employee onboarding surveys
Management & Mindset

What to Include in your Employee Onboarding Surveys and Why (plus free template)

According to research from Jobvite, 30% of employees leave their jobs within their first 90 days. 

It’s no secret that onboarding is crucial for getting new hires up to speed in their new roles and your company culture. And you’ve only got three months to convince your employees that your company is a place where they can envision themselves for the long term.

But how can you ensure your employee onboarding program encourages new hires to stick around? By collecting constructive and data-driven feedback from your new employees early on, with an onboarding survey or questionnaire. 

This feedback will help you get to know your new hires, their expectations, and their level of satisfaction. It will also help you identify areas where your onboarding program needs improvement, and where you need to provide more training and support for new team members. 

In this article, we'll guide you on the type of questions to ask in your onboarding survey (and why). These questions will help you get the feedback you need to create an onboarding program that allows your new hires to succeed from their first day.

Plus, we've created a handy downloadable employee onboarding survey template that you can use to improve your onboarding process right away.

employee onboarding survey template

Increase new hire retention by asking the right questions.

Ask about the recruitment process

75% of job candidates are never or rarely asked for feedback after applying for a role. This is a missed opportunity for companies to get valuable insights into the effectiveness of their recruitment process. 

In your onboarding survey, ask new hires how they feel about your company's recruitment process and the quality of the information they received. Employee feedback from this section will not only help you improve the efficiency of your hiring process, but also attract better candidates too.

1. Does the job description align with the actual role

According to data from LinkedIn, 49% of job seekers believe that job details are one of the most important parts of a job description. It's essential to ask your newly hired employees if they feel their duties match the information presented during the hiring process. 

An accurate job description helps you attract better talent, and reduces the risk of low employee productivity, low morale, and high staff turnover. If the answers from the survey suggest a mismatch, then you should either improve the accuracy of the job description, or reassess work expectations.

2. Measure candidate satisfaction

Candidate satisfaction measures an employee's satisfaction with the recruitment process. A candidate satisfied with the hiring process is more likely to start their job feeling confident, at ease, and optimistic about their new role.

Using Likert scale questions is an effective way to get candidates to rate their satisfaction with your hiring process. This method typically measures respondent satisfaction on a five or seven point scale, or a full range of feelings from strongly agreeing to strongly disagreeing with the prompt

Likert Scale
Source: Embed Social

3. Identify areas where you can improve the recruiting process

Ask new hires which areas of recruiting need more work and which ones they enjoyed the most. This will give you a clear idea of what's working in your recruitment process and how you can improve the areas that aren't. For example, if new hires say that your company's interview process is too long or that recruiters are slow to respond to emails, you can address these issues in your company’s HR team's training. 

Ask about the orientation process

Employee orientation gives employees the basic organizational information to join their team and prepare for their new role within the company. In this section of your questionnaire, you can ask new hires if they have all the necessary tools and resources to seamlessly transition into their new roles. This section is also useful for determining if your new hire is aware of the company's policies, mission, and values.

1. Ask employees if they have the tools and resources they need

To get your new employees up and running from the start, you'll need to ensure they have all the information, technology, and tools they need to perform their jobs. Ask if they were given access to all the different company platforms (e.g., Email, Slack, Zoom, project management apps, etc.) for their first day of work. Also verify whether new employees are equipped with the manual equipment they need, such as work computers and phones, to ensure productivity and high performance.

It’s essential to find out if your new hires have read and signed their contracts and reviewed your employee handbook. This ensures new employees understand exactly what is expected of them in certain situations, while also stating your company's legal obligations and defining employee rights.

2. Find out if new hires have any questions

The first week on the job can be intimidating and nerve-wracking. Employees can sometimes be so overwhelmed that they forget (or are too afraid) to ask questions. 

An onboarding survey encourages employees to ask questions they may not have wanted to ask in person. A private or anonymous touchpoint helps create a supportive and safe learning environment. You can use these questions to make adjustments to your onboarding to ensure future new hires feel adequately prepared to take on their new job. 

Assess your employee’s engagement level

Include questions about engagement in your onboarding survey to measure employee satisfaction, motivation, and passion for their new roles —and the factors that influence it. This also enables you to track how engagement levels change throughout a new hire's tenure. 

For example, your results might reveal that your new hires feel overwhelmed and underprepared for their roles after the first 30 days. Awareness of these issues allows you to better assign employee workloads and provide improved training and resources for new hires. 

1. Ask employees about their plans for the future

An engaged employee will be excited about their new job and what lies ahead. In contrast, disengaged employees typically don't care about the company's future and their role in it. Therefore, you should ask employees about their career prospects and how they see their role within the company evolving. 

This will help you understand whether employees perceive your organization as a rewarding place to work with potential for career advancement, or a dead-end job. If it’s the latter, you should focus on improving your employee training and development programs, as well as your internal mobility initiatives.

2. Include questions about role clarity

Employees experience role clarity when they know exactly what is expected of them. When employees are unclear about their job expectations or their role within the organization, it takes a toll on their engagement, accountability, and productivity. 

Ask your new hires if they have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and tasks and how their work contributes to the overall business goals. 

3. Pose questions about organizational alignment

Questions about alignment examine how well an employee's core values match your organization's. Find out if your new hires share a common vision and goal for the company by asking them if they feel aligned with the company’s objectives.

If employees strongly identify with your organization's values, they'll be more likely to stick around for the long term. They are also more likely to be engaged if the workplace culture aligns with their own values.

You can also promote your organizational values by helping employees understand how their work contributes to achieving key business goals.

4. Measure employee pride

Engaged employees are your best brand ambassadors and source of positive word of mouth for recruiting. Lack of employee pride during the onboarding process is an early indication of challenges that can lead to low engagement and eventual turnover. If your employees are proud to work at your company, they are more likely to recommend their workplace to their network.

Ask your new hires if they are proud to work at your company, if they would recommend their workplace to their peers, and why. 

5. Explore the role that leadership and management play in employee engagement

Employees don't leave companies, they leave bad managers. And 82% of workers have considered leaving their job because of a bad manager. This goes to show how influential company leadership and management are to workplace sentiment and engagement. 

To assess your leadership’s performance with new hires, ask employees how actively management was involved in their performance and career development during the first few months on the job. 

Specific questions you can ask are: 

  • Have you discussed your career goals with your managers? 
  • Do you receive regular performance feedback? 
  • Have your managers effectively communicated their work expectations for your role?

Evaluate the overall onboarding experience

Research from Gallup shows that an overwhelming 88% of organizations don't onboard well. Thankfully, there are plenty of effective ways to improve your overall onboarding experience. Start by identifying gaps, inconsistencies, or areas to optimize during the critical first 90 days of your new employee lifecycle.

1. Check in to see if new employees feel welcomed

One of the main goals of an employee onboarding program is to make new hires feel welcomed and part of the team. Feeling supported can positively impact a new hire's early employee experience and fosters a sense of connection and belonging. So it's crucial to find out if your onboarding program has achieved this goal. 

In your survey, you can use the Likert scale method to ask new employees to rate how welcome, supported, and connected they’ve felt since starting their role. 

2. Assess the effectiveness of your onboarding training

Follow up with your employees to find out how valuable their onboarding training was and whether it has adequately prepared them for their new roles. Use open-ended questions to encourage employees to provide specific examples on how their training was useful, or lacking in any regard. 

This will help you determine which areas of your onboarding training needs more support, and also whether your new hires lack specific training that prevents them from performing their jobs effectively.

3. Follow up with employees about how they have adjusted to their new roles

The sooner employees adapt to their new workplace, the sooner they can perform to the fullest extent of their abilities. If an employee feels like they are not being supported during the onboarding process, it can negatively affect their performance in the long run.

Ask new hires how they're doing, what they're struggling with, and if they feel like they fit in. Find out if they need additional support, and if they have any gaps in their skills and knowledge.

Improve your onboarding effectiveness with our free employee onboarding survey template

To ensure you're asking your new hires the right questions, download our free employee onboarding survey template.

Use these prompts to better understand your employees’ onboarding experiences, their first impressions of their new job, and if they are comfortable with your company culture, processes, and workflow. 

Incorporating this valuable insight into your onboarding process builds stronger relationships with your team members–and optimizes the recruitment and onboarding experience for your future job applicants and new hires.