You’ve created a detailed onboarding program for new hires after days and weeks of planning. When the day finally arrives, workstations are set, welcome kits are packed and orientation presentations are ready.
But despite your elaborate efforts, 86 percent of new hires leave within the first six months. What gives?
One of the biggest drivers of the high turnover rate is the lack of meaningful communication in the onboarding experience. This is where a new hire questionnaire comes in. This onboarding survey seeks constructive feedback from recruits at regular intervals to make them feel valued and proactively solve their problems.
This article will walk you through the role of a new hire questionnaire and how to make your own. Then, stick around for the top 25 template questions to ask at different milestones in an employee's journey.
Let’s get started!
What is a new hire questionnaire?
A new hire questionnaire is a survey that companies use to analyze a new hire's performance and understand their preferences in the first few months.
This onboarding survey acts as an extension of the employee onboarding process. It allows HR executives to check in with new employees and see how they're adapting to their role and the company. It also allows employees to share feedback about the onboarding process, their co-workers and responsibilities.
In essence, HR teams can use this survey to identify roadblocks and resolve challenges from the outset to deliver a flawless employee experience.
Why do you need to survey new employees?
Did you know that 69 percent of employees are likely to stay at a company for three years or more if they undergo a structured onboarding process? That’s the difference a good onboarding process can make.
You can review your onboarding framework and maximize employee performance with a new hire questionnaire. Here's how:
- Identify shortcomings in the onboarding process: Use this survey to understand which parts of your onboarding plan resonate and which ones don't. Modify these shortcomings to align with needs and expectations.
- Maximize employee productivity: An onboarding questionnaire allows you to identify challenges in the new hire's experience, responsibilities or training. Once you're aware of these issues, it's easy to address the problems and remove friction points.
- Enhance employee retention efforts: Taking employee feedback in the initial stages of their tenure makes them feel heard and seen. It's an excellent way to show recruits that the company is committed to their well-being — setting a solid foundation for employee satisfaction and retention.
- Improve company culture: Any onboarding process aims to create a more seamless experience for an employee. A new hire survey gives employees a glimpse of the company culture and integrates them into the workplace. It can boost morale and nurture the feeling of belonging among new hires.
To sum it up, surveying new employees can be a game-changer for any onboarding plan. It gives you context and reveals potential flaws that need fixing.
25 questions to include in your new hire survey
A new hire survey has to achieve two goals: show employees you care and deliver on your promise to properly onboard them. So, it's critical to choose questions that recognize and support employee needs without making them feel concerned about their performance. Make sure they understand the purpose of the survey and feel comfortable enough to answer honestly.
Let’s look at 25 questions you can consider when designing your onboarding questionnaire. We’ve divided these questions into relevant milestones that can trigger a new questionnaire.
Questions for orientation day
- What are the strengths that will help you in this role and what would you like help with?
- Do you work best collaboratively or alone?
- How would you define your ideal workplace? List some non-negotiable aspects of your workplace.
- What are your proudest achievements so far? What would you like to achieve with this company?
- How do you plan to contribute constructively to the company culture?
- What's your preferred learning mode — watching, listening, reading, or a mix of all?
Why this matters
This questionnaire on day one works like a personal worksheet. You can ask employees to fill out this survey to introduce themselves to the team. Since they’re only getting started, this questionnaire is more about them than about you or their performance at the company. These questions will inform their manager on how to best support them.
So, focus the questions on their work style and preferences. You can also use these answers to send a personalized welcome email and kick things off on the right note.
Questions for the first week
- What are three things that you liked and disliked about the onboarding process?
- Have you completed all the necessary paperwork? Did it seem overwhelming?
- What do you think about your training so far? Did you find any gaps or flaws in the process?
- Do you have all the relevant resources needed for your role? Are there any additional tools that would make your work easier?
- What are the most and least exciting parts of your job? How are you dealing with the latter?
- How are you adapting to the company culture? Is there anything we can do to help you feel more connected to your team?
Why this matters
After their first week in the company, your new hires can offer crucial feedback about the onboarding process and their role. Use this survey to dig deeper into their experience so far and proactively pin down concerns.
This survey is also great for understanding how they're gelling up with the team and what they think about the company culture. If an employee doesn't feel welcome in the company, 33 percent will look for a new job in less than six months.
So, use this questionnaire to better understand how to welcome them into the fold and tackle any issues early on.
Questions for the first month
- Have you fully understood the job expectations and key result areas for this role? If not, outline where we can better support you.
- Do you have the right amount of assistance you need for your work?
- Are you able to contact your supervisors regarding your queries? Have you faced any roadblocks in the process?
- How would you define your rapport with your coworkers? Are there any issues we should be aware of?
- How would you rate the effectiveness of your initial training? Did it prepare you for the work you do? If not, what can we improve?
- How would you rate your work-life balance? Do you have any suggestions to make it better?
- Are there any changes you want to suggest for your team’s overall workflow?
Why this matters
An onboarding survey is a must-have after an employee completes their first month on the team. This is the right time to assess their views of the job profile, colleagues and the company.
The questions in this survey should identify gaps in the initial expectations versus the present situation. More than their performance, ask them about the resources required for their role — like training, query resolution, supervision and work-life balance. The idea is to address any gaps and identify how to better support the employee's growth.
Questions for the first three months
- Do you feel welcomed in team discussions and meetings? If not, please share instances or areas where we can improve.
- How well do you understand the company’s vision and values? Do you think our team aligns with them?
- What is your role in the organization’s growth and development? How well have you been prepared to fulfill this role?
- How would you rate the onboarding process? Do you have any suggestions to make the plan better?
- What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced so far?
- How can the company improve your work experience? Feel free to share honest suggestions.
Why this matters
The three-month onboarding survey collects your employees’ takes on the company and their performance — emphasizing the need to brainstorm solutions for any problem areas.
Since your onboarding plan ends with this questionnaire, think of it as the final chance to gauge your new hires’ satisfaction levels and take the necessary action to help where needed. This survey will give you an idea of how well they've been trained, supported and integrated into their team. If there are any red flags here, address it on both the individual and structural levels. Likely, if the concern persists, it's a problem faced by more than one employee. Because of this, make sure your new hire knows to answer honestly and is assured there won't be any retaliation if they express a concern about a supervisor or team member.
5 points to remember to design the perfect questionnaire
A new hire survey collects quantitative and qualitative data from new hires to understand how to best support their onboarding experience. The best way to put this data to good use is to spend enough time designing this survey.
Here are a few tried-and-tested best practices to make your questionnaire fail-proof:
- Create online surveys: This is a no-brainer. Online surveys are far more accessible, convenient and manageable for teams of any size. Create a Google/Microsoft Form or go for a survey tool like SurveyMonkey to give your employees the flexibility to fill out the form effortlessly.
- Explain the survey’s purpose: Answer what, why and how for your questionnaire so that employees get why it's important. A brief explainer video or message about how you’ll use the data can increase the employees’ intent to fill out the survey.
- Keep it crisp and concise: A new hire has to complete an average of 54 activities in the onboarding process. This can easily overwhelm a new employee; your onboarding survey shouldn’t. So, make each questionnaire as short and concise as possible.
- Ask goal-oriented questions: Before you start listing down your questions, define your goals for each survey. Once you’ve shortlisted your questions, map each question to a goal. This will make the analysis more meaningful and actionable.
- Follow up after the survey: Your role doesn’t end with just sending this survey. Review each employee’s answers and follow up with them to take the conversation forward. The onboarding process should nurture a transparent and continuous channel of communication.
Hear from your new hires
The success of your employee engagement and retention efforts is closely tied to your onboarding. You can retain employees for the long term and win their loyalty with a structured and seamless onboarding framework.
A new hire questionnaire is an indispensable part of this process. This survey factors employee feedback and opinions at every stage to set the right tone for their relationship with the company. It also uncovers critical insights to constantly rethink and adapt the onboarding strategy for the employees' benefit.
Use this extensive guide to create your onboarding questionnaire and establish a healthy rapport with the new hires.