(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Readex Research, which provides expert survey services to help businesses understand their internal and external customers. Their services include employee experience surveys. Enjoy the post!)
With unemployment levels at historic lows, it’s no wonder that employee retention is a priority. A key factor in employee retention is onboarding. According to a Korn Ferry survey, 98 percent of respondents said onboarding programs are key to keeping employees. And frankly, onboarding programs are reasonable in terms of cost per employee. I’ve seen articles estimating the cost to onboard an employee as low as $100. HR Onboard says the cost to onboard a new employee is $400.
Even if we don’t have an exact onboarding cost, when the average cost per hire is $4129, then spending a few hundred dollars to save the company’s thousands of dollars just makes good business sense. It also makes good business sense to be sure the company’s onboarding program is effective.
There are several ways to measure the effectiveness of onboarding. For example, you can use Kirkpatrick’s Levels of Evaluation. You could also use a metric like turnover. The rationale being that better onboarding should result in lower turnover.
Another way that we can measure the success of onboarding is by asking new hires for feedback. Think of it as “checking in” or “taking a pulse” on how a new hire is doing. But not in a casual, informal manner. Pulses or check-ins are a formal survey process through which employees are asked to provide feedback on their initial employment experiences. They can be conducted in several forms: written, electronic, or one-on-one.
Using Electronic Onboarding Pulse Surveys
Today, I want to focus on the electronic type of survey. Not because the other types – written and in-person – are inferior; but because there’s a real opportunity with electronic pulses to automate some tasks that, with the others, you would have to do manually. Confused? Don’t be. Keep reading and I promise I’ll get to it. An electronic survey can be distributed several ways:
· A short 5-10 question survey at predesignated intervals like 60 days or six months.
· A one-question survey distributed at random times or automatically after one week or 30 days.
· OR a combination of both.
I asked Readex Research CEO Jack Semlerwhat companies should consider when they’re trying to decide the best way to survey employees for feedback. “The number of questions should be kept to a minimum, no more than 10 if you want to get maximum participation. Of course, this means it’s crucial to get those questions just right, so there needs to be some thinking about what is truly important to explore. In ourOnboarding Check Survey Platform, we only ask five, which we feel is enough to identify how the process is going along, if there are any issues impeding progress or the relationship is at risk. In terms of how often, that really depends on how long a company feels their onboarding process takes. If it’s just a couple of months, once is probably enough. If it’s longer, maybe two or three times.”
Good Questions Lead to Valuable Feedback
Jack mentioned the importance of good question design. That can’t be emphasized enough. Once the survey methodology has been defined, it’s important to design and implement it well. Pulses must have a purpose.Here are a couple of examples:
1. Please rate your experience at our company so far:
A. I ‘ve had an easy time meeting my coworkers.
B. The job is what was explained to me during the interview.
C. Communication from my supervisor is clear
D. The employee handbook has provided me with helpful information.
2. If a friend or acquaintance were looking for a job, how likely would you be to recommend that they apply here?
Keep in mind, you’ve heard me say before, “The worst thing organizations can do is ask employees for feedback and do nothing with the information.” Pulse surveys should be actionable. And, this is the piece that I believe can separate electronic check-ins from written or in-person ones.
Organizations have the ability to look at pulse survey results over time to see if there are trends they need to address. Hate to say it but if one employee offers feedback to their supervisor, while it might be taken seriously, it might not be acted upon because it’s only one person. In addition, a supervisor might not tell HR about it because again “it’s one employee”, when the reality is there’s something happening in multiple departments.
However, if HR is using the electronic pulse results to notice a trend around the organization, they are in a position to address it. Conversely, if the company makes a change based on employee pulse results, they have the ability to potentially send prior survey participants a quick one question check-in to see if the issue was addressed. This allows employees to see that the company is paying attention, which increases employee loyalty and engagement. Thus, improving retention.
Onboarding Pulse Surveys Provide a Proactive Approach
I like to think we all agree that onboarding is a very visible and important part of the employee experience. So, it’s only logical for organizations to make sure onboarding is doing what it’s been designed to do. Onboarding pulse surveys create that opportunity. Because the last thing the company wants is for an employee to quit in frustration about an issue that could have been addressed a long time ago.
P.S. If your organization is looking into surveys as a way to get employee feedback, Readex has created a handy series of white papersto help with your employee engagement survey design and implementation. You might want to bookmark these links for future reference:
“5 Questions to Ask Yourself about Employee Engagement Surveys”
“6 Guidelines for Employee Engagement Survey Design”
“3 Tips for Presenting Employee Engagement Survey Results”25
Robbie Miller says
I dont think I will be the only one to say that they dont like those happy smiley face buttons! Every airport I go to there is one of those. Also in every airport there is a kid pressing the unhappy face 500 times!
Andy @ ISL says
As someone who works in recruitment I’m exposed to a lot of onboarding processes – from quick explainer emails through to multi-week courses with goodie bags – and the one thing that strikes me, over and over again, is that often the companies taking onboarding seriously are completely missing the point.
At the end of the day – particularly in the tech sector – churn is such a strong factor that they fail to realise it’s important to use the information they have, to build a streamline experience for new employees and ensure they hit the ground running.
Good developers are in short supply – they can pick and choose jobs in a way few professions still enjoy. It’s important that they begin producing a return on the often very high salaries they command as quickly as possible.