Exceptional employee experience starts with onboarding. That first impression can leave a lasting mark on employee engagement, motivation, and retention. And it can be as easy as beginning by asking the right employee onboarding survey questions. Yet many organizations struggle to orient new hires optimally.

Only 12% of employees strongly agree that their organization does a great job onboarding new hires.


So in most companies, there’s a big gap between what people expect from the onboarding process and what they actually get.

Fortunately, you can do a great deal to close this gap simply by asking the right questions. So here are the best questions to ask and instrumental advice on how to get the most from onboarding surveys.

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The importance of onboarding surveys for new employees

An effective onboarding process brings new team members up to speed quickly. It helps them settle in, improves employee engagement, and improves employee retention. On the other hand, poor onboarding can be expensive—leading to high employee turnover that may cost 100-300% of the total salaries involved.

Human resources teams use onboarding surveys to find out how people feel about the process of bringing them into the organization. By gathering qualitative and quantitative feedback from new hires, companies gain insights into improving onboarding.

Done well, onboarding surveys can:

  • Show you areas where new employee’s questions remain unanswered
  • Highlight any onboarding problems that need to be addressed
  • Gather valuable data about how people feel when joining the company
  • Give insights as to whether employees are likely to stay
  • Provide ideas for enhancing the hiring process

How to formulate your onboarding survey questions

When creating your survey, aim for a mix of questions to elicit a full range of responses from team members. These may include:

  • Open-ended questions: allowing employees to express themselves any way they like in the answers
  • Numerical-scale questions: ask people to rate their reply on a scale of 1-10 or another appropriate range
  • Percentage-scale questions: when you need a more granular response, it may make more sense to ask for a percentage
  • Likert-scale questions: give employees options ranging from ‘Strongly disagree’ to ‘Strongly agree’

Scale-type questions are great for collecting hard feedback that can be analyzed and compared. But remember to include some open questions. These allow you to gather sentiment that you would otherwise miss. 

To ensure that important matters are not overlooked, consider including questions relating to each of the following topics:

  • Recruitment: did they consider the recruitment process to be a positive experience?
  • Their decision: do they have any regrets about joining the company?
  • Induction: how did they find the initial orientation process?
  • The onboarding experience: how could onboarding have been handled better?
  • Engagement: do they feel engaged with their job, colleagues, and manager?
  • Organizational alignment: are their personal goals a good fit with business objectives in your company?
  • Role perceptions: how do they view their new role in the organization?

✅ Remember that the questions you choose will impact how you welcome new team members into the business. So it’s well worth taking the time and trouble to get the survey right.

30 employee onboarding survey questions

While any onboarding survey is helpful, you will get the best results if you poll new hires several times to assess their sentiment. Regular check-ins will give you insights into how their feelings about the organization and roles change over time.

One effective strategy for gathering the information you need is to survey new employees three times:

This approach will help you track the pulse of changing feelings and quickly bring any problems to your attention.

Here are some suggestions for onboarding questions you can ask. You can also check out our article on 30 employee satisfaction survey questions for more valuable ideas.

Week 1 survey questions

In their first week at work, employees will be excited but also a little nervous. So it would help if you asked questions to probe their initial feelings about their new job.

  1. Do you feel welcome in your new job?
  2. What could have made your first day better?
  3. What do you like about your new job?
  4. What do you NOT like about your new job?
  5. Was the onboarding process satisfactory?
  6. How could we improve the recruitment process? 
  7. Have you received adequate help and support?
  8. How would you rate your relationship with your manager?
  9. If you could change one thing, what would it be?
  10. How would you rate your first week on a scale of 1 to 10?

Month 1 survey questions

After a month, employees will start to settle in. But now they understand the organization a little better, and they may have new questions and concerns. Now is your chance to find out what they think.

11. Are you happy with the way your job is progressing?

12. Do you feel comfortable that you fully understand your role?

13. Do you find your colleagues to be friendly and helpful?

14. Have you received sufficient training to do your job well?

15. Do you have all the equipment you need to do your job?

16. What obstacles are slowing down your progress?

17. Is there any aspect of the workplace you are uncomfortable with?

18. How does your new job compare to your previous position?

19. How would you rate your first week on a scale of 1 to 10?

20. Do you feel you made the right decision joining this organization?

Month 3 survey questions

Three months in, new employees should be fully settled and an integral part of the team. Now that they fully understand their role, it’s time to ask more career-oriented questions.

21. Do you consider your onboarding to have been successful?

22. Have you noticed any shortcomings in the onboarding process?

23. Do you now feel confident you can do your job well?

24. Do you see yourself having a long-term future here? 

25. Would you recommend a friend to join our organization?

26. How would you rate your relationships with colleagues?

27. How would you rate your relationship with your manager?

28. What do you like best about your job?

29. What do you dislike about your job?

30. How would you rate your first month on a scale of 1 to 10?

Onboarding survey questions for remote workers 

With off-site work playing a more prominent role in business than ever, it’s essential that your survey questions cover the needs of remote workers, too.

You may want to ask them:

  • Do you have the online communication and collaboration tools you need to stay in touch?
  • Are you experiencing issues with feeling isolated or disconnected from the team?
  • Do you feel comfortable working without direct supervision?
  • Are you sufficiently involved in team meetings and discussions?
  • Do you think you are treated differently from on-site employees?

Benefits of a good onboarding process and asking the right questions

There are many benefits to employee engagement surveys. But success is not just about asking questions; it’s about asking the right questions. 

Onboarding is an opportunity to welcome employees to their new place of work. As well as showing them how to do their job, you can also introduce them to the organization’s mission. You will achieve amazing things together when everyone has the same vision, working culture, and core values.

Your investment in your employees is a significant expense, so it makes sense to get things right from the start. First impressions count, and you need to get the first weeks right. Employee onboarding surveys help you achieve that goal.

employees laughing with each other
There's no telling what you can do when your team rallies around the same goal.

How to interpret onboarding survey results

Once you’ve started gathering survey data, how do you interpret it? To get the most from the information, you need to understand it. Here are some tips on how to start:

  • Review your response rate: a low return rate may suggest employees feel their input doesn’t count or that the benefits of participating were not clearly communicated
  • Analyze perceptions and impressions: responses will give you a good indication of employees’ first impressions, plus how they perceive their work environment. Use this to improve the work experience for everyone
  • Watch for trends: if you start to see patterns emerging, it’s time to dig deeper. When an issue is a concern for many people, you know it’s time to take action
  • Compare with previous surveys: check to see how sentiment and perceptions change over time. Understanding how employees’ feelings change is critical to extending their tenure

What to do with onboarding survey answers to improve employee engagement

Having gathered your survey responses, you need to take action. Calculate the changes that will have the most immediate impact based on the data.

Implement these as quickly as possible and share progress with your team. When people know you take their feedback seriously, they will be more likely to participate in the future.

The answers may also show that you need more insights in some areas. So be sure to update your questions regularly. Discard those not producing valuable results and expand on areas of greater interest.

It’s also important to keep measuring employee sentiment beyond the onboarding stage. An employee feedback system such as the Officevibe Pulse Survey Tool will help you maintain the momentum.

💡 For more ideas, you can also check out our complete guide to employee engagement surveys or see what to do with employee feedback survey results

Better employee onboarding surveys mean better outcomes

Success depends on having a team of engaged, productive employees in any business. A good onboarding strategy is critical to making this happen.

With the right employee onboarding survey questions, you can optimize your system to achieve the best results. That means more employee satisfaction, a better company culture, greater output, and increased profit.

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