How Effective is Your Employee Onboarding?

Published On: March 2, 20237.2 min read

Everyone knows that starting a new position can be nerve-wracking, no matter your experience level. The same can be said when you’re on the hiring side. There is so much pressure to hire the right person, and how can you really know if someone is a good fit after just two or three interviews? After all, you have to ensure that all new hires understand the company and their role as quickly and as effectively as possible.

Fortunately, there is a system to make sure that new employees have all guidance they need to get acclimated; this is where effective employee onboarding comes into play. Employee onboarding is the process of familiarizing new hires with the company culture, their roles, and ensuring that they have the necessary tools and resources to succeed. Read along as we explore how to gauge the effectiveness of your employee onboarding process and optimize it for improved employee retention and satisfaction.

Is employee onboarding really important?

The short answer is: Absolutely. Several business leaders make the mistake of overlooking the importance of onboarding, thinking that they would not have hired someone who lacked the necessary skills for the role. But onboarding is not necessarily about teaching employees to swim; it’s more about teaching them how to swim in a new pond. It’s about providing a clear direction for how they can best utilize the skills they proved to have during the hiring process, and learning ways that they can strengthen those skills to contribute to the company’s success.

A study by Gallup found that only 10 percent of employees strongly agree that their organization does a good job of onboarding. But in less common cases when it’s done right, the benefits are evident.

Benefits of effective onboarding

Firstly, effective onboarding helps diminish the feeling of being overwhelmed that inevitably comes with starting a new role. When employees are gradually introduced to the company, its culture, and their job responsibilities, they are more likely to feel comfortable and confident stepping into their role and ultimately become productive faster.

Secondly, employee onboarding helps build a strong company culture. When new hires are introduced to the company’s values, mission, and goals, they are more likely to become aligned with them. This alignment fosters a sense of community within the organization, which leads to better collaboration, communication, and teamwork.

Finally, employee onboarding is critical for employee retention. Studies show that employees who undergo a structured onboarding program are more likely to stay with the company long-term. This is because effective onboarding helps new hires feel valued and supported, leading to increased job satisfaction and loyalty.

Employee onboarding checklist

Historic thought leaders and corporate experts, including Peter Drucker and John Doerr, agree that you can’t improve what you don’t measure. That being said, it’s hard to place a metric on the effectiveness of employee onboarding. Different companies have very different processes – it’s a broad spectrum that usually depends on the ability of managers to determine how well-acquainted their employees are. But the understanding of business functions should be data-driven rather than opinion-driven. And let’s face it – managers are unfortunately often left in the dark regarding how their employees really feel. Successful business leaders know that drawing data and being able to assess it correctly will provide the most accurate comprehensive insight.

We’ve created a checklist of metrics that all businesses should be tracking to gauge the effectiveness of their employee onboarding.

1) Time to productivity (TTP)

Time to productivity is the time it takes for new hires to become fully integrated with the company and productive in their assigned roles. This can be measured with a variety of benchmarks, but simply put, it depends on the number of days it takes for new employees to complete their training and start contributing to the company.

For example, say you’ve just hired a new sales rep. A few metrics you might track to gauge their TTP would be: the number of sales discovery calls within X number of days, meetings and mentoring sessions completed, number of calls and emails to conversion, and number of days to first closing call or sale.

To expedite the onbarding process, consider leveraging innovative AI tools like text to video conversion, which can efficiently transform training materials into engaging visual content, allowing new hires to grasp essential information quickly and reducing the time and resources required for onboarding.

Think about the amount of time and resources it will take to get the employee onboarded so that he or she is able to complete tasks without much guidance.

2) Employee satisfaction

One of the most telling factors about a company is the satisfaction of its employees. Direct feedback is possibly the most insightful metric that also happens to be free and quite easy to get. Effective communication in the form of frequent 1:1 check-ins provides an open feedback loop between managers and employees while simultaneously strengthening internal relationships. However, communication itself is difficult to track outside of the number of meetings. So, several businesses use an Employer Net Promoter Score (eNPS) to track employee satisfaction on a more granular level.

eNPS can be calculated by a simple anonymous survey that gauges employee satisfaction and determines how likely employees are to recommend their company. The survey is just one question and includes a 1-10 ranking. Then the scores are combined to calculate the eNPS.

Lots of businesses use software tools like Align to help calculate culture-related metrics – Align even has a built-in eNPS tool that automatically sends the survey, collects responses, and calculates the score into a final report.

3) Retention rate

Tracking employee retention rate can provide insights into how effective the onboarding process is at engaging and keeping employees. There are a few ways to measure retention, but the most common formula is to divide the number of employees on the last day of a time period by the number of employees on the first day.

Businesses often overlook the fact that while onboarding has a specified timeframe, it is still an ongoing process. You need to make sure you keep employees engaged and supported long after their initial onboarding period. Doing things like providing frequent check-ins, offering team-building initiatives, and creating open channels for feedback can all help boost employee retention and create a sustainable culture.

4) Cost per hire

Measuring the cost per hire can help businesses evaluate the effectiveness of their onboarding process in terms of cost-effectiveness. In other words, it will help determine whether onboarding spends or makes money for the business. This can be calculated by dividing the total cost of onboarding by the number of new hires.

The data gleaned from tracking this metric can help businesses make smart decisions when it comes to hiring and onboarding. For instance, if you’re finding that your cost per hire is too high, you can take steps to cut costs by streamlining the onboarding process or reducing the number of people involved in the hiring process. If an employee’s ROI exceeds the cost of his or her onboarding, your onboarding resources are cost-effective.

Optimizing the onboarding process

Now that you know how to track the effectiveness of your onboarding process properly, let’s explore how to optimize it for employee retention and satisfaction. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Start early: Effective employee onboarding starts before the new hire’s first day. Send them an email welcoming them to the company, provide them with information about whom they will be working with, and let them know what to expect on their first day.
  • Provide a plan with a timeline for deliverables: Develop a clear onboarding plan that outlines the new hire’s responsibilities, the training they will receive, and the resources they will have access to.
  • Assign a buddy: Assign a buddy or mentor to the new hire. This person can answer questions, provide guidance, and offer support throughout the onboarding process.
  • Encourage other employees to schedule 1:1s with the new hire: This will help the hire get acquainted with co-workers and learn more about the company’s other departmental functions.
  • Make it personal: Provide personalized onboarding experiences. Ask new hires about their interests and tailor the onboarding process to meet their individual needs.


A company’s employees are its most important asset, and by providing an optimal experience from the beginning, businesses can better ensure their employees will be happy, productive, and valuable. By tracking the effectiveness of your onboarding process and optimizing it for better employee retention, you can move toward a more sustainable culture that will help take your business to the next level.

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