Onboarding is an important piece of the hiring process. If done well, it enables new employees to hit the ground running, to be successful in their jobs and to make significant contributions. However, if it is flawed, new employees may be set adrift, feeling isolated and uncertain — a recipe for high turnover.
To make sure your onboarding process is effective, you need to be continually evaluating what you do and how you do it. Here are some ways to assess how well it is working.
1. Examine retention
One key metric to determine the effectiveness of your onboarding practice is the retention rate of new employees. What kind of turnover are you experiencing among new people? How many of them are heading out the door within the first year?
Naturally, there may be any number of reasons why people decide to leave their job. But among new employees, onboarding is a key factor connected to their early departure. If the onboarding process has been falling short in some way, such as not making expectations clear, new employees may begin having problems immediately.
If onboarding is deficient, the new person will not have the information he or she needs to perform adequately and may look elsewhere for employment.
Another way to evaluate onboarding is to see how long it takes for new people to bring their performance up to a level rivaling that of their more experienced peers.
If onboarding is effective, this should happen within about a month.
You can also evaluate onboarding by questioning new employees about their understanding of their job – its duties and responsibilities and performance expectations. If people have difficulty articulating answers to these questions, it is a sign that onboarding needs to be overhauled.
4. Survey new people
Get the opinion of the new people themselves about the effectiveness of the process. The purpose of this inquiry is not to test their knowledge about their jobs, but specifically to get their opinion on how well the onboarding process helped to prepare them to be successful.
5. Survey other employees
Talk to your veteran employees as well. Find out from them how the new people are doing and what the veterans think about the onboarding process and how it prepared the new people.