How to evaluate the impact of your employee onboarding program

We need to evaluate the employee onboarding program holistically

In business, everything gets measured. In today’s corporate ecosystem, everything is about creating value, and HR is not indifferent from the rest. When an organization invests in training and preparing its employees for their respective roles, it expects to generate some value. HR leaders are accountable for showing the value they create for the business. Similarly, if someday the CEO asks how we benefit from the current employee onboarding program? After all, the company is spending money and effort onboarding new people into the ecosystem. HR leaders will have to show results. For the same, we should be aware of how we should evaluate our employee onboarding program.

A small-scale insurance firm ramped up its hiring activity in the last three years. It hired about 300 people, with an average of 100 employees annually in various roles. Over 50% of the new hires were hired in the frontline sales role. The company is a sister concerning arm of a large insurance sector firm and wanted to scale up its activities in the region by building a larger team. They wanted to capture the market and become leaders in the present region. But hiring more people gave no extraordinary results. The revenue hardly increased, and the company could not expand its footprint in the region. This prompted the leadership team to evaluate where they were going wrong. The company had an ordinary employee onboarding program to assimilate people into the company. Since onboarding was crucial to building a successful team, the company decided to evaluate its employee onboarding program.

After a three-month evaluation, flaws were found in welcoming the new hire, organizational assimilation, and ongoing development of newly hired people. The current onboarding program of the company lacked the following points:

Through the above example, let us try and understand how the company evaluated the employee onboarding program and how it made a difference in its potential success.

Why do we need to evaluate the employee onboarding program?

Adding value to the business is critical. Every process in the organization must add value and contribute to the company’s success. The same thing applies to the employee onboarding program as well. In the above example, the insurance company aimed to expand its footprint and become the market leader in the region. They hired people in numbers for the same, but still, it saw very little in the number of added customers and revenue. After evaluation, the reason lay in the flaws found in the company’s employee onboarding process. That is why we must keep evaluating our onboarding process and update our processes for better growth of the organization.

What metrics will help us in measuring our employee onboarding program?

The insurance firm followed a holistic approach in evaluating its onboarding program in the given example. The company collected qualitative and quantitative data to measure the existing employee onboarding program of the organization effectively.

Quantitative data points to measure employee onboarding

The best employee onboarding practices aim to increase employee retention, employee engagement, and time to productivity of the newly hired employee. We should analyze all the above parameters to evaluate our employee onboarding program.

An employee with good onboarding experience becomes an engaged employee in the organization. So measuring the employee engagement score amongst the newly hired employee is another data point that helps to evaluate the organization’s effectiveness. In the above example, the insurance company found that only 43% of employees were engaged. The employee engagement score is measured through the employee engagement survey conducted periodically in the organization.   

Another good data point to evaluate is the time to productivity. The time to productivity is when a newly hired employee reaches a satisfactory organizational performance level. We can measure productivity with the help of tracking the daily tasks of the employee and comparing it with internal benchmarking.

Qualitative data points to measure employee onboarding

Some key methods we can use to collect qualitative data are direct feedback from the employees, stay interviews, and exit interviews. Through surveys and employee feedback, we can measure the employee onboarding program on the onboarding experience of employees, the mentor/mentee relationship between the employee and their manager, and the overall employee experience of the individual during and after the onboarding. Some questions that can be asked during the survey and feedback sessions are:

The insurance company used the above methods and data points to measure their employee onboarding program. Companies can use the above points as a reference to measure the impact of their onboarding program. Apart from this, it is also essential to evaluate the learning content and other documents and policies used as part of the onboarding and keep updating the same for better employee engagement and productivity.  

Using a holistic approach in measuring the employee onboarding program is better. When we say a holistic approach, it means gathering quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate the employee onboarding process. Though, it may depend on the culture of the organization. Some cultures are numbers driven, and some are driven through qualitative methods. It is better to use an approach that fits your needs.

Moreover, the job does not end here. After evaluating the onboarding program, the responsible team must also recommend ways and processes to enhance the existing employee onboarding program for a better employee experience, further contributing to the organization’s success.