4 unexpected ways onboarding can support your wider HR strategy

Illustration 50 08/02/2024

Onboarding. It’s all about retention, engagement and boosting early performance, isn’t it?

Of course, making sure your hard-won new talent isn’t stolen by the competition, and feels welcomed, engaged and informed is absolutely key. But your onboarding strategy can help drive other key HR objectives too.


Starting a new job can be stressful. Starting your first job, even more so. Making sure your new hires know exactly what to expect can go a long way to reducing those anxieties. Information on their department, their office, key goals for their team, or what their first few weeks might hold will all help to alleviate nerves.

Most important of all would be personal interaction with their future team. Whether it’s receiving a welcome call from their line manager, the chance to message a buddy with a query, or chat online with fellow new starters through an innovative onboarding tool, it’s human contact that makes a real difference.

Your onboarding comms are also the perfect place to showcase your wellbeing programme, to make sure you get good take-up on all your initiatives from the very start. From the on-site gym, to healthy food in the canteen or the identity of mental health first aiders, you can let your new starters know about all aspects of your wellbeing offering, so they can access the parts that will be most helpful to them. It's likely your organisation already offers some online support to - mental, physically and financial wellbeing calls being ones we see most often – so why not offer them to new starters straight away. 

Better yet, Eli can help track how people are feeling throughout onboarding, and alert a new hire's line manager (or other person from your team) if they're feeling down. This allows them to proactively reach out at moments when it matters most. 

Social Mobility

Onboarding also provides the perfect opportunity to achieve a more levelled playing field for all your candidates, whatever their background. By helping them understand how you work, and providing information and tools to help them learn, you can help make sure that everyone feels equally up to speed before they start on day one. And, by making sure you populate your onboarding portal with content featuring people from a range of social backgrounds, you can make sure everyone feels welcomed and included.

This is particularly important for your early career cohort, who are making the difficult transition from study to work life. The more support you give them, the more successful they’ll be, no matter what their background. Indeed, 100% of PoliceNow’s candidates passed their Summer Academy pre-learn assessment due to the strength of their onboarding programme. The same is true of Cognizant, whose whole hiring process and onboarding experience is built around social mobility. Since Eli started working with them 100% of their grads have passed their technical training, and 100% have been fully billable on time. 

A buddy can also be a really good way of making people feel included – particularly important if your organisation has a reputation (deserved or otherwise) for being elitist. What’s more, onboarding sites are the perfect place to advertise refer-a-friend schemes, or recruit future advocates, so helping to build on the success of your social mobility programme.

Change Agenda

New starters are a highly receptive audience when it comes to engagement with, and involvement in, driving through change agendas. Get them onboard with new initiatives before they’ve even started work, and they can be real advocates for change. After all, they won’t yet be embedded in the old cultures or processes you’re trying to transform.

Whether it’s restructuring due to a market downturn or merger, or a big initiative to comply with new legislation, your onboarding comms is a great place to shout about it.

In fact, if there’s a big change coming, whether it’s a new regulation within your industry, or something that affects everyone, having information that shows you’ve thought through the implications and have a clear strategy to deal with any potential challenges will reassure new starters ensuring they stay engaged with your brand and loyal to your offer.


By its very nature, onboarding should make someone feel included. But, this isn't possible if your experience focuses solely on compliance and process. Experience-led onboarding allows organisations to create a real sense of belonging, by defining a journey that promotes inclusion at every step. Reach out to your employee network leaders to understand the specific things your onboarding journey needs to include, and be ready to change certain aspects of your onboarding journey to suit. People with autism for instance, routine and structure are very important, so a clear onboarding roadmap creates a sense of certainty and a clear understanding of milestones.

Eli even allows new hires to choose their own onboarding journey (should you want to offer) allowing them to join employee networks early, access extra support, new learning, change their onboarding roadmap and more. What better way to promote inclusion than to allow a new hire to tailor their own onboarding experience? 

For more tips on inclusion check out this article on how onboarding can drive you inclusion agenda.

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