Table of contents
  1. Why Onboarding Surveys Matter
  2. What to Ask in a Survey
  3. Tips for Sending out an Onboarding Survey
  4. Conclusion

Onboarding is the process of introducing new employees to the company and training them in their role, and is a great way to help them settle in. An onboarding survey can help you identify strengths and areas for improvement in your company’s recruitment and interview processes.  Also known as a new hire questionnaire, the survey will typically cover areas such as:

  • Interviewing 
  • First impressions of company culture
  • First-day experience
  • Efficiency of training for new hires

You can choose to send your survey at key milestones in your new employee’s career. Some businesses send it during a new employee’s first week to get their knee-jerk reactions. Others prefer to wait until the new starter has passed their probationary period to give them more time to reflect.

Why Onboarding Surveys Matter

As well as providing insights on processes, an effective onboarding survey can help increase job satisfaction levels and save on recruitment and training costs. Some of the key benefits include:

Providing an honest view of your hiring process

There is often a temptation to think of recruitment as simply your business assessing a potential candidate. However, job interviews are a two-way process and the current skills gap can mean that talented candidates receive several job offers. Solicit feedback on your recruitment practices from your hires—and act on what they tell you—to create a more positive experience for future applicants. As a result, top talent may be more likely to choose your company over one of your competitors.

Focusing your spending

If your new employees get little value from their training, your business is likely wasting money. Seeking feedback via a survey allows you to direct your spending toward the areas that offer the most benefit for your new employees and your business.

Reducing turnover

As any business leader knows, a high turnover can be extremely costly for business in terms of recruitment and training. Onboarding surveys allow you to identify your new employees’ concerns and address them before they become more serious

Improving employee engagement

Seeking out your employees’ opinions and acting on their feedback sends a clear message that you value their input and are listening to them. As a result, your workers are more likely to feel engaged in their roles and develop a greater sense of loyalty to your business.

What to Ask in a Survey

Many of the questions you ask in your survey will, of course, depend on the nature of your business and what you’re hoping to achieve.  However, some general questions can be useful to all businesses. Let’s look at some of them.

Why did you decide to work with us?

Asking this question can help you identify strengths in your recruitment and interviewing process. Likewise, it can give you an indication of your brand’s reputation within the workforce and your industry. You could also consider asking additional questions about the interview process. For example, you might ask if your new employees found their interviewer welcoming or if they had an opportunity to ask questions themselves. 

Did you have all the information you needed for your first day?

This question is a great opportunity to assess the effectiveness of your onboarding materials. These could include your welcome pack or welcome letter. 

Do you now have all the skills you need to do your job?

Asking this question can be a useful way of gauging the effectiveness of your training initiatives. If the main purpose of your survey is to seek views on training, for example, consider asking additional questions such as:

  • Was any information missing from your training?
  • Did you feel engaged throughout the process?
  • Were you able to ask questions?
  • What were your impressions of the instructor’s level of knowledge and expertise?

What could we have done better?

If you’re committed to improving your onboarding, this may be the most important question to ask. In many cases, you may find that the areas your employees identify for improvement could be quite simple to address. Encourage your employees to comment on any aspect of the recruitment process, from initial application and interview to first-day experiences and induction. This way, you’ll receive a broad range of feedback covering your entire onboarding process.

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Tips for Sending out an Onboarding Survey

The most effective method for conducting an onboarding survey will differ for every company. However, you can maximize your chances of receiving useful insights by following the tips below:

Think about your distribution method

When you’re conducting an employee survey, it’s important to consider the most effective way to send it out. While some companies distribute paper surveys, you may prefer to adopt a digital solution such as an online survey tool.  Some of the most popular tools include:

  • Connecteam
  • Survey Monkey
  • Google Forms
  • Microsoft Forms
  • Kodo Survey
  • Whatfix
  • Qualtrics

Alternatively, you could consider including your onboarding survey in your welcome packet. At this early stage, a new employee will have clear recollections of the recruitment process.

Know your audience

If you’re sending out a standard questionnaire to all your employees, odds are that not every question will be relevant for all respondents. You might want to adapt a version of your survey for each particular department or location, so that every question is relevant to those workers.  Likewise, consider any industry-specific questions you could add. For instance, beauty salons and factories will ask their new hires very different questions.

Consider your business’s mission and values

When you’re drawing up your survey, it may help to go back to basics. Consider your company’s purpose and what your business aims to achieve. This way, you can develop an idea of what good onboarding looks like for your organization. It may also help to factor in your HR team’s wider objectives when creating your questions.

Use the Likert Scale

The Likert scale is one of the most effective ways to assess the views of survey respondents. Using this method, you’ll give recipients a choice of between five and seven answers per question. For instance, you might ask your employees to rate their level of agreement with a particular statement, like this one:  My employee training provided me with all the information I need for my new role. Strongly agree Agree Neither agree nor disagree Disagree Strongly disagree In this example, you can not only gauge whether your employees were satisfied with your training, but also the extent to which it met their needs. This type of scale may not be appropriate for every question. However, it’s worthwhile considering this approach for instances in which your employees may have more nuanced responses than a simple yes or no.

Limit the number of surveys and questions

When your survey contains a lot of questions, your employees are more likely to provide limited details. This can diminish the value of their answers and make it more difficult for you to make meaningful changes in response. Likewise, if you send out questionnaires too frequently, your employees may not give them such careful consideration each time. As such, you’re likely to receive fewer or briefer responses per survey.

Act on your feedback

Making changes in response to feedback is the crucial final step. To get the most from your survey, you should identify a person within your company who will be responsible for compiling the results. Ideally, this will be someone with experience in data analytics. This individual should read each response and decide whether you need to act on the feedback. For example, several employees reporting the same issue should trigger prompt and constructive action.  If your employees feel that you’re taking the results seriously, it could also positively impact staff morale.


An effective onboarding survey can be a valuable tool for assessing how well you welcome and train new employees. When used as part of your overall HR strategy, these surveys can be a building block for strong employer-employee relations. One golden rule: remember that a survey is just one part of your onboarding program. It’s also crucial that you schedule regular one-to-one meetings with your new employees. You can then check on their progress, allow them to ask questions, and address any concerns they may have.