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employee-onboarding

Employee onboarding is critical to employee—and business—success. Onboarding lays the foundational knowledge, enabling new employees to perform their roles competently. Moreover, onboarding is valuable for integrating new employees into the organization and setting the tone for employee morale. 

However, despite the importance of employee onboarding and its implications for business performance and talent retention, companies implement programs with varying degrees of success.

Whether you’re building an onboarding initiative from scratch or making adjustments to an existing program, it’s vital to solicit feedback. Gathering employee feedback from new hires is vital to creating comprehensive onboarding programs that accelerate employee’s preparedness to take on job responsibilities.

Read on to learn best practices for collecting employee onboarding feedback.

An employee onboarding program is the first impression of a productive employee-employer relationship. Collecting employee feedback, especially input regarding the new hire’s experience, can help determine if your onboarding program helps employees feel welcomed and supported.

That feedback informs your onboarding program and, in turn, allows you to set employees up for success, improve employee experience and retention, and enhance the onboarding process.

The goal of employee onboarding is to equip new hires with the tools and knowledge to take on the responsibilities of their roles confidently. 

Successful onboarding communicates the organization’s culture, mission, values, and brand. Onboarding programs introduce new hires to stakeholders, processes, and procedures. Likewise, an onboarding program may include a buddy or mentor system that new employees can rely on for quick answers or referrals. 

Employees, especially new hires, gather bits of information from all their interactions with your company. This information—what they observe, learn, and do—informs their employee experience (EX).

EX is critical to business success. Engaged employees who are satisfied with their experience contribute to a positive customer experience. Employees—their attitudes, interactions, and engagement—also impact how customers perceive your company. 

During onboarding, you can shape the employee experience through your team orientation, company presentation, and role overview. Positively executed, these onboarding activities can be the foundation for an employee’s experience—and, ultimately, the customer experience.

Still, it is not up to you to determine the effectiveness of your onboarding program. New hires provide invaluable insight into their satisfaction with your company, which can impact our next point: employee retention.

Employee experience is a contributing factor to employee retention. Employees who feel valued by their organization and equipped to do their jobs are more likely to stay than employees with little confidence in their employer.

Collecting employee onboarding feedback gives you a baseline of your new employees’ experience and lets you respond to concerns immediately.

You don’t know what you don’t know. New employees bring a fresh perspective that you or your company’s veterans may be unable to call out or recognize.

Leveraging new perspectives can help you build more comprehensive onboarding experiences that empower employees with the knowledge and connections to assimilate and thrive at your company.

To collect employee feedback, you need a process.

Follow these steps to collect feedback to improve your employee onboarding experience:

  1. Select the best method for collecting feedback
  2. Identify who to reach out to for feedback
  3. Ask relevant questions
  4. Assess when to reach out for feedback

There are plenty of methods for collecting employee feedback, from interviews to suggestion boxes, but if you want constructive feedback, you must consider anonymity.

Many employees are uncomfortable giving honest feedback because of the fear of retaliation. The same applies to new employees who want to make a good impression. This mentality results in insincere feedback that does not address legitimate concerns.

Anonymous surveys solve this fear of repercussions and allow you to gather candid employee feedback about their onboarding. They do not collect identifiable information like an employee ID number. 

Use the SurveyMonkey new hire onboarding survey template and select our Anonymous Responses Collector to gather constructive onboarding feedback.

New employees are prime candidates for your employee onboarding feedback survey. However, you can obtain employee onboarding feedback from other employees, including employees returning from an extended leave or those transferring to a different department.

Everyone who participates in onboarding activities should provide feedback. These people include mentors and managers who facilitate the onboarding program.

There are no wrong questions, but there are more optimal questions that will support your needs.

Here are some examples of employee onboarding survey questions:

  • How valuable was the new hire onboarding at our company?
  • Before your first day at work, did you feel you had received all the necessary information, such as your onboarding schedule?
  • How clear was the information presented during the onboarding?
  • Should onboarding have been longer or shorter, or was it just about right?
  • How can we improve the onboarding experience?

The primary onboarding occurs in the first days and weeks of an employee’s tenure. Employee onboarding extends for months—often as long as 12 months—after a new hire’s first day. For this reason, you should regularly survey new employees.

An example of this cadence is:

  • Day one
  • At two weeks
  • At one month
  • At three months
  • At six months
  • At nine months
  • At 12 months

Regular, ongoing employee satisfaction surveys allow you to respond to potential pain points before they negatively impact employee experience and retention.

When surveying for employee onboarding feedback, you should ask relevant questions to gather specific responses. Detailed feedback helps identify clear problems and actionable steps to implement quickly.

New hires are more likely to provide honest survey feedback when their responses are anonymous. If new employees suspect their critical responses could be traced back to them, they may be hesitant to share freely. Anonymity protects new hires from potential retaliation.

In addition to more honest feedback, respondents may invest more thought into their responses, providing you with more quality data to improve the onboarding experience.

Once you collect valuable candid employee feedback, you could file all that data away in a file folder. However, it’s best to create an action plan that considers your new hire cohorts' immediate pain points. 

Look at it this way: new hires must suspend their apprehension and hesitations to provide thoughtful feedback during onboarding. A fast response to feedback demonstrates a commitment to growth, enhances employee satisfaction, and builds trust. It also communicates that their voices matter and they can make a difference in the workplace.

All in all, collecting feedback provides the information you need to create a better employee onboarding and workplace.

After creating an action plan, it’s vital to communicate any changes you’ve implemented due to employee surveys. Your fast and targeted response demonstrates a commitment to addressing the concerns and priorities of employees.

A positive feedback loop builds trust; employees have confidence that administrators and executives will resolve their concerns and create a more productive work environment. It also has several other implications, including greater employee satisfaction and retention.

Employees aren’t the only winners, though. Continued improvement to processes and policies will help your company increase productivity and profitability. 

Your employee onboarding program is vital to business success. Employee onboarding feedback is invaluable for measuring employee experience and optimizing profitability. 

See how SurveyMonkey can help improve your employee onboarding experience with an employee onboarding survey. Get started today to gather feedback from your company’s newest additions.

HR toolkit: Make employee experience your competitive advantage

HR leaders can use this toolkit to help drive exceptional employee experiences.

Navigating the evolving HR landscape

Learn how HR professionals can deliver more personalized, human-centric programs to improve employee satisfaction and build a world-class workforce

Enhancing the employee lifecyle: strategies and insights for EX success

Enhance workforce management and engagement through our in-depth guide on the employee lifecycle.

Using eNPS to close the employee experience gap

Discover how to track employee experience and close performance gaps over time with surveys.