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Increase onboarding quality with key figures & KPIs

Onboarding often sets the tone for the rest of the employee's time at the company. Good onboarding ensures that new employees are quickly integrated socially and professionally into their new environment. But how do you know whether onboarding is a success for employees and managers? We present helpful key figures that you can use to measure the quality of your onboarding.

Why you should measure your onboarding

Onboarding is one of the most important stages in the employee lifecycle and has a significant impact on employee satisfaction. However, offering a good onboarding experience means a great deal of administrative effort on the part of the company. For HR and IT managers in particular, hiring new colleagues involves a large number of tasks.

But how do I ensure that what was previously developed in the onboarding concept also leads to the desired success? The answer: by measuring the quality of my onboarding process. The right instruments for this are key figures and KPIs.

Key figures are directly measurable values or combinations of several key figures. Onboarding KPIs help to make the onboarding process quantifiable and can represent both the employee and company perspective.

The key figures show that

  • how efficiently the onboarding processes currently work and where there is potential for optimization.
  • how satisfied employees are with the induction process.

KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are, as the name suggests, key performance indicators for the company. Which key figure is used as a KPI therefore depends on the strategic objectives. A KPI can be used to measure progress towards achieving the respective goal. 

And what should be measured? As is so often the case, there is no general answer to this question. Rather, the selected key figures must serve your purpose, i.e. be chosen based on your individual goals.

The basic objectives of the induction are:

  • Social integration
  • Professional integration
  • Creating a welcoming culture
  • Show appreciation
Depending on which goals are important to you, you should collect and analyze the corresponding key figures.

Which key figures should you keep an eye on?

There are a number of key figures for onboarding that are collected in many companies. We present the most important ones below.

The most important onboarding key figures

  1. Rate of successful hires
  2. Rate of early fluctuation
  3. Time to environmentally operative
  4. Time to fully operative
  5. Number of training sessions & feedback meetings
  6. Takeover rate
  7. Onboarding experience

1. rate of successful hires

The ratio is the ratio of the number of people who take up the position and the number of people who have signed an employment contract. The ratio allows conclusions to be drawn about recruiting, but can also be used as an onboarding indicator. This may sound confusing at first. However, it becomes clear when you realize that onboarding does not begin on the first working day, but rather when the contract is signed (you can find out more about the onboarding phases here).

Another job offer, personal reasons or a bad gut feeling - the reasons for not taking up a new position are very different. The latter in particular is a sign of a poor experience during preboarding.
If the quota is too high, you should not simply accept rejections. Instead, try to find out in a personal conversation what caused the person not to take up the new job. If the reasons lie in preboarding, the process for this phase should be improved as a matter of urgency. Regular contact with the new hires and showing them that you are looking forward to them starting soon are the key requirements here.

2. rate of early fluctuation

The early turnover rate results from the number of new starters and the number of those who leave the company again within the first few weeks or months. Early turnover also has different causes, which are not necessarily attributable to the company.

However, if employees leave the company early, this is often an indicator of low employee satisfaction. This in turn can indicate either problems in recruiting (possibly due to false promises) or in onboarding (e.g. lack of support). If you notice a high rate of early turnover, you should try to understand the reasons for this. An offboarding discussion is a good way to find out more about the reasons.

If onboarding is regularly cited as a reason, you should revise the process regardless of the question of employee satisfaction. After all, reducing early turnover also makes sense from an economic perspective. A departure can mean costs of up to €50,000 for the company. This includes direct costs (severance pay, vacation compensation, recruitment costs and the cost of onboarding new employees) and indirect costs (time spent by the HR department, lost revenue due to unfulfilled orders, etc.).

3. time to environmentally operative

The term "time to environmentally operational" refers to the time required to provide new employees with the workplace equipment and all the work equipment they need to get started. Work equipment includes everything that is necessary to perform a task in the best possible way. This is not just a desk, office chair or laptop. A notepad, company cell phone or company car are also among the necessary work equipment.

In many companies, procuring all work equipment still takes an enormous amount of time. Appropriate providers have to be found and punctual delivery organized. Technology has to be configured and integrated into existing MDM solutions. For HR and IT managers and office managers, all of this takes up a lot of time.

