Recently, I read an article on the topic of successful onboarding that posed the question, “So, how do you get it right?” According to the piece, 86% of new hires decide whether to stay or leave an organization within the first 6 months. And worse, The Wynhurst Group reports 22% of turnover occurs during the first 45 days of employment. VP of Research at Taleo Dave Wilkins explains, “The assumption that we can bombard people with everything they need to know in 90 days and not continually reinforce those things is a mistake.”

Onboarding should begin with the first point of contact by a company representative and continue through the employee’s first year. But as an organization builds and works to perfect its onboarding strategy, measurements and metrics are important in gauging successes and shortcomings. That includes acceptance versus dropout rates during the hiring and onboarding process, and measurement of the three Q’s: quickness, quality, and (ongoing) query. 

Knowing which metrics matter when measuring turnover is almost as important as the measurement itself. What is it exactly that will tell you how your interview process is faring? Is the highest rate of exodus occurring around the 3 month mark and if so, what is happening then (or not) that needs to be changed? Dakotta Alex of Dakotta Ventures covers some great information in his article on good versus bad turnover and different turnover metrics.

Once there is a solid understanding of who is leaving, when, and for what reason, then it’s time to look at efficiencies and the big picture in an intentional way. Often the onboarding process is “delegated” to a 60-page packet and quick greeting on the employee’s first day of work. But it should start much sooner and go on much longer. Here are some critical questions to ask your organization in an effort to make smart alterations for the future: 

  • How well, and how quickly, did we acclimate you to the organization as a candidate, then as a new hire?
  • From the first meeting with a company representative to the time you joined the company, did the process take place in a timely and efficient manner? How did that sway your decision to accept our offer? 


  • Now as an employee, how have you adapted culturally to the organization?
  • Do you feel comfortable here and have you adapted to our cultural norms?
  • Do you have friends at work? (People like to work where they have friends, so this is telling about how they have connected and if the company is facilitating those relationships.) 

Query (ongoing):

  • Do you feel you understand what is expected of you?
  • Is your manager a good leader? Do you mesh with him or her?
  • Were the promises made to you during the recruiting process kept? Is there alignment with what you were told and what you eventually learned after working here for some time? 

With consistent checks along the way, metrics will provide the information needed in determining the effectiveness of your onboarding program. Data should be compared continually within a large organization and often in smaller organizations. When numbers become exceedingly high or low, that is a red flag to evaluate your processes and adjust accordingly. Unnecessary turnover is simply too expensive and can be avoided with thoughtful planning and understanding of how employees are being introduced into the company culture.
Cindy Lubitz is Founder and Managing Director of inTalent Consulting Group. 

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