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Onboarding Talent Analytics

5 Ways to Measure Employee Onboarding Effectiveness

January 31, 2023
7 min read

Performance Management, Supercharged


The employee onboarding process leaves much to be desired at most organizations — 88% of employees don’t have a good experience. According to Talent Board’s 2022 North American Candidate Experience (CandE) Benchmark Research Report, resentment among new hires increased, meaning that they had more negative experiences last year than they did in 2021. Even companies with above-average ratings from CandE had a hard time successfully onboarding new hires, with many employees quitting before they even started.

Thanks to these retention challenges and widespread uninspiring onboarding experiences, employee onboarding is the top recruiting focus at 40% of responding companies in 2023. This isn’t a regular occurrence; in fact, onboarding hasn’t been a top priority for most organizations over the past few years. It usually comes in at number five on Talent Board’s list, losing out to other priorities, including candidate experience and employee referral programs

"The fact that onboarding is the number one priority for TA teams in the coming year is very telling. Too many employers lost new hires in 2022 before they even started or shortly after day one, that's how competitive the talent market has gotten and that's how important it is to get onboarding right.”

- Ron Machamer, Talent Board, Director of Global Programs

If your recruiting team is prioritizing onboarding in 2023, it’s important to keep track of its results to ensure your program leads to the outcomes you want. Check out these five ways you can use metrics to measure onboarding success — and how onboarding software helps you do it.

Is #EmployeeOnboarding at the top of your HR priorities this year? Find out 5 ways to measure your #onboarding plan’s effectiveness:

1. Track New Hire Turnover Over One Year

New hire turnover may seem like an obvious metric to keep an eye on, but do you know when it’s happening most? In today’s job market, new hire and candidate ghosting are common, and the trend is on the rise across industries and for both hourly and salaried positions. Major U.S. airline Southwest said for some positions, around 15-20% of new hires don’t show up for their first day. 

Look at turnover at important stages of the onboarding process to reveal where it’s happening most, especially if your company sees similar patterns in its new hire turnover rates. Monitoring when new hire turnover occurs enables your recruiting team to hone in on that stage instead of taking a trial-and-error approach to improving your employee onboarding experience.  

Track employee retention rates at these important points:

  • Turnover prior to day one
  • One-week turnover
  • Retention after 90 days
  • Retention after six months 
  • Retention after one year

Though it’s concerning, ghosting isn’t happening in a bubble —there’s evidence that shows companies are dropping the ball, often ghosting candidates and new hires themselves. Just 21% of new hires say they had multiple opportunities to ask questions and connect with their team before starting a new job. Not every employee hears from their hiring managers, either, with just 40% getting a phone call and 24% receiving a text before their first day.

The CandE Report showed that staying in touch during this critical “pre-boarding” stage leads to more productive new hires who stay longer. When they have lots of chances to connect, there’s a 92% jump in new hires’ willingness to increase their relationship with the company, and hearing from managers increases it by 87 percent.

Get ClearCompany’s in-depth guide: What is Employee Onboarding? 

2. Track Voluntary and Involuntary Turnover

Voluntary turnover refers to employees who leave companies by choice, whether by resignation or retirement, while involuntary turnover refers to those who were terminated by the organization. 

You can compare these turnover metrics with new hire turnover to see if there’s an overlap. High voluntary turnover early on could point to an onboarding plan that leaves new employees feeling lost. If involuntary turnover is high in the first year, that could also be a sign that onboarding isn’t preparing new employees sufficiently for their roles.

Some companies measure turnover due to retirement and internal transfers, including promotions and department transfers, separately for even more insight. If your data shows high instances of internal mobility,  you can use that information when onboarding new employees to show them their potential growth beyond the role they’re starting. 

3. Track Turnover By Position, Manager, and Department

Clearly, turnover is one of the most important metrics to track. As with all turnover metrics, if you notice high turnover in a few particular roles, under a certain manager or two, or concentrated in one department, there’s more than just one contributing factor. But comparing it with your new hire and voluntary/involuntary turnover can tell you if onboarding has anything to do with it or if you can use your onboarding process to address it.

Track when and where #newhire turnover happens to improve your #EmployeeOnboarding program:

Here are some examples of how onboarding might be impacting these metrics:

  • High new hire turnover in a role could mean that onboarding isn’t setting the right expectations or supplying your new employees with the right resources. It could also point to an inaccurate job description 
  • High new hire turnover under one manager might mean that the manager needs to up their participation in onboarding. Gallup research shows that employees are 3.5 times more likely to say they had a successful onboarding experience if their manager was actively involved. 
  • High new hire turnover in a department could be attributed to a combination of the factors above.

4. Track Time-to-Productivity

Time-to-productivity (TTP) measures the length of time it takes new hires to become full-fledged employees who are contributing team members. To start tracking TTP, set goals that new hires will need to achieve to be considered fully ramped, including a time frame for when they should be reached. Goals should include both subjective and objective criteria to help you create a formal onboarding program that is well-rounded and relatively standardized. 

Setting TTP for each role enables effective onboarding in many ways:

  • Lets new hires know how long they have to become proficient
  • Guards against onboarding plans that are too short or too long
  • Serves as an indicator of future performance in the role
  • Helps HR keep departments adequately staffed with fully-ramped employees

Get ClearCompany’s Employee Onboarding Guide to start your own onboarding process.

5. Send Candidate and New Hire Surveys

There’s a strong case for including a feedback survey (or two) in your new hire onboarding process, including one sent prior to an employee’s first day. When companies did this, there was a 75% increase in new hires’ willingness to refer others. Not to mention, communicating with new employees at a time when many companies aren’t — that important period before their start date — is an excellent employee engagement strategy. 

But, the CandE Report showed that only 26% of new hires say they are asked to give feedback before their start date, although 66% of companies claim that they’re asking. The Report speculates that the difference may mean new hires are simply missing emails where feedback is requested. 

You can avoid this problem when you’re using technology to manage your onboarding process. The best employee onboarding software makes it easier for your people to fill out surveys at any stage — from candidates to exiting employees — with mobile surveys. HR can send them via text, and new hires can respond right from their mobile devices. 

New hires’ firsthand experience is an irreplaceable resource for what’s working and what needs to improve in your onboarding process. Asking for their opinions leads to better processes while showing new hires their voices matter at your company. Acting on that feedback leads to even better results — it makes companies 11 times more likely to have high retention. 

With ClearCompany Onboarding, it’s possible to create an awesome onboarding experience and track all of these metrics — and more — to determine your program’s effectiveness. Make new hires feel welcome, introduce them to company culture, and complete your onboarding checklist with ease. Plus, get access to the data-driven content and expert insights that informed our product development.

Sign up for a demo to create your own dashboard and explore the rest of our Onboarding tools and features — and ask about our full-spectrum Talent Management platform.

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