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It might seem like there's an E-word overload coming up, but bear with me on this one: 

One study found that employees with an exceptional onboarding experience are 2.6 times more likely to be extremely enamored and satisfied with their place of work.

Onboarding surveys are a great method to find out what your people think about their onboarding experiences.

You can use the qualitative data, combined with more quantitative analysis, to make improvements to the process.

We all know that onboarding is a big deal. Kicking off employees’ journeys in the proper fashion is like the warm-up act before the main event, making sure everyone feels welcomed and ready to rock the workplace.

In this article, I’ll explain how to design an effective onboarding questionnaire. 

Then I’ll move right along to example questions you can steal for your own with minimal effort and fuss.

Purpose Of An Onboarding Survey

I know you’re probably keen to get to the questions but, first things first, you need a clear purpose for your onboarding survey. 

By this, I mean: what are you specifically looking to measure?

Some examples are:

  • Nailing your recruitment process. Identify where you can make improvements to address clarity, transparency, and the overall candidate experience. 
  • Understanding training effectiveness. Gauge how well new employees perceive the training content, delivery methods, and overall relevance to their roles.
  • Enhancing employee engagement. Determine potential disengagement triggers and take proactive measures to address them.
  • Alignment with company values and culture. Highlight the fit of your new starters to ensure a strong foundation for long-term success and satisfaction across the board. 
  • Employer brand. Understand and measure the influence of your brand’s first impression. This is reflected in how you attract new hires and what encourages them to join your merry band of workers.
  • Work environment and wellbeing. Establish whether your organizational values and work environment aligns and if it promotes a positive and inclusive atmosphere.

Onboarding Survey Best Practices

Follow these best practices to help you get meaningful and actionable feedback about your onboarding initiatives.

What follows is my checklist; use it to design an effective questionnaire. 

Get clear on the purpose

I’ve already demonstrated some examples of what you might want to measure.  

It’s also important to determine what success looks like. 

Pre-empting what you’d like to achieve before you put pen to paper will help you frame the right questions and pull the information you need.

Keep it short 

New employees have a lot to absorb about their new career paths.  

Your questions should be concise and focused—a maximum of 10 questions per survey is ideal. 

Keeping it short increases response rates and ensures you collect both relevant and actionable onboarding feedback. 

HR thought leader, Zoe Akinbodunse, explains: 

“Best practices deploy the practice of simplicity and timed-based understanding. 

Keep simplicity at the forefront and consider how long surveys take for the employees to fill out. Use simplistic words so it does not feel like a daunting and heinous task—this ensures you do not lose out on your employees’ valuable insights.” 

Utilize different question types

Consider that different types of questions provoke the best (and maximum number of) responses. 

For example, incorporating rating scales allows for quantitative analysis, while open-ended questions allow respondents to express their thoughts freely and provide suggestions for improvement.

A mix of question types creates a balanced approach and helps you capture both detailed and structured feedback. 

The right time 

When is the right time to distribute an onboarding survey?

Too quick off the mark and employees might not feel able or comfortable enough in their new role yet to share opinions.

But wait too long, and you won’t have enough time to address first-day concerns.

Sarah Roberts, HR expert and the Founder of A Beauty Edit, advises, 

“Send one [survey] after each stage of the onboarding process. 

One after the successful candidate has been hired, so that they can share their thoughts on what they would have wanted done differently during the hiring process. 

Send another after the training stage is over, then send a final one once they’ve actually started working. Collecting feedback at each stage helps keep the new employee engaged while prompting them to share their experiences when they’re still vivid in their minds. Reflections are more accurate and can help the company make the right changes quickly to their onboarding strategy.”

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Communicate the why 

To increase response rates and the quality of feedback, be sure to explain to participants why you’ve created the survey and how it benefits them and the business as a whole. 

You’ll find that this clarification makes it far more likely people will respond and be more engaged while they’re doing so.

Anonymity or not?

It’s your call whether you request participant names.

Doing so makes it easier to follow up, but respondents might be less candid in their responses. My advice would be to offer anonymity but also the chance to add their details for a follow-up.

Use the right tools

Make your life easier by designing and distributing your survey using the right employee survey tools. Your onboarding software might also have a feedback function built in, including surveys.

When you make it easy for them to fill in, it’s more likely they will. 

Communicate survey findings

When you share findings and the actions you’ve taken as a result of them, you influence buy-in for any changes and demonstrate that surveys at your org are worth completing.

Onboarding Survey Questions

To further help get you started, here are a few examples of employee onboarding survey questions.

I’ve grouped them into different categories, together with what you can learn from each question. 

Recruitment and onboarding 

Rating scale questions (1-10)

  1. How would you rate the clarity and transparency of the hiring process?

To assess the effectiveness of the recruitment process and identify areas of improvement.

