9 Onboarding Metrics to Track at Your Organization

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9 Onboarding Metrics to Track at Your Organization

Onboarding is a key part of the employee journey that shapes the rest of their experience at your organization. An effective onboarding process is a big influence in setting up your new hires for success. The first few days for any new joiner can be overwhelming, from learning about company protocols, meeting new team members, and understanding the company culture.

And amidst all the emotions and experiences a new hire goes through, a robust employee onboarding program ensures they can reach the highest level of productivity as fast as possible. To measure and track this along the way, employee onboarding metrics help you understand your new hires’ experience, how fast they are onboarded, and what excites them about their job and the organization. 

Let’s have a look at onboarding metrics you should track.

Why use onboarding metrics
How do you measure onboarding success? Common onboarding metrics

Why use onboarding metrics

Only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization provides a great onboarding experience. Poor onboarding is a major driver of employee turnover. Implementing onboarding metrics helps you take a data-driven approach to your onboarding process and:

  • Uncover issues in your employee onboarding process – Data helps you understand what the problems are in the onboarding phase of the employee life cycle, and you can develop actions to fix them. Research by Sapling HR shows that the average new hire onboarding process consists of 54 activities. If you’re able to identify the critical issues through analyzing the data of these various activities, it will go a long way in elevating your onboarding processes.
  • Improve the effectiveness of your onboarding process – You can enable and empower your employees to do a great job from the beginning. An effective onboarding process is iterative. Depending on the frequency of employee onboarding, you’re able to improve ‘in the moment’ with the available metrics. 
  • Prevent unwanted turnover – A good onboarding program reduces the likelihood of early turnover. On the contrary, a poor onboarding experience can lead to detrimental outcomes for your company. Data and onboarding metrics help track issues to reduce new hire turnover.
Onboarding Metrics
The onboarding metrics we discuss below help you get your new hires up to speed faster and retain them for longer.

How do you measure onboarding success? Common onboarding metrics

You can measure the quality and effectiveness of your onboarding process by tracking several onboarding metrics. That allows you to get an accurate picture of how solid your onboarding picture is and how you can improve it.

1. Time to productivity

A useful metric to track how fast it takes for an employee to be operational and productive. The graphic below demonstrates where an employee becomes productive:

Employee Lifetime Value

The shorter it takes till a new hire can be productive, the greater the experience will be for everyone involved, leading to reduced costs.

There is no clear-cut time to productivity formula like other HR metrics. Instead, you would base time to productivity on the KPIs for each role. For example, if you are calculating it for a sales role, productivity would indicate when the salesperson has all the tools and knowledge to make a sale.

An easier way is using a manager’s estimate of the time a new hire needs to fully contribute to the organization and comparing it to what the employee has actually achieved.

To calculate the average time to productivity for your company overall, you can calculate the total number of days for new hires to be productive, divided by the total number of new hires. 

2. Cost of getting to Optimum Productivity Level 

The cost of getting to the Optimum Productivity Level (OPL) is the total cost involved in getting someone up to speed. This includes costs of recruitment, training processes, salary of the employee (and the trainers), and more. It is a useful metric to track, with the objective of decreasing costs over time.

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Research by Oxford Economics lists OPL cost in retail at £ 16,240 (approx. $ 20,200), in media £ 21,633 ($ 27,000), and in legal £ 35,307 ($ 44,000).

3. New hire turnover

New hire turnover is an important onboarding metric that calculates the number of employees who leave their job within the first year (or another period defined by the organization). A low new hire turnover rate can affect your employer’s brand and team morale.

Reducing new hire turnover is a must-track metric to keep as low as possible because it can take up to 8 months to have a new hire productive. 

A negative onboarding experience is one of the main reasons new hires leave. It leads to a disengaged employee and can also lead to poor performance.

There are two ways to calculate new hire turnover.

The first is new hire turnover as a percentage of total turnover. If a high number of new hires leave compared to all employees, this formula will reveal that:

New Hire Turnover Rate - Percentage of All Turnover

The second way to calculate it is new hire turnover as a percentage of all new hires:

New Hire Turnover Rate - Percentage of New Hires

So, if you hired 100 people, and 25 of them quit, your new hire turnover would be 25%.

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This data should readily be available within your HRIS to keep track of every month. To ensure accuracy with calculations and to compare over time, the organization must determine what they say as a reasonable period to call an employee a “new hire.” Usually, it is one year, but some positions or companies have different requirements.

4. Retention threshold

In line with turnover, you can look at your new hire retention threshold, which is the point at which new employees exit the organization.

For example, you might find that 20% of new hires leave within 90 days, and 35% of them leave within 270 days. If there is a trend where your company loses new hires, then that is a key area to focus on the cause and implement the necessary interventions. 

5. Onboarding satisfaction

An onboarding satisfaction survey, also called new hire satisfaction survey, is an effective way to gather feedback from new hires. It’s a good practice to keep track of the sentiment of new hires in their first month, after three months, after six months, and after a year. This is a way to measure the outcomes of any onboarding initiative.

Questions to ask could include:

  • How would you rate your onboarding experience?
  • How valued do you feel at work?
  • How welcomed do you feel in the company?
  • I have all the resources I need to do my job
  • My goals are defined clearly

And some close-ended questions you might want to include are: 

  • Is the job you’re doing what you expected it to be?
  • What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your first few weeks?
  • What would you improve about your onboarding experience?
  • What are other tools you need to perform your job better?
  • Did you meet all the stakeholders you needed to perform your job successfully?

Consistent questions for all new hires allow you to accurately measure your company’s onboarding program. And then, you can also measure the outcomes of specific initiatives to improve your onboarding processes over a period of time. 

6. New hire retention rate per manager

A low new hire retention rate for a particular manager could indicate that something is wrong in the team or they might need additional help. If a manager has a known low retention rate, it’s a good idea to investigate why.

Similarly, for managers with a high retention rate, you can analyze what they’re doing right and implement those learnings to other teams. 

7. Training completion rate

This metric indicates how many new hires have completed their required training. The training for new hires is usually made to make them productive as soon as possible.

A low completion rate could indicate there is a problem with the quality of training. But it could also indicate how training is rolled out – the new hires’ schedule might not be optimal in the first few weeks to complete the training.

To calculate the training completion rate, divide the number of new hires that haven’t completed their training by the total number of new hires. 

8. 360-degree feedback

Insights provided by people that a new hire interacts with are a great way to gather feedback on the effectiveness of your onboarding program. This is referred to as 360-degree feedback, where a new hire’s peers, managers, and anyone else with oversight of their performance can provide input as to what might have been missing from your onboarding processes.

Then, after 3 to 4 months, enough information from a new hire’s manager and peers will be available to assess the obstacles preventing productivity or performance. This might be resources or training that could have been in place during the onboarding process to make life easier for the new hire. 

9. Informal feedback

An effective way to gather feedback is to conduct small focus groups or new-joiner interviews. You can ask open-ended questions expanding on the new hires’ level of satisfaction. Ask them to be open and honest about their experience with the onboarding processes. As they would have been the most recently involved, they might have some fresh ideas and insights on how your organization can improve the process.

While informal feedback is hard to quantify in a dashboard or a specific number, it is essential to gather supplemental information to all the other metrics you’re collecting. It provides an explanation as to why the onboarding experience was great, good, or really bad. This information enables you to boost employee experience and engagement right from the start.

To conclude

Onboarding metrics provide you with a lot of information about your onboarding process and what you can do to improve it. That way, you’re ensuring that you’re setting up your new employees for long-term success within your organization.

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