvious such as a laptop stand or desktop riser to make them more comfortable. 

Introduce the wider team

Create a welcoming experience for your new starter by introducing them to the wider team who they will be working alongside. This will go a long way to make your new recruit feel part of the team before they officially start. Suggest a virtual catch up and maybe an ice breaker so that they can engage with other employees in a laid back atmosphere and encourage them to ask any questions they may want to ask in an informal setting. 

If you have a company org chart or 'meet the team' sheet, send it over so that they can begin to familiarise themselves with the 'who's-who' of their new environment. This can really help them feel more at ease and will help make their first day seem much less daunting. It should also include contact details of anyone you think they might need to reach out to in their first few weeks in the role, so include key support staff such as HR, payroll and office manager etc. so that they are able to iron out any potential issues or answer any questions prior to starting. 

Loop them into internal comms

Keep your new starter informed of any company updates or include them in any internal communications/events/newsletters. This will help them to feel included and already a part of your company culture, which his is key when setting out your pre-onboarding strategy.

Colleagues serve as company ambassadors so use this as an opportunity to share best practices on how to welcome a new employee internally. These could be as simple as encouraging employees to connect with new hires on LinkedIn. They can add a simple note saying, “Congrats on accepting the offer! Looking forward to working with you soon.” 


However you decide to approach your pre-onboarding strategy for new hires. It should follow a model which has the following elements in mind:

  1. Make new employees feel instantly appreciated and part of the group
  2. Inspire and create excitement and energy to get started in their new role
  3. A good icebreaker with fellow colleagues
  4. Useful information to help new starters quickly get up to speed
  5. Ideas to engage your new hire by making them valued

Need help growing your team?

Carrot work in partnership with a large number of Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences companies and consultancies, fulfilling their recruitment needs across functional teams within commercial, clinical development, R&D and manufacturing. 

From Clinical Research Nurses, Pharma Sales Specialists, Medical Writers, Regulatory Affairs Managers, Medical Affairs Officers to HEOR Associate roles - we will find you the perfect candidate.

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