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How to use internal communications to create an outstanding onboarding experience

Effective onboarding is shown to increase employee engagement, boost new hire productivity and improve retention. Despite these statistics, studies show that only 12% of employees feel their company does a good job onboarding new hires (Gallup).

Whether you’re a communications professional building a company-wide employee engagement strategy, or a human resources leader looking to up-level your organization’s onboarding process, it’s important to remember that internal communications and onboarding go hand-in-hand. 

These tips will help you create an outstanding onboarding experience for new team members:

Onboarding starts before an employee’s first day. 

Although a new hire’s first day is when they officially start their job, they’ve already had a long interview and offer process that has shaped their experience with your company. Here are some simple, effective ways you can engage new employees before their first day:

  • Ensure recruiters are equipped with talking points and FAQs to effectively talk about your company and articulate your employee value proposition (EVP). 
  • Make sure that your company’s website and social media accounts accurately reflect the experience that you want new employees to have with your company. Check out our guide to engaging employees on social media to help get you started.
  • Provide regular, timely updates to new hires between the date they accept their offer and their first day – and engage hiring managers to welcome them and share key updates!

Organizations that effectively deliver on their EVP can decrease annual employee turnover by just under 70% and increase new hire commitment by nearly 30%.

Engage and equip hiring managers

Hiring managers are on the frontline of the onboarding experience, so it’s important to ensure that they understand their role in the process, and that they’re equipped with the proper guidance and tools to deliver an outstanding experience. Here are some ways you can help set hiring managers up for success:

  • Provide e-learning or training for new hiring managers
  • Document hiring manager expectations in a checklist
  • Create templates for hiring managers to share with new employees. These could include 30-60-90 day plans, team overviews, new hire checklists and more.
  • Share message templates and/or talking points for managers to reach out to new hires at key moments in the onboarding process. These key moments could include pre-start date, their first day, the beginning of their second week, 30-60-90 day marks and more. Document these key moments in a hiring manager checklist, too!

Tell your company story

A new hire’s first day is critical to helping them understand your company and building their commitment to your mission. Ensure that you are telling a clear, compelling story about your mission, vision, values and strategy – and the role that the new employee will play in your company’s success. Here are some ways you can embed your company narrative into onboarding:

  • Create a short video where executives, leaders and employees discuss the company mission and priorities
  • Develop a short e-learning module about the company 
  • If you do in-person group orientations, consider having different leaders join the event on a rotating basis to share a short presentation
  • Create a one-pager for new hires that outlines your company strategy – and leave room for them to add notes about how their team priorities and personal objectives will help achieve it.


Leverage existing tools and automation

Use your tools to save time and create seamless onboarding processes. Here’s how:

  • Take a look at your current platforms to see if you can automate any processes to save time and add value. For example, some platforms allow you to create workflows that will automatically send new employees home mailers or swag, or automatically add a meeting with an onboarding “buddy” to a new hire’s calendar.
  • If possible, update automated emails new hires will receive during their initial set-up to make them more personal and provide more context about why new hires should care.
  • Consider using your existing tools to create a support network for new hires. For example, you could create a mailing list or a group on your collaboration platform to share regular tips, reminders and resources with new hires. Update the list regularly so employees are removed after they reach the three-month mark (look into your software to see if you can automate your list updates, too!). 

Create opportunities for two-way communication

Throughout the onboarding process, reach out to new hires for feedback on their experience, and provide a channel for any questions. This will help you improve, and ensure that new team members feel supported.

Internal communications is critical to creating a great onboarding experience and, ultimately, a great employee experience. These tips will help you improve retention and boost engagement from your company’s first interaction with a potential candidate.

Find these tips helpful? Pivot Strategies offers internal communications support to engage your employees. 

Whether you are improving your onboarding process, trying to increase employee engagement, navigating culture change or anything in between – internal communications is key. 

Pivot has a team of expert internal communicators ready to help you determine and develop the most effective communications strategy for your employees. Work with Pivot Strategies.

About the Author

Abby AlvarezCommunications Consultant

Abby is a collaborative, strategic and innovative internal communications expert with a passion for creating connection, building alignment and driving change. Abby specializes in translating business priorities into effective communications strategies to reach the right stakeholders and achieve results. Her areas of expertise include employee engagement initiatives, culture transformations, mergers and acquisitions, crisis communications, and HR and IT transformations.

Connect with Abby Alvarez on LinkedIn →

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