The time to environmentally operational is therefore of particular interest to the company. This is because it shows how well current processes are working and whether there is scope for optimization and therefore savings. However, you should also regularly check the key figure in relation to employees. If provisioning regularly takes too long and employees are not ready to start from the first working day at the latest, this usually leads to dissatisfaction.

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4. time to fully operative

The key figure "time to fully operational" indicates how long it takes for new employees to be fully operational. This value is important because your employees can only deliver their full performance from this point onwards.

An essential part of onboarding is professional integration. The aim is to provide new colleagues with both the equipment and the necessary know-how to carry out their respective tasks. As it allows conclusions to be drawn about how effective training and further education measures are, this key figure is important for this area of onboarding.
However, always assess the time to fully operational depending on the context. Onboarding a marketing team generally takes less time than onboarding a developer. The same applies when comparing managers to "ordinary" employees.

5. number of training sessions & feedback meeting

When developing the onboarding concept, the extent to which training should be carried out during onboarding is usually also determined in order to provide employees with the necessary basics. The same applies to feedback meetings with superiors and colleagues.

In this respect, the number of such measures that were actually necessary in the end to make newcomers fit for their task is recorded as a key figure. As a result, it provides indications

  • on the quality of the training and discussions
  • whether the previously selected number corresponds to reality
  • on the fit of the position and the employee hired

6. takeover rate

The takeover rate, i.e. the number of hires who are taken on at the end of the probationary period, is another helpful metric. As a key figure for onboarding, it also helps to classify the quality of induction.

A low takeover rate may indicate that the onboarding was not sufficient to get the new team members on board.

  • prepare well for their task or
  • integrate them optimally into the company and the team.

7. onboarding experience

Last but not least, employee satisfaction with onboarding is a key performance indicator. After all, employees should not only be trained correctly. They should also quickly feel at home in their new environment.
The NPS - Net Promoter Score - is already used in many different areas as a key performance indicator to measure customer satisfaction. For some time now, the NPS system has also been used in the HR sector to determine employee satisfaction and loyalty. The principle can be broken down further and applied to the onboarding process.
To determine the NPS at company level, employees answer the question: "Would you recommend our company as an employer to friends and acquaintances?" The answer is given on a scale from 0 to 10 (0 = strongly disagree, 10 = strongly agree). This approach can be applied analogously to onboarding.
The NPS is calculated as the difference between promoters and detractors. Employees who answer the question with 9 or 10 are considered promoters. Detractors are all those who answer 0 to 6.

The NPS is then calculated as follows:

Calculation of the NPS

NPS = Promoters (in percent of all respondents) - Detractors (in percent of all respondents)

The NPS value range is therefore between -100 and +100.

Improve the onboarding process with key figures and KPIs

As mentioned, which of the above key figures you use for your company depends on the objectives of onboarding. Of course, you can also use other key figures in addition to those mentioned. It is also not unusual for other metrics to be used over time. A young start-up has different requirements than an established medium-sized company.
However, a structured process is necessary in order to work with key figures in a meaningful way. Only when there are fixed processes in onboarding can key figures be used to identify weaknesses and determine developments. If your onboarding is constantly changing, comparability is hardly possible.

If you determine from your key figures that there is a need for optimization, you need to find out where the causes lie. Once it is clear what is causing the poor values, you can define targets for improvement together with your team.

Based on the objectives, specific measures are then developed to achieve these objectives. A time frame should always be set for achieving the objectives. This should not be too long. Quarterly or half-yearly targets are usually suitable.

Example: KPI for onboarding

For example, if it turns out that the majority of resignations are due to a poor onboarding experience within the first 6 weeks after starting, a corresponding target could be: "The number of resignations in the first 6 weeks after starting work should be reduced by 50 % within the next 3 months."
The team realizes that feedback meetings help to allay the fears and concerns of new employees. For this reason, you decide to double the number of feedback meetings during this period.
At the end of the 3 months, you evaluate the KPIs and assess whether the chosen measure has brought the desired success.