  1. Please rate your level of engagement and satisfaction with the onboarding process. 

To understand employee satisfaction levels during the onboarding period and if the job description matches the role.

  1. How confident do you feel in using our product or service after completing the onboarding process?

To evaluate the effectiveness of onboarding new hires and equip them with the knowledge and confidence to use the product or service.

  1. How would you rate the overall onboarding experience?

To gain an understanding of the onboarding experience as a whole. 

Open-ended questions

  1. What additional resources or information would have helped you during the onboarding process?

To pick up any gaps in the current onboarding materials and gather feedback on the additional resources that would enhance participants’ understanding and proficiency.

  1. What improvements or changes would you suggest to enhance the onboarding experience?

To collect specific recommendations on how you can optimize your onboarding process. 

  1. Is there anything else you would like to share about your onboarding experience?

To provide users with an opportunity to share any additional feedback, suggestions, or concerns that may not have been covered by previous questions.


Rating scale questions

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how well does the training align with your role and responsibilities?

To evaluate the relevance of your onboarding training program. 


Rating scale questions: How these statements reflect participants’ feelings

  1. Since the time I joined the company, I rarely think about joining anywhere else. 

To find out how happy employees are—which has a direct impact on employee retention rates. 

  1. I often receive feedback from my manager on assigned tasks.

To establish if new employees receive the feedback they need to help acclimatize in your workplace and improve their skills.


Rating scale questions (1-10): How these statements reflect participants’ feelings

  1. I understand how my role supports the values and aims of the organization. 

To learn how new hires see their position in your organization and company culture. 

  1. I believe my ideas are valued. 

To sense if employees feel like part of the team.

Employer brand 

Rating scale questions (1-10)

  1. How did our employer brand influence your decision to join our organization?

To understand the brand impact on attracting new hires and what convinced newbies to join your team.

  1. Has your experience with the organization so far aligned with the employer brand that was communicated during the hiring process?

To assess the consistency between your perceived employer brand and the actual employee experience.

Open-ended questions

  1. What aspects of our employer brand stood out to you during the recruitment process?

To identify the specific elements that attracted them to your workplace.

  1. What do you think makes our organization unique as an employer?

To understand the key differentiators from the perspective of new employees.

Work environment and wellbeing 

Rating scale questions (1-10)

  1. How would you rate the work environment in terms of collaboration, inclusivity, and support?

To assess the outlook of your work environment—such as inclusivity, diversity, and equality, and the level of support you provide. 

  1. Rate how you feel our organization prioritizes employee well-being and work-life balance

To understand if your company policies, initiatives, and practices promote a clear understanding of supporting work-life balance and employee wellness. 

  1. How does the work environment align with the employer brand that was communicated?

To assess whether your organization successfully delivers on the promises and values portrayed from the first day.

Beyond Surveys

While engagement surveys are a powerful tool for gathering feedback, they are not (nor should they be) the sole method for measuring and improving the onboarding experience. 

Here are additional ways to enhance onboarding new employees:

  • Checking voluntary employee turnover rates: if they’re on the high side among new starters, a better onboarding process can help. 
  • Looking at time to productivity rates: measure this KPI by working out the number of days it takes new hires to become productive, then divide this number by the total number of new employees in a time period.

Short rates are great news and show that your onboarding processes are effective at getting new hires up to speed. 

  • Implementing exit interviews: exit interviews tell you about unexpressed views or employee feedback that other team members may share.  
  • Questioning if new hires are implementing their training: if they’re not completing or implementing the required new job training, it’s time to review if you’ve allocated enough training time in the orientation process. 
  • Continuously iterate the onboarding process: Establishing a feedback loop helps review your onboarding processes regularly and address any identified issues quickly. Encourage managers and human resources teams to collaborate and share insights to make onboarding even better over time. 
  • Introducing structured feedback sessions: conduct one-on-one or group feedback sessions with new employees in the first week at least. Encourage in-depth discussions and provide an opportunity to express their thoughts, concerns, and suggestions.
  • Providing mentoring and buddy programs: Pairing new employees with experienced mentors or buddies helps them navigate your organization, fosters relationships, and to access a check-in support system during their first month or so.

Further Resources To Help You Nail Onboarding

If you don’t have an onboarding survey as part of your process, it’s time to create one. 

If you’ve already got one, but feel that you can make it better, take inspiration from my suggested best practices—add some more questions to improve your employees’ feedback. 

Here are some more useful onboarding resources to help with onboarding success.

By Finn Bartram

Finn is an editor at People Managing People. He's passionate about growing organizations where people are empowered to continuously improve and genuinely enjoy coming to work. If not at his desk, you can find him playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors.