You’re gearing up for your first new hires of the year. You’ve memorized their favorite sports teams, covered their desk with company swag, and created flashcards to help learn the names of their new peers. You’ve even mapped out the most efficient route to the coffee pot. Is there anything else you’re forgetting?
There is one thing: your new hire survey.
New hire surveys are an essential part of your employee onboarding process and key to building long-term employee engagement.
Below we’ll cover the benefits of new hire surveys, plus 30 new hire survey questions you can use to get the most out of your onboarding program.
So what’s the big deal? Why are new hire surveys so important? While one-on-ones and check-ins with a manager are valuable, surveys are a key resource for managers and HR to better understand what is going well, what gaps exist in the onboarding process, and the unique needs and wants of your individual employees.
Research shows that onboarding may be the most critical time in your employees’ experience at the company—which can have a long-lasting impact on engagement and performance. In fact, organizations with onboarding programs experience 50% greater new hire retention and 54% greater new hire productivity.
Yet most companies spend less than two months on formal onboarding. In other words, onboarding surveys are a valuable opportunity to engage your newest employees.
Not all new hire surveys are created equal. Get the most out of your onboarding process by following these essential new hire survey best practices:
It might sound like a no-brainer, but your new hire survey should be administered and taken online. Online surveys streamline the entire process, making it simpler for employees to complete and easier for people leaders to gather and review the results.
The best approach is to use employee engagement software that automatically links up new hire survey data so you have all your new hire information and resources in one place.
Employee surveys are personal, so it’s important that you communicate honestly and clearly with your new hires about the purpose of your survey and what you plan to do with the results.
Use the survey introduction to explain what happens to the survey results.
The answers to these questions will influence how your new employees answer the survey. Also, disclosing the information up front will demonstrate respect and lay a foundation of trust in your feedback culture.
Make it easy for your new hires to participate in surveys. Surveys shouldn’t take you (or your employees) away from the actual process of onboarding—if they do, the survey is much too complicated.
Your new hire surveys should ask between three and eight questions lasting no longer than 15 minutes. If your surveys are longer than that, you’re effectively removing the employee from his or her learning workflow, which will make it more difficult to start the learning back up again. Additionally, the burden of a long survey communicates that employee time isn’t valued.
One of the biggest reasons to conduct a new hire survey is to make the onboarding process better, either for the individual or for all new hires. So, you must get feedback on things you can actually make better. And that relies on asking the right questions.
Here are some sample questions:
All of these statements identify specific areas that managers can take action on.
A new hire survey should never be your organization’s only orientation effort. A new hire survey is just one part of a larger new hire orientation program, including training, getting to know coworkers, and other activities.
As you plan your surveys, keep your overarching onboarding program in mind so you can align your strategies and efforts for a streamlined employee experience.
Whether your organization chooses to do anonymous or attributed surveys, managers should still follow up after every new hire survey.
The conversation could look like a formal one-on-one or just a quick Slack message, but managers should check in to see if there’s anything the employee would like to discuss further. Managers need to demonstrate what it looks like to establish meaningful, ongoing dialogue.
Understanding your new hires will take time and more than one survey. We've identified three key areas that help you understand the new hire's journey:
Building surveys that address these three areas will help you better address your new hires’ concerns and needs throughout their tenure. Use the following new hire survey questions to tap into these core priorities and ensure a great experience for your new employees.
Purpose: Understand the experience of your newest employees 1 week into their tenure.
Purpose: Understand the experience of your newest employees 30 days into their tenure.
Purpose: Understand the experience of your newest employees 90 days into their tenure.
Purpose: Understand the experience of your newest employees 6 months into their tenure.
Purpose: Understand the experience of your newest employees 60- or 90-days into their tenure so you can optimize their experience and create a foundation for engagement.
Building a successful onboarding program and new hire surveys isn’t easy—but it’s worth it. Use these tips to develop new hire surveys that cut through the noise and uncover the insights and feedback you need to help your newest employees succeed from day one and beyond.
There you go, all the critical elements you need for your new hire survey. But a new hire survey isn’t the only element you need for a successful onboarding program: pulse surveys, feedback cycles, employee recognition. Check out all 50 of our Creative New Hire Orientation Ideas.