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15 questions to ask new employees in an onboarding survey

Last updated

26 June 2023


Dovetail Editorial Team

Reviewed by

Lara Leganger

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The employee onboarding process is designed to acquaint new hires with the performance and social aspects of an organization. With the goal of helping new employees adjust to the job quickly, onboarding assists new staff members in becoming familiar with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to function efficiently within the company.

An onboarding survey helps employers know how effective their onboarding procedures are. 

What is an onboarding survey?

An onboarding survey is a series of questions business owners or internal teams—such as human resources—ask new employees to gain their input concerning the onboarding experience. It’s a measure of satisfaction with the process and the overall experience and gives employees the chance to provide related feedback.

By surveying those who have recently gone through the process first hand, employers can learn which areas of the onboarding process need refinement. 

Why are onboarding surveys important?

The onboarding process is where the employer-employee relationship is built. Surveying new hires post-onboarding is an effective way to measure how well the process is working. It gives an indication of those areas that aren't providing enough training for new team members and where more support is needed. 

Onboarding surveys can help employers identify disgruntled new team members who are at risk of leaving the organization.

What are the benefits of a good onboarding survey?

A good onboarding survey is an invaluable tool for helping employers gauge their employee onboarding success. Benefits include the following:

  • It creates the opportunity to address potential obstacles early on.

  • It provides a positive experience for new hires from the start.

  • It develops strong communication channels between new hires and managers.

  • It mitigates the risk of new hires leaving the company within the first 90 days.

Early feedback can make a difference in how successful new employees will be.

Types of employee onboarding survey questions

Employee onboarding survey questions can take several forms. Most surveys are made up of some combination of these three:

1 to 10 scale employee onboarding survey questions

In this type of question, you ask employees to rate their experience on a scale of one to ten. One is usually the poorest score, with ten being the best. 

An example would be:

On a scale of 1 to 10, how effective do you feel the onboarding process was?

5-answer Likert scale employee satisfaction survey questions

Likert scale survey questions ask respondents to rate a statement based on how strongly they feel about it. For example, a question might ask the employee to reveal how satisfied they are with the onboarding process.

Possible answers might be:

  1. Very unsatisfied

  2. Somewhat unsatisfied

  3. Neutral

  4. Somewhat satisfied

  5. Very satisfied

Open-ended employee onboarding survey questions

For open-ended survey questions, you ask employees to answer questions in sentence form in their own words. This type of question is designed to elicit more information from the respondent than is possible with the other types of questions.

Key employee onboarding survey questions

In order to understand the perception new employees have of the organization and get their feedback on the recruitment process, it’s important to ask them about the quality of information shared during onboarding. 

Questions can be worded to fit any one of the three types of questions.

Phase one

Recruitment questions and those about the onboarding process thus far should be asked during the first week of employment. 

Recruitment questions

1. How satisfied are you with the amount of information provided during the recruitment process? (5-answer Likert scale)

This question gives an indication of how well received the amount of information given is. It should be an optimal amount, not too little and not too much. 

2. In your opinion, how could we have improved the recruitment process? (Open-ended)

Asking for feedback on the recruitment process helps with making any needed improvements.

Decision-making questions

3. What are the three most important reasons for you joining the organization?

This essential question provides insight into the positive traits that attract people to be employees of the organization. 

4. Where were you employed before joining this organization? 

A new employee's perspective on joining the organization gives information about the effect of marketing initiatives, business reputation, organization value, and the impact of recruitment efforts.

Onboarding experience questions (week one)

5. On a scale of 1 to 10, how welcome do you feel working here?

This question gives clarity to the organization from an employee's perspective. If the employee feels welcome, this is a good start to retention.

6. Do you feel happy to be associated with this organization?

If an employee is happy to be part of an organization, chances are they’ll show higher levels of engagement in the coming months.

Phase two

Once the employee has had a chance to settle in and get into a routine, you can deploy another survey to collect feedback on working within the organization thus far. You should ask these questions around week five.

Engagement questions

7. How likely are you to recommend this organization to others?   

The likelihood of the employee recommending the organization to friends and family is a measure of how they truly feel about the company.

8. Do you see yourself in this organization five years from now?

An employee who is happy about joining the organization and can see a promising future for it will be less likely to want to leave it. 

9. How do you feel about your work-life balance?

Because a new job can be overwhelming, it’s important to help new employees determine if they’re doing well both at the workplace and in their personal lives.

10. Do you receive constructive feedback from supervisors?

When a new employee receives constructive feedback from managers, it helps them improve their skills and adapt to the new environment.

Induction questions

11. Have you been given enough training to get accustomed to the job?

This question will help in determining whether the training program for new employees is effective.

12. Are you confident in using the tools/software/systems required for the role?

This question prompts the new employee to analyze their job performance and make sure they’re suited to the role.

Onboarding experience questions (week five)

13. Do you feel productive working in the organization?

Employers always aim to employ hard-working and high-performing individuals. An employee who feels confident and productive is good for the organization.

14. Do you feel valued by the team?

New employees want to feel like part of the team as quickly as possible. This depends on co-workers helping them to feel at ease in the workplace.

15. Is there anything that could have been done differently to improve your overall onboarding experience?

At this point, the new employee will be accustomed to the workplace culture and can provide better feedback about the whole onboarding process as it relates to working within the organization.

Asking for feedback from new employees shows that they’re valued and that you want them to feel like part of the team.  

What is best practice for onboarding surveys?

For the resulting feedback from onboarding surveys to be actionable, employees must feel comfortable giving honest and unbiased responses. 

These best practices for new employee onboarding surveys will yield better results:

  • Employees must be surveyed at the right time.

  • The survey should be short and simple.

  • The experience should be measured.

  • Employers must be direct in their approach to conducting surveys.

  • Only ask the most relevant questions.  

Collected feedback must be timely and relevant.

Assessing employee onboarding survey results

To understand the results of employee onboarding surveys, look at the response rate. A response rate of 75% or higher is required for the results to be considered valid for all new employee feedback. 

Notice if trends develop, such as whether hiring during peak season affects employee satisfaction. Do perceptions remain the same across the onboarding time frame? Understanding trends and differences between onboarded groups can help employers discern where to focus attention on onboarding efforts and can even influence recruiting and hiring efforts.


How is the employee onboarding experience measured?

The employee onboarding experience is measured by:

  • Surveying new hires

  • Looking at new hire turnover

  • Using what new employees have learned to test the onboarding process

  • Comparing the performance of new hires with that of current employees

  • Gauging the impact of the onboarding process on the success of new hires

  • Employing feedback from the people a new hire regularly interacts with on the job

When measuring onboarding effectiveness, the method used should be a good fit for the organization. 

What is the objective of an onboarding survey?

The main goal of an onboarding survey is to provide valuable insight into whether an organization is setting its new hires up to be successful and making improvements to optimize the process. 

It sends a message to new employees that their voices matter and the company not only cares about how they feel but also wants to use their experiences to improve the onboarding process.

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