5 Onboarding Metrics You Should Be Tracking (and Why)

Graham Ruffels | May 23, 2018

You’ve heard the refrain, “you can’t improve what you can’t measure,” and it’s true. Especially, when it comes to software onboarding. Without specific goals and metrics to tell you how things are progressing, you will be unable to improve your user adoption rates.

Defining and tracking onboarding metrics lets you know how well you’re succeeding at the onboarding process. It also aligns people and processes across the organization, ensuring that everyone is working towards the same goals. Finally, it can help you pinpoint trouble spots for improvement and gives you an honest look at individual and team performance.

Wondering what onboarding metrics to track and how to use them for greater employee and business performance? Let’s dive in.

What to Measure

There are a number of metrics you can measure, but you need to determine which ones will deliver the biggest insights and impacts for your organization. A good rule of thumb when deciding which metrics to track is to determine if you would make a business decision based on a given metric.

Think holistically when choosing what to measure and what goals you should have around each metric. This includes taking your employees abilities into consideration. Set onboarding goals that are neither too challenging nor too easy. The former risks frustrating employees and the latter risks employees becoming complacent.

Another best practice is to pick crucial onboarding metrics first, such as those that will help you gage engagement and knowledge retention — two of the biggest drivers of user adoption. When you have data on these metrics, you will also have the insight you need to increase your application onboarding success rates.

What You Can Learn from the Data

The data you gather is only as good as what you can do with it. To help you determine what metrics you might want to track, here’s a look at five metrics that can help you gain a comprehensive picture of your software onboarding success.

  1. How many users are using the application? This is an engagement metric that provides you with a high-level view of organization-wide adoption rates. If the numbers are high, it confirms that your onboarding process is working. If the numbers are low, it means that you’ll need to do more to encourage users to use the application.
  2. How often do users access the application? This is an important retention metric that lets you know if your employees have integrated the application into their daily routines and are using it on an ongoing basis, or if full adoption is still lacking.
  3. Where do users spend their time in the application? This data will help you pinpoint what tasks employees are using the application for most frequently. If the data shows slow adoption of certain tasks, you can then dig deeper into why. It can also help you see where you might be getting an unexpected return on investment — perhaps employees are using the application in novel ways you hadn’t foreseen that are adding productivity and business value to the organization. These observations, and the data that validates them, provide you with evidence that the investment is delivering value above and beyond initial expectations.
  4. How long do users spend on specific tasks or processes? You can use this type of data to determine if employees have reached full competency and productivity in the software. It can also help you pinpoint specific tasks or processes that may be problematic, and help you evaluate the performance of individuals and teams by comparing the time they’re spending in the application to that of other individuals or teams.
  5. When do users access job aids and for how long? This data helps you identify where users are having trouble. You can also use this data to evaluate the types of job aids and support you offer to see what types are most popular or most quickly speeding users through the completion of their task.

How to Use Data to Enact Change Management

Now that you have data that paints a clear picture of how employees are using the application, you can use the data to further improve performance and grow adoption.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Create training content for specific processes or tasks that are taking users too long or requiring frequent use of job aids. Use a performance support system to allow training at the point of work for greater retention and to avoid time-consuming and costly retraining initiatives.
  • Work with your vendor. When you see employees are using complex workarounds to avoid specific features or tasks in the application, this usually signals that the process needs to be revamped, not that your employees are slow to catch on.
  • Work with managers and teams that are not using the application frequently or comprehensively. Determine what the issues are and then provide the necessary support to overcome the barriers, whether it’s getting greater buy-in from management or localizing the language prompts within the application for your global teams.
  • Create milestones and reward end users for reaching them. This will create engagement in the learning process, which can speed adoption and retention.

A Final Word

User onboarding is a process that never truly ends. If you don’t track and measure it, you won’t know where you are succeeding or failing, or even experiencing an unexpected result. You’ll not only miss the opportunity to prove to stakeholders that the launch has been successful, but you run the risk of hampering employee productivity and satisfaction, while simultaneously being less likely to hit your ROI goals.

Are you currently tracking any metrics around user onboarding? If so, we’d love to know what type of data you collect and how it’s helped you improve adoption rates. If not, let us know what metrics you would want to track as part of a comprehensive application user onboarding program.

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Interested in learning more about how Epilogue can help your organization measure and improve your user onboarding metrics? Drop us a line.

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