How do you measure the success of your onboarding program?

Appical Team
Eric-Jan Pouw
June 18, 2020
min lezen
As Head of Customer Onboarding at Appical, I start each new customer trajectory with the same question: “What do you want to get out of the onboarding program?” I not only want to know what problem we are going to solve, but also when the onboarding program is successful according to the client. This way, I know what I can do to help my clients. Defining the right KPIs to measure and improve an onboarding program deserves more attention.

Find the right way to measure for your organization

Last year, I had the honor of being on the jury of the Onboard.Award, which was presented at the annual onboarding event Onboard.Amsterdam. As a jury, we defined five criteria the entries were judged against. One of those criteria was measuring. We wanted to see which KPIs had been selected for the onboarding program, as you need these to determine the impact of the onboarding program. You can then measure how much progress has been made. You just have to find the right way to measure the results. I can help you get started.

Step 1: What do you want to get out of it? Defining your KPIs

Do you want to measure how welcome your new hires feel? In that case, you can have them fill in a survey, for example. Do you want to measure whether your onboarding program has contributed to getting the new hires up and running faster? Take a look at the output, for instance in the project management tool used by your organization. Maybe your employees have to record their hours. Check how billable someone is after following the current onboarding program.  

Are these points recognizable for your organization, and do you feel your KPIs can be improved? First, write down why you feel a good onboarding program is important. Things to think of:

  • You want to make new hires feel welcome;
  • You want to help new hires build a network by getting to know their colleagues;
  • You want to get new hires operational as soon as possible;
  • You want new hires to feel connected and a part of your organization at an earlier stage;
  • You want to manage expectations of new hires.

A good guideline for how to establish your KPIs are the four C’s of onboarding, developed by Talya N. Bauer. Take a look at the various elements of your onboarding program; which of the elements stand out most?

Step 2: How are you going to measure the results?

Think critically about how you want to measure things. For me, a yes/no question such as: “Did you like the speakers at the induction meeting?” is not a very interesting question in a survey to measure the success of the onboarding program. The question: “On a scale of 1 to 5, how well did your colleagues help you get started?” will give you a much more specific answer. 

My tip is to measure smaller elements of the onboarding process at specific moments in time. For example: Before the first working day, you can already check whether your new employee is ready to get started and completed the preparation phase. After the first week, you can ask how things are going, and you can schedule progress interviews at the end of the trial period and after the first hundred days. This already gives you four measuring moments throughout the onboarding journey. 

Tip: Use onboarding technology

To measure results you can use onboarding technology, such as our onboarding platform, which allows you to monitor progress and analyze the answers from your new employees.


Did you know? After the implementation of Appical's onboarding platform, the  average grade for the overall onboarding process increased from a 6.9 to a 8.1! Source: Survey among 60 clients in June 2020
Examples of questions about the onboarding program in the Appical platform
Examples of questions about the onboarding program in the Appical platform

Step 3: What do you want to do with the conclusions?

If you measure the effect of the onboarding program, you know what works well, whether there are things you missed, and whether the information given is being processed and applied.  

For example, one of my clients noticed that the rules on information security and compliance were not properly enforced. As part of their onboarding, employees have to go complete tasks in their Appical app, where these rules are explained. The customer decided to improve the content on this subject by adding gamification. 

And guess what? After just a short while, compliance was the most successful element of the entire new onboarding program. In fact, it now gets the highest scores from new employees! In short, by intelligently measuring and monitoring your onboarding program, you can improve the onboarding experience. 

Bonus tip: Download our onboarding baseline measurement template

[Image EN] Onboarding survey

Have you not determined your KPIs yet? Good, because then you have room to grow! Start with a survey to evaluate how your new employees have experienced their onboarding, how they score their onboarding, and where they see room for improvement. 

This not only helps you make an inventory of your KPIs, but is also a good benchmark. You now have the first (baseline) results, which you can compare with the results when the survey is repeated at the end of the next quarter. You can use our standard baseline measurement to get started. Download our 'Employee onboarding survey' template! 

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