10 Key Onboarding Metrics to Maximise Employer-Employee Success

Onboarding forms an essential part of an employee’s journey at an organisation and sets the tone for the employer-employee relationship. Success at this front promotes not just a new hire’s productivity but the organisation’s overall retention rates as well. Failure here entails early exit of hires, spiralling the cost of recruitment. A robust onboarding program can ensure reaching the highest levels of productivity at the earliest. In a data-driven world, onboarding metrics play a crucial role in measuring and tracking a new hire’s onboarding experience at the organisation.

The need for onboarding metrics

Onboarding matters, and so does onboarding metrics. Research by Gallup found only a paltry 12% of the workforce ‘strongly agree’ that their company provides a good onboarding program. It is no secret that poor onboarding is a major cause of high employee turnover. Mining and utilising statistical research data for employee onboarding metrics can help in taking a data-driven approach and:

  • Help you understand in which phase of the employee life-cycle issues arise and develop an action plan to fix the same
  • Improve the effectiveness of an ongoing onboarding program ‘in the moment’ using the available metrics
  • Prevent a poor onboarding experience and have a better talent retention rate
  • Promote consistency and compliance relating to both the HR team’s goals and business results

Given its criticality, continually measuring onboarding for improving employee onboarding experiences is where the HR metrics for onboarding come in. Onboarding KPIs (key performance indicators) are useful tools to quantitatively measure employee performance over their life cycle. KPIs provide specific targets and milestones for analysing the forte and shortcomings of an onboarding program. Having good and impactful KPIs will enable key stakeholders in talent acquisition and retention to adjust existing processes as new data comes along. A few such KPIs are listed below:

  • Setting clear and concise goals
  • Setting realistically attainable goals that are relevant to the organisation
  • Base them on defined timelines
  • Ability to measure progress toward the end-goal
  • Give clear information about the progress made
  • Enable tracking and measurement of performance, quality, efficiency, and other such factors

You might also be interested to read: Onboarding Isn’t Enough: Cultural Integration of New Executives is a Holistic Venture

10 key onboarding metrics

Here is a look at 10 common areas in which HR teams showed be gathering and analysing data:
1. Time to productivity: What is time to productivity? It is the timespan from a new hire’s first day to when he/she reaches expected productive output. The objective of onboarding is to adapt and prepare new hires to attain their productivity potential as quickly as possible. The shorter the time-to-productivity cycle, the better the experience for everyone involved, resulting in reduced costs.

2. Cost of achieving optimum productivity level (OPL): The total cost of getting a new hire up to speed includes the cost of recruitment, training, and salary to the trainers among other things. OPL is a useful metric to track,  with the target of reducing costs over some time.

3. New hire turnover (voluntary and involuntary): New hire turnover is an important indicator that measures the number of employees who leave their job within the first year. While voluntary turnover calculates the number of employees who leave the organisation of their own will, involuntary turnover looks at either the department or the company reducing the workforce or managers terminating new hires found to be subpar in one or more KPIs.

New hires quitting voluntarily soon after joining is a clear indicator of something being amiss with either the recruitment process or the employee expectations. Though an important metric it is a lagging indicator as once the employee quits it’s too late to address their dissatisfaction.

A higher involuntary turnover due to suboptimal employee performance is an indicator that should never be missed as it points to deficient recruitment, hiring, or/and onboarding processes. The organisation is either hiring the wrong people or not conditioning potentially good candidates to succeed. In both scenarios, the objective is to resolve issues so the company can bring employee retention rates back to par.

4. Retention threshold: The new hire retention threshold represents the point at which new employees exit the organisation. If there is a pattern where your company loses new hires, say of 10% new hires leave within 90 days of joining and 25% leave within 270 days, then that is a concerning area that requires analysis and intervention.

5. New hire satisfaction: Feedback forms and satisfaction surveys at regular intervals in the first year of joining are a good way to keep a tab on the sentiment of new hires. 

6. Onboarding retention rate per manager: A low new hire retention rate for a particular manager may be indicative of trouble in the team or that it needs some support. On the other hand, analysing a manager with a high new hire retention rate helps an organisation understand what they are doing right and implement the learnings for other teams as well.

7. Training completion rate: A low training completion rate is not only indicative of subpar training quality, but also of problems in the way it is being rolled out. For instance, the time allotted to complete it may be little.

Developing plans and checklists to make new hires aware of the training and upskilling opportunities is an important part of an onboarding program.

8. 360-degree feedback: Gathering feedback from a new hire’s peers and managers can provide insights into what may be missing from the onboarding process. Accumulating this information over a while may help the organisation understand what resources and training could be put in place to make life easier for a new hire.

9. Return on investments: Identify KPIs such as higher retention and recruitment rates, faster time to productivity, increased employee engagement, and higher employee experience ratings that help the organisation measure onboarding ROI in terms of the business outcomes it seeks. ROI trends are seen to be fast and evident where the onboarding process is exceptional.

10. Engagement rates: Metrics such as absenteeism, turnover, the company’s ratings on employer review sites, etc. are good indicators of the degree of employee engagement. A healthy employee engagement rate is indicative of a strong employer-employee bond where both have the drive to innovate and stay productive. 

Onboarding can either be a source of pride for an organisation if done well or it can become a source of criticism if it goes wrong. Having robust onboarding metrics in place ensures long-term success for new hires within the organisation.


  • 9 Onboarding Metrics to Track at Your Organisation | AIHR
  • 7 KPIs & Metrics for Measuring Onboarding Success | NetSuite | June 28, 2021
  • The Most Used Employee Onboarding Metrics | introdus

You might also be interested to read: Virtual Onboarding: Key Things to Consider

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