Onboarding 6 min

How to Measure Onboarding Effectiveness with 5 Simple Metrics

May 21, 2019

You might think your onboarding process is effective. But how do you know? Considering a BCG study found that onboarding has one of the greatest impacts on company profitability and profit margin, it’s something you should be certain you’re doing right. BambooHR research showed that employees who felt their onboarding experience was effective were over 29 times more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs.

If your onboarding is suffering, it’s affecting both your organization and employees. Effective onboarding helps you retain your best employees, reduce turnover costs, avoid disruption in the workplace, and save time.

How do you determine whether your onboarding process is effective? There’s a saying that what gets measured gets managed. HR metrics can help you measure the effectiveness of your onboarding process so you can manage the results and make sure employees have the tools they need to succeed from day one.

Don’t make onboarding a transactional process of just filling out forms and meeting people. Onboarding should be about helping new hires forge a deep connection with the company, its people, and its values.

Here’s how tracking the right metrics can help you improve the employee onboarding experience.

Which Metrics Best Measure Onboarding Effectiveness?

Finding the most relevant metrics to measure is essential for creating a better onboarding experience. They will help you learn how employees feel about your organization and identify key behavior trends. These findings can show you where your onboarding process could be improved and which other processes might also need a lift.

Learn how to effectively onboard your new hires with our new guide.

For example, turnover metrics can help you determine how likely new hires are to leave their job within the first six months of employment. Armed with this knowledge, you can evaluate which parts of the onboarding process might be refined to reduce such turnover. Were job descriptions complete? Were applicants found to be a good fit for the organization’s culture before they were hired? And so on.

Here are five key metrics for measuring onboarding effectiveness, with problem-solving recommendations for each.

1. Track Employee Happiness

You can measure employee happiness in a variety of ways.

Many companies use anonymous surveys or hold employee interviews to measure how happy their employees are. Happy employees are more productive and more likely to stay with their job.

Measuring and tracking employee happiness is just the first step. If you find problems that are making employees unhappy, it’s important to take steps to improve. One company found that a client with high demands and tight deadlines was severely affecting employee happiness, so they took the difficult step of dropping the client.

Employee happiness is also highly correlated with coworker connections. Designing offices that encourage interaction and holding team activities are great ways to foster friendly and constructive relationships between coworkers. These measures help new employees feel welcome, involved, and happy early in the onboarding process.

2. Track Voluntary and Involuntary Turnover

Any unexpected rise in turnover is a clear sign something isn’t going right for your employees. However, metrics for measuring employee turnover need to show voluntary and involuntary turnover separately, because they indicate different problems.

When a recent hire leaves, their insights may be especially valuable for improving your onboarding process.

Involuntary turnover indicates you may have a recruiting problem, such as not finding well-qualified applicants. Voluntary turnover suggests an onboarding problem: perhaps training is inadequate, or culture and benefits are not what the employee expected. Reduce employee turnover during onboarding by assigning mentors, integrating new hires into the team, helping them set clear goals and expectations, and providing positive feedback for a job well done.

While you don’t want a high turnover rate, you also don’t want a 100 percent retention rate for employees. A very high retention rate is an indicator that you may be retaining employees that aren’t a good cultural fit for the company, as well as low performers and underperformers.

3. Track Who’s Leaving

Using metrics to track which employees are leaving is just as important as tracking overall turnover. Some employees have a greater effect on an organization when they leave than others do, and if your most talented employees are leaving, you need to know why. Exit interviews and surveys can help. When a recent hire leaves, their answers to your questions may be especially valuable for improving your onboarding process.

Some additional ways to retain employees and create an uplifting work environment during the onboarding process are:

  • Social connection programs and key introductions
  • Thorough, engaging benefits education
  • A culture of open communication
  • Educational and career-development opportunities
  • Personalized elements that make new hires feel individually appreciated

4. Track New Employee Satisfaction

Tracking satisfaction in new employees is another key way to measure onboarding effectiveness.

Unlike employee happiness, which mostly measures employees’ emotional state, employee satisfaction shows how favorably they judge important factors in their job environment. Satisfied employees are pleased with their work conditions, benefits, and compensation, among other things.

As with employee happiness, regular questionnaires or surveys are great tools for tracking employee satisfaction. Ask about job and workplace satisfaction, workplace expectations, and how the workplace compares to their ideal workplace. If satisfaction isn’t as high as you’d like it to be, you’ll see what the issues are so you can tackle them one at a time.

For example, if employees aren’t satisfied with compensation, but higher wages aren’t in the budget, you might try offering better benefits or incorporating more benefits education into your onboarding program to improve the usage and perception of your existing benefits package. Studies have found job satisfaction is four times higher for employees who are happy with their benefits, but whatever the issue, taking meaningful steps to improve it is a smart investment in greater long-term employee satisfaction.

Do you know how employees really feel about your organization?

5. Track Retention with Individual Managers

If one manager has a higher employee turnover rate than other managers in your organization, that’s a red flag that something may be spoiling the manager’s relationship with their employees.

One way to find a solution is to analyze what other managers with low turnover rates are doing to maintain strong, positive ties with their employees. Not only could those best practices help your high-turnover manager do better, but if you incorporate them into a broader initiative for all managers they could help reduce turnover throughout your organization.

Best Practices for Better Onboarding

Now that you know which metrics to measure, make sure these best practices are part of your onboarding process before you begin:

  • Keep it consistent: Use the same onboarding process for all new hires. If you’re inconsistent, it will be difficult to extract anything meaningful from your results.
  • Think of onboarding as a relationship: While you are educating new employees, they are evaluating you and deciding whether or not they made the right choice by joining your organization. That means it’s critical to make employees feel welcome, appreciated, and comfortable during the onboarding process.
  • Stay connected: Give new hires attention and guidance beyond their first day. Don’t ever stop. Keeping them connected to the organization helps keep them engaged and well organized.

With a myriad of onboarding tools out there, measuring onboarding effectiveness with the five metrics we’ve discussed is a simple way that you can know which issues are affecting your onboarding process, eliminating the guesswork. You’ll be well on your way to creating an even better work environment that attracts and retains top-notch employees.

Darren Perucci
Content Manager

Darren Perucci is a content manager for BambooHR. He likes to think of himself as a purveyor of all things content related. While he loves finding new ways of reaching new audiences he is passionate about delivering the best experience to readers.