How to Refine Your Onboarding Process: The Importance of What Employees Say

by Lauren Girardin on March 01, 2017

Every organization will have a unique employee onboarding process. Of course, the details will be partly dictated by administrative, IT, legal, and human resource needs. But, for your onboarding to be effective, it should also be guided by continuous employee feedback.

How to get feedback to improve your employee onboarding process

Employee onboarding is all about people—what they’ve learned and haven’t, how they feel, how they’re fitting in, and how all of that affects their job performance. The best way to improve such a human-centered process is to get employee feedback from the people involved.

Design the feedback process to put the employee at ease. Tell the employee that their input is invaluable to helping the organization improve how new employees are welcomed and trained. Instill confidence in the process by sharing specific examples of how previous employee feedback has changed how the organization operates.

Eliminate the fear of the unknown by making the process transparent. Send the discussion topics to the employee in advance so they can think about the most useful feedback they can share. Dial down the formality by having the feedback conversation during a walk, or over coffee or lunch.

Reassure the employee that the conversations are not an indication that they did anything wrong. Let them know that the hope is that they feel empowered to be candid in their feedback. And, since the employee will likely want to talk about their manager’s role in their onboarding, have human resources hold some of these conversations.

The employee isn’t the only person you’ll want to get feedback from. Human resources staff should check in with managers and key coworkers on how to help the new employee better understand their job duties and adjust to the workplace.

Onboarding Quote.pngWhen to get employee feedback about the onboarding process

Don’t wait until the end of the employee’s first year to get their feedback about your onboarding process. By collecting feedback on a regular basis, your organization will be better able to adjust course and make incremental improvements along the way. You’re also less likely to repeat mistakes in your process and more likely to spot trouble before it can bloom into a serious problem.

Here’s one possible feedback schedule: Hold a meeting at the end of the employee’s first day to check their progress and their emotional state. Then, have less formal, quicker check ins throughout their first week. Later, get their feedback at one, two, three, and six months, and have a final feedback conversation on their hiring anniversary.

Questions to ask to get employee feedback about the onboarding process

There aonboarding process.jpgre many questions you can ask employees about their experiences as a new staff member. Here is a core set of essential questions to get the conversation started:

• Did we make you feel welcome?
• What was most memorable about your first day/month/year?
•What was your first impression of the organization?
• How has that first impression changed?
• Did we adequately explain your job responsibilities?
• Did we help you understand the connection between your role and the organization’s mission?
• Did we provide the information and resources you needed to do your job?
• Did we answer your questions/ share relevant resources?
• Did we help you set clear job goals?
• Was there anything that overwhelmed or confused you?
• What could we do better to help other new employees?

Organizational benefits from using feedback to improve the onboarding process

Getting employee feedback about the onboarding process can enhance everything else you do to be a great employer.

You’ll streamline your human resources work by focusing on the onboarding steps that yield results and eliminating those that don’t. You’ll identify and prioritize trainings and resources that employees need to perform their jobs at the highest level. And, you’ll cultivate a supportive workplace that can help you keep valuable employees for years to come.

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Lauren Girardin

Lauren Girardin is a marketing and communications consultant, writer, and speaker based in San Francisco. She helps organizations engage their communities and tell their stories. Her website is and you can connect with her on Twitter at @girardinl.

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