“If we can’t measure it, we can’t manage it.” How often is that phrase used – especially as a prompter to get more HR professionals investing the time and energy required to adopt a more data-driven approach to their roles? According to ELMO’s just-released 2022 HR Industry Benchmark Report, based off a survey of more than 1500 HR professionals across Australia and New Zealand, the tide may finally be turning.

Why are onboarding metrics important?

There is growing recognition of the critical role onboarding plays not just in getting new hires up to speed, productive and connected to peers as quickly as possible, but also for the longer-term retention of employees. However, few areas within HR’s remit have been impacted by events of the past two years more than onboarding. 

The challenges relating to providing opportunities for new hires to bond or integrate with team members, or to form an attachment to organisational culture, have been exacerbated not just by COVID-19 but also the ongoing shift towards remote and hybrid work. This can have an impact on innovation, ideas generation and the social bonds that new hires need to build with people from different teams or departments within their organisation.

In this new post-pandemic era, it’s never been more critical to gauge how effective onboarding is – and the only way to do that is to gather, analyse and report on a range of onboarding metrics. 


What onboarding metrics are being used?

According to the survey results, the use of almost all onboarding metrics increased in 2021, with the most noticeable increases occurring for ‘employee performance milestones being met’ and ‘change in overall productivity’ (both with 6 percentage point increases over 2020). This uptick in the use of metrics is also reflected in the decline in the number of respondents selecting ‘none – we don’t measure / use any metrics’, although over a third (36%) still selected this option. See the full results in the graph below.


What onboarding metrics are being used?

’New hire retention’ is by some margin the most-used metric to assess onboarding, and this has been the case since 2019. 

However, this still only represents a third (34%) of respondents. The low level of respondents using a new hire retention metric strengthens the misplaced perception that new hire turnover / retention rates are not of great interest at the leadership level, despite the way this metric can help identify issues early and save the organisation from duplicating hiring and training costs.

There is strong interest in tracking the performance of new hires – not just for themselves but for teams as a whole. 

This can be seen in the increased use of metrics relating to ‘employee performance milestones being met’, ‘time to proficiency’ and ‘change in overall productivity’. Performance expectations should always be mapped out for new hires. While it’s a fine line between overloading new hires with unachievable objectives and getting them up to full productivity as quickly as possible, it’s also worth noting that performance measures don’t always have to be based around ‘hard’ KPIs; gentler KPIs for new hires could focus on getting to know new peers or customers, or understanding what each department in the organisation does.

Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS®^) is on the rise as an onboarding metric to track.

Although this was selected by only 1 in 10 respondents, this is a metric that may increase in popularity in coming years as the employer brand and the reputation of employers becomes a priority, and the employee experience (EX) becomes ever-more intertwined with the customer experience (CX). Read more about how to set up and utilise an eNPS®^ in this blog by PeoplePulse, an ELMO company.

Building the foundations for a data-driven onboarding process

 A simple way to calculate new hire turnover (aka ‘early separators’) is to take the most recent segment of new hires who started between 24 and 12 months ago, and then work out how many of them left within their first year of service. These figures can also be divided into voluntary and involuntary leavers. Voluntary leavers are potentially reflective of a poor new starter experience. The involuntary leavers are potentially reflective of a poor hire / job fit.

It’s also important to investigate how technology can be used for the gathering, reporting and analysis of key onboarding metrics. The benchmark report revealed that technology impacts the extent to which metrics will be utilised. The usage of 6 out of 7 onboarding metrics increased for those respondents with technology fully implemented versus respondents without technology fully implemented.

In addition, gather feedback about the onboarding experience from new hires via the use of surveys: What was done well? What can be improved? Was the duration satisfactory?

Finally, consider introducing ‘stay conversations’ for those who have been with the organisation for six months or one year (or longer). Were the promises made during the recruitment and onboarding experience followed through? With high employee turnover expected throughout 2022, stay conversations can be used as a proactive way to retain employees.

This blog provides a small sample of the valuable data and insights found in ELMO’s 2022 HR Industry Benchmark Report. The report covers all aspects of HR’s role in business, from recruitment and payroll through to learning & development, and onto performance management and onboarding. To download your copy, click here.

^®Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

HROnboard, an ELMO company, offers a best-in-class software solution that reduces the amount of time HR teams and leaders spend securing the best candidates and undertaking the critical onboarding process for new hires. Our solution also helps manage internal employee role changes and can create a smooth and seamless process for exiting employees.

ELMO Software is a cloud-based solution that helps thousands of organisations across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to effectively manage their people, process and pay. ELMO solutions span the entire employee lifecycle from ‘hire to retire’. They can be used together or stand-alone, and are configurable according to an organisation’s unique processes and workflows. Automate and streamline your operations to reduce costs, increase efficiency and bolster productivity. For further information, contact us.

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