Metrics for Measuring Onboarding ROI | Soderquist Leadership
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Metrics for Measuring Onboarding ROI

Posted on September 26, 2011 by The Soderquist Center | 0 Comments

Organizations invest a lot in their workforce, and expect to see a return on the resources invested. But as business leaders search for opportunities to unlock the maximum potential of their people, they often overlook one process that could give them a serious return: onboarding. Many companies reduce the onboarding experience to little more than a checklist of tasks to be completed in the first week. Fact: An employee that experiences a smoother onboarding process will be better trained, more connected to the organization and quicker to produce.

Your decision-makers need to know their resources are being put to good use, and the key to making the case for future resource allocation lies in being able to illustrate the effectiveness of your onboarding process. With the right metrics at your disposal, you can deliver the information you need.

Establish a Baseline for Measuring Onboarding ROI

Evaluating the value of an enhanced HR process is not always a straightforward process. For many HR departments, the biggest obstacle to overcome is establishing a baseline for how your organization will assess ROI. As such, spending time with leadership to establish a baseline for measuring ROI is invaluable.

There are a few key concepts to keep in mind when establishing your baseline to measure ROI:

  • Onboarding should be consistent. All of your fancy data gathering will be for naught unless you can roll out a universal process for onboarding new hires.
  • The onboarding process is just that: a process. Though checklists are great for staying organized, your new hires’ success depends on your ability to get them connected to your organization and keep them connected beyond their first day.
  • The onboarding process goes beyond the first week. Though the normal probationary period for new hires is 90 days, The Wynhurst Group reports 22 percent of staff turnover occurs in the first 45 days of employment.

How to Brave the Metrics Madness

Once you identify what information will be most valuable, you can strategically determine how to track it. Some of the data you measure won’t be cold, hard facts that fit nicely into a spreadsheet, but there are three areas you can focus on for information: performance, experience and effectiveness. Also, broaden your scope beyond your new hires to measure the impact at various levels (team, department, organization).

Here are a few ideas of what you can measure (as well as how frequently):



(30, 60, 90, 180, 360 days)






Progress milestones

Change in overall productivity

Headcount vs. output


Employee satisfaction

Impact on team morale

Cultural fit vs. retention


New hire time to proficiency

New hire time to proficiency vs. team average

Impact on retention (both quits and terminations)

For Maximum ROI, Take Engagement Beyond Onboarding

The best metrics should be forward-thinking analytics tools. According to Dr. John Sullivan at, “They tell you who’s going to win the Superbowl next year, not who won last year.” Furthermore, they should provide the information you need to win the Superbowl every year.

At the end of the day, your ROI is answering one question above all: What is the value of onboarding new employees more effectively? Here’s a hint: Take a look at your metrics and note improvements in employee performance, time to proficiency and increased retention. Once you can answer that question, move onto the next question: “How can we maximize the value of a better-onboarded employee?

One way you can maximize this value is to keep the momentum going. “The hiring and onboarding process is really the start of the talent management conversation,” says Wilkins. “Engagement starts in the recruiting process, manifests itself in the onboarding process, and then continues on in how you motivate employees day to day.

Many organizations leverage the tools and technology found in talent management systems to better manage the process of engaging and motivating their employees. Beyond core talent management functionality, these systems also offer reporting analytics and dashboard elements that provide the information you need to support your ROI analysis.

By guest blogger Kyle Lagunas
Kyle Lagunas is the HR Analyst at Software Advice, a website that conducts human resources software reviewsFocused on offering a fresh take on points of interest in his market, it's his job to contribute to the ongoing conversation on all things HR.

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