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    HR metrics: What to measure for successful employee onboarding?

    Great employee onboarding increases new hire engagement, shortens time-to-productivity, and boosts employee retention. And not on a small scale! When done well, onboarding can level up engagement by 33% and boost new hire retention rates by 82%.

    But how does HR know whether their onboarding program IS actually great, or just so-so? What are the HR metrics for onboarding?

    A collaborative study from Talmundo and Vlerick Business School demonstrated that HR’s perception of the quality of an existing onboarding program is often different from the lived experience of new hires, both emotionally and practically. So the right course of action here is to not go by gut feeling, but instead accurately and consistently measure key HR onboarding metrics.

    In this article, we’ll show you how to go beyond anecdotal evidence and set up systems to capture clearly defined metrics across the entire employee lifecycle.

    What to measure for successful employee onboarding?

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    How to measure employee onboarding effectively

    Before we start to look at WHAT to measure, we need to align HOW we measure. The way we collect data influences the conclusions drawn from it, leading to poor decisions if not measured correctly.

    While we’re not looking at creating bullet-proof data sets, some general principles need to be followed to ensure what you’re looking at holds true for your organization and is not just a one-time snapshot. It’s important to focus on: 

    Capturing comparable data points at consistent moments throughout the new hire lifecycle leads to reliable data.

    Breaking down data - by team, location, or country - to understand trends at an actionable level.

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    Measuring new hire retention

    Capturing data about new hire retention during the full onboarding process (and beyond!) is an impactful way to achieve onboarding success. A note on the positive side: Your recruitment and core HR systems likely already have all the data you need to build a baseline and start measuring today.

    Here, we want to take a modern view of new hire retention that expands the success criteria of recruitment from the traditional “employee accepted offer” toward a much more meaningful “employee fully onboarded & passed probation”. Because in the end, what good is a new hire who does not show up on day 1 or calls it quits during week 3?

    Two main periods deserve separate attention: Retention during preboarding and retention during orientation & integration.

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    Measuring no-shows during preboarding

    With no-shows, we mean employees that have accepted a job offer but did not show up to work on their planned start date. There are many reasons for recruits dropping out, but 44% of no-shows did so because of a better offer from another company.

    The relevant metric for this is what we call the “preboarding retention rate”: How many new hires does your organization retain during the weeks & months leading to their start date?

    Preboarding retention rate = # of show-ups on day 1 / # of accepted offers

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    Let’s take an example from Talmundo customer ManpowerGroup UK. They felt the pain of a low preboarding retention rate and decided to invest in a revamped, technology-supported process. The result? A whopping 37% reduction in non-starters, which directly impacts recruitment costs, business continuity, team culture and more.

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    Measuring early leavers during orientation & integration

    With early leavers, we mean employees that start a new job but decide to resign early, either during probation or in the first months after it. 86% of employees make up their minds about staying long-term with a company in the first 6 months, so the impact of the early weeks on employee retention is not to be underestimated.

    The relevant metric for this is what we call the “integration retention rate”: How many new hires do we retain during the first months* on the job.

    Integration retention rate = # of employees staying for 90 days / # of show-ups on day 1

    *New hire integration usually takes longer than a few weeks, but we generally recommend viewing at least the first 90 days through an onboarding lens.

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    Measuring time-to-productivity during onboarding

    Increasing your new hires’ time-to-productivity is a win/win. The sooner new hires become ‘productive’, the sooner they can start contributing to the business outcomes of your organization. On top of that, having new hires productive faster takes less time away from colleagues for coaching and mentoring.

    Measuring time-to-productivity is slightly more complicated, however. 

    While managers generally have a subjective feeling about when a new hire is ‘productive’, we recommend a more objective approach that uses a role’s job description to identify when an employee has become productive: The moment a new hire can execute all the tasks on their job description (or at least those that are relevant to the actual profile hired), they can be called “fully productive”. 

    Time-to-productivity is then the number of days between this ‘productivity’ date and a hire’s start date.

    Time-to-productivity = “fully productive” date - start date

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    If you’re using employee onboarding software like Talmundo, you can easily schedule prompts for managers to assess the productivity level of a new team member. This produces quantitative data that can be viewed per team, location, or country to compare and contrast.

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    Measuring new hire engagement during onboarding

    Data on retention and time-to-productivity gives quantifiable insights into how well your pre- and onboarding program performs in helping people stick around and execute the tasks you hired them for. But it does not say anything about HOW employees perform, feel, and participate in the modern workplace. This is where measuring engagement comes in.

    Measuring new hire engagement answers a couple of important “How” questions:

    How do employees feel?
    How do employees do their work?
    How do employees impact the rest of the team?

    Asking people directly about their workplace engagement leads to poor results as it’s simply a difficult question to answer. So we recommend looking at more granular metrics that together complete an actionable picture of new hire engagement.

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    When you use an onboarding tool like Talmundo, you get both standardized metrics as well as the option to create custom surveys that match important milestones along your employee onboarding timeline.

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    Onboarding app activation rate
    Are employees willing to engage with the tools and content you create for them?

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    Onboarding journey progression
    Are employees participating in the activities you set out for them?

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    Feedback survey scores
    How well do new hires score themselves on engagement-related questions?

    Want to measure engagement beyond onboarding? Check out Weekli by Talentech to automate science-backed pulse surveys for all employees.

    From these easy-to-track metrics, you can infer a pretty good picture of the state of new hire engagement at your organization. And since we’ve broken things down into separate, more specific metrics, they are also a lot more actionable if you see low performance across the board or in specific groups.


    Metrics measured, now what?

    When you’ve done the measuring well, you have a few things in place (that most organizations lack!). 

    You have a baseline understanding of the status quo. 
    You can pinpoint where things are going well in your organization, and where you see problems. 
    And most importantly, you have created a framework for identifying the impact of any actions you take in the future.

    Now it’s time to take action on your metrics and bring your employee onboarding to the next level. Get in touch with one of our onboarding consultants and see how Talmundo can help you improve your onboarding program in 2024!

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    Topics: Onboarding , Featured
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