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The Employee Experience Platform | Culture Amp
Stacey Nordwall

Stacey Nordwall

Former People Program Lead, Leadership and Learning, Culture Amp

When you’ve worked hard to create a culture-first onboarding experience, you’ll want to know if it provides the experience you want for new hires.

One of the things I found challenging about creating an onboarding experience was putting myself back into the shoes of someone starting on Day One. When you know how to do something, it’s easy to automatically forget all the steps you do and the knowledge you take for granted. Luckily, your new hires are in a perfect position to remind you of these steps and identify the gaps!

The information you gather from an onboarding survey helps you understand if the program you’ve built meets expectations. It also helps you in your discussions with leadership and identifies any bumps in a new hire’s experience that you can fix.

Here are three ways to act on the data you gathered from onboarding surveys.

1. Improve your processes

The feedback you gather from new hires is invaluable in helping you to iterate on your recruiting and onboarding experiences. This is especially true as your company and the processes it uses evolve.

Below are three questions that help me frame the feedback I receive when reviewing our onboarding surveys at Culture Amp.

I’ve also included some of the actual feedback I have received over the last year because they’re items that might come up at your company as well.

What are the pain points?

  • In recruiting: consistent communication, scheduling difficulties, length of process
  • In onboarding: access to accounts/equipment, scheduling meetings, number of tasks

What do people want to see more of?

  • In recruiting: day-to-day life at Culture Amp, their future team
  • In onboarding: guided hands-on time with the product, pairing time

Is the content useful and timely?

  • In recruiting: good information about company mission, need deeper understanding of logistics
  • In onboarding: content is good, but amount of content in first couple of weeks can be overwhelming

We’ve used the feedback from our surveys to adjust the content in our training sessions, add new training sessions, develop more automated communications between teams, and adjust the pacing of our onboarding program. You may see similar feedback from your surveys, with the action you take being specific to your program and the problems you need to solve.

2. Improve individual experiences

While onboarding data can be crucial to continuously improve your overall onboarding experience, it can be just as critical to enhancing one individual’s experience. Gathering and consistently reviewing your onboarding feedback allows you to identify and intervene in an experience that may not be going well.

I review all new hire onboarding survey results as people join Culture Amp. I communicate each individual’s results to their mentor and suggest topics for discussion. Since I also see onboarding survey data at the company level (in addition to the individual), I have the necessary context for when to flag things. I can also make the call on whether these items might merit more structured interventions in coordination with the People Team.

Dr. Jennifer Cullen, our Vice President of People Science, manages a growing team of 8 people. She says that highlighting discussion topics enables busy managers to easily check in with new hires and make necessary adjustments. “Having another person point out a new hire’s potential pain points allows me to address those topics in my next one-on-ones immediately. One new hire commented that training on a specific tool would have been valuable earlier, so I updated my onboarding program to include that training for another new hire.”

While isolated neutral or negative responses aren’t an automatic cause for concern, I pay particular attention to the questions around role expectations, feelings of belonging, and productivity, especially if many of these questions are not rated positively.

I would recommend that all survey reviewers examine responses to onboarding survey questions like:

  • “I know what is expected of me in my role”
  • “I am feeling welcome here”
  • “I am feeling productive”

Suppose I see a pattern among responses to these questions. In that case, I can intervene early on and enable the mentor to work with the new hire to improve their experience and address gaps. Having these early intervention points can positively impact someone’s ramp-up time and engagement and prevent you from losing someone you’ve worked so hard to hire.

3. Communicate with leadership

Hiring and retaining talent is important to your leadership. Your onboarding and exit survey data are important sources to talk to leadership about the parts of your processes that are working well, the parts that aren’t, and where you might need additional resources. This data can also provide important context if you are experiencing short-term turnovers.

At Culture Amp, our executive team reviews onboarding data at regular meetings. Specific data points are also used when discussing talent acquisition and hiring. For example, Eryn Marshall, Director of Talent Acquisition, recently used comments from onboarding surveys and data from our applicant tracking system to highlight the importance of the candidate experience during recruiting.

Illustration of a clipboard with a simplified survey and a floating pen

Learn more about Culture Amp’s onboarding survey

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