7 performance indicators to monitor to measure the quality of your HR onboarding

4 March 2022

Why should we care about onboarding? 

The induction phase is when your new employees form their first impressions of your company. A good experience is vital to maximise your return on investment in recruitment. 

Properly executed, onboarding lays the foundation for the "3 Cs of success": cohesion, completion, competition. Cohesion motivates employees to achieve business goals together. When they are properly trained and equipped, the successful completion of their tasks and assignments is facilitated. And a motivated team that achieves its goals is the recipe for making your company competitive in its market.

How do you measure the quality of an employee onboarding? 

Recruiting talent is one of the three pillars of what is called "human capital management" (HCM). The factors that HCM experts pay attention to are: 1) cost per hire, 2) time to hire, 3) employer brand and effectiveness of the onboarding process.

For an HR department, the performance indicators to track should focus on how the onboarding process impacts employee experience, retention and recruitment rates, consistency and compliance, and other measures related to both HR and business objectives.

7 performance indicators to measure the effectiveness of your onboarding process

Improving employee experience and performance is not an easy exercise and requires the use of quantitative measures. Qualitative data such as cultural fit and the ability of the new recruit to build strong relationships with co-workers are important and need to be tracked, although these can be quantified and therefore objectified through indicators such as involuntary turnover or engagement rates.

Let's look at 7 areas where HR teams should collect data and analyse it.

Satisfaction of new recruits

Data on the satisfaction of new recruits with their induction experience is usually collected through interviews or anonymous questionnaires.

There are other methods of measuring the satisfaction of your new employees, such as "correlations". Correlations are measured by looking at the links between connections - encounters - and the engagement of your new recruit. Companies that promote connections between their employees establish a strong culture of cooperation and cohesion; this encourages experienced employees to spontaneously contact newcomers. These initiatives result in an increase in the commitment of new recruits, who are more motivated by being supported by their new colleagues.

One of the best ways to assess the satisfaction level of your new employees is to calculate your Net Promoter Score (NPS). Marketing experts will recognise this famous formula, which is used by some organisations to get an overview of their customers' satisfaction. The same principle can be applied to new recruits. 

Simply ask your new employees to rate on a scale of 1 to 10 how likely they are to recommend your company to a friend or former colleague (whom they like), based on their induction experience. Those who answer positively (between 9 and 10) will become your promoters - those who score between 1 and 6 will be your detractors. All others (scoring between 7 and 8) are considered "passive". To calculate your NPS from this data, subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. To take it a step further and get to the bottom of it, compare your NPS to that of your competitors (those who target the same talent profiles).

Voluntary and involuntary turnover

Monitor the number of employees who voluntarily leave your company of their own accord. When this number is higher than expected, and/or if your new recruits resign very soon after starting, this is a clear signal that something is wrong with your recruitment and/or integration process. Keep in mind that losing talent too soon is very costly: SHRM estimates the cost of replacing talent to be about 6-9 months of the former employee's salary.

Turnover is certainly an important indicator. But note that its measurement is carried out after departures. It will not help you recover lost talent. On the other hand, use it to identify positions or departments with a high turnover and investigate the reasons why they leave. This way you can anticipate certain departures and reverse the trend.

Keep an eye out for involuntary departures too. In this situation, the company has chosen to let go of its talent because of performance that was deemed to be below expectations. These departures are a warning about the quality of your company's recruitment and/or onboarding. At this stage, it becomes crucial to identify the factors that lead you to recruit the wrong candidates or to poorly support them during their integration.


In contrast to turnover, retention is the proportion of recruits who have decided to stay for a defined period. According to SHRM, some companies lose up to 50% of their employees in the first 18 months of employment, which is 50% turnover. When an employee stays beyond this period, it is likely that they will continue with you in the long term.

Make a good impression on your recruits from the start and you will be sure to retain them for longer. But the hard part is delivering a positive experience over time. To do this, deliver an experience that lives up to their expectations, and to everything you've sold them (or employee value proposition). Easier said than done: do you even know what your employees want from the company?

Being able to answer this question is key to attracting and retaining the right people. Setting up a foosball table and having lunch over pizza may not be as appealing to a senior employee, who may be more interested in the effort put into career development. Again, survey your new recruits to find out what would keep them with you longer.

Completion rate of training courses

A low completion rate for your training courses is not necessarily due to a lack of rigour on the part of your employees. This indicator may be indicative of other problems: lack of time for the recruit, training deemed unnecessary by managers. On the other hand, a high completion rate reflects the motivation of your employees to become more competent in their work.

Investing in training your employees is key to engaging them. A well-designed training programme is full of virtues for the company: more productive employees, a better retention rate, more innovations... On the employee side, it is proof that the company is ready to invest in the development of its talents.

💡 Include a checklist in your onboarding process to remind your recruits to complete their training. Share it with their managers for better task tracking.

Operational availability

Onboarding is all about getting new recruits on board and equipped to perform as quickly as possible. The time between the recruit's first day and the moment when he or she reaches productivity levels reflects the performance of your onboarding process. The shorter the time, the more confidence you have that your onboarding has performed.

Readiness time varies between teams, hierarchical levels and positions. However, it should be within a common range for employees in the same position.

Get in touch with your managers to collect this data. They are in the best position to witness the daily performance of your recruits. Keep an eye on this indicator by organising a follow-up meeting with the managers at 30, 60 and 90 days after the integration of the recruits.

Alternatively, you can automate the sending of questionnaires to your managers to collect this information regularly.

Commitment rate

Being part of a group when you have just arrived is more than reassuring. For new employees, this feeling translates into a stronger commitment to the company's success. The employer-employee relationship has a lot to do with this. Once established, it is mutually beneficial to both parties.

On the other hand, when the relationship is slow to form or never forms, there is a risk that employees will not be able to engage. Even worse, they may consider leaving the company. The degree of commitment of your employees is a real thermometer of the health of the employer-employee relationship.

Assessing employee engagement means monitoring absenteeism, turnover, ratings on employer review sites (e.g. Glassdoor) and the eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score). The eNPS is similar to the standard NPS, but is used to determine how much your employees would recommend your company as a desirable place to work to their peers or ex-colleagues.

Return on investment

From an HR point of view, there are several ways to calculate the ROI of your recruitment, onboarding or training: better retention and recruitment rates, shorter operational readiness time, increased employee engagement, increased productivity.

Identify the KPIs needed to measure the ROI of your onboarding according to the business results you are seeking. A well executed onboarding process is usually followed by a quick and strong return on investment.