How to Assess Your Company’s Onboarding Program (Plus Free Onboarding Checklist)

How effective is your onboarding program? Here is how to assess your process and improve it.


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Are your new hires continuously struggling to adjust? The problem could lie with your onboarding program.

When you bring a new hire into the company, you want them to be able to start work right away. But to do that, they typically undergo some sort of onboarding program, which for most companies, is a pile of paperwork. In fact, 58% of businesses say that their employee onboarding focuses on paperwork and operations.

Here is the issue: A company is much more than signing a W-2 and reviewing benefits. New hires need to feel welcome and understand their work in relation to their department in the company. Failing to create this positive experience can have serious consequences.

A poor onboarding experience can double the chance of your employee leaving, while a good one can keep nearly 70% of employees with you for 3 full years.

In light of this, it’s clear that a solid employee onboarding system can save your company time and money through reduced turnover rates and higher productivity. But what does a “good” onboarding process look like?

A poor onboarding experience can double the chance of your employee leaving, while a good one can keep nearly 70% of employees with you for 3 full years.

What makes a good onboarding program

Only 1 in 10 employees believe that their company has a strong onboarding program. What makes the difference? There are a few factors.

A solid onboarding process is comprehensive but not overwhelming. You want to make employees feel welcome and give them everything they need to get to work quickly.

Another key ingredient is buy in from the management. When managers are active in the process, employees feel that the process was 3.4 times more successful than those onboarding procedures where managers take a passive role.

Ideally, you want your employee to feel welcome and supported. This means getting the entire company involved when bringing in a new hire.

The most effective way to do this is to use technology to streamline the administrative stuff and focus on helping your new hires make key connections within the company. These early relationships will help your employee adjust and better understand company culture and operations.

How to assess your company’s onboarding program in 4 questions

When assessing your program, make sure to survey current employees, managers, recent hires, and former workers, if possible.

Luckily, designing a successful onboarding program doesn’t need to be a challenge. When assessing your program, make sure to survey current employees, managers, recent hires, and former workers, if possible. Once you get their input on the onboarding process and company culture, you’ll want to ask yourself four questions to evaluate your program:

1. Is your program consistent?

First, you’ll want to design the core of the onboarding process. This will be used for every new hire and should contain specific information, such as finishing paperwork, choosing benefits, office introductions, and other generalized tasks.

Most of the steps in this section can most likely be automated. If you integrate technology with this section of HR, you’ll be able to focus more time on what really matters: organizing personalized onboarding activities.

2. Is your onboarding process personalized?

Next, you’ll want to provide a custom touch to help integrate your new hire into their department. This can be specific training days, shadowing opportunities, or other similar tasks. You’ll also want to consider establishing a buddy or mentorship program within departments. Not only will this help your new hire get a feel for the job, but they will be able to form lasting relationships with their coworkers.

3. Do you reach out for feedback?

At the end of the onboarding process, you’ll want to ask your employees for feedback. This is to judge their initial reactions to entering the company. Here, you can gauge feelings of overwhelm or comfort, and notice any gaps.

It is also worth it to follow up within a 3-month timeline. This will allow you to better understand what may have been left out of the process, or whether your onboarding program is truly the issue.

But don’t forget to reach out to your managers. You will also want to get their input into the process and how well your new hires perform after being onboarded.

4. Do you measure retention rates and other metrics?

Finally, you’ll want to review your actual retention rates. Did optimizing your process improve retention? Keep in mind that measuring retention is a long-term metric. You may not know how effective your new program is for 6 months to a year. But there are other metrics to consider, too.

Some additional metrics you’ll want to review are:

  • Revenue per employee ratio
  • Employee satisfaction
  • ROI
  • Engagement or productivity level
  • Absenteeism rate

Your essential onboarding checklist for success

After designing your program, you’ll need to execute it. For HR and management, this means you’ll have several tasks to complete over a short period of time. To make things easier, we’ve compiled a list of key onboarding activities you’ll want to check off as you go:

  • Complete your hiring paperwork 
  • Provide a welcome email or printable checklist to help your employee figure out their new workspace
  • Send out a company-wide email introducing your new hire
  • Create their accounts in HR
  • Define their work area
  • Order security cards and other necessary materials
  • Set up a meet and greet
  • Organize a tour of the office
  • Highlight learning environment areas, guide locations
  • Arrange a meeting with the employee’s mentor, manager, and supervisor
  • Organize a buddy program to provide support
  • Teach new hires about security measures
  • Add new employees to the birthday and contact list
  • Set up a one-on-one review at the end of the first week
  • After a month, meet again with the employee and manager in one-on-one sessions
  • Help the employee plan their 3 and 6-month goals

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