New Hire Time to Productivity

New Hire Time to Productivity: How to Improve Employee Performance

After organizations spend months-on-end in the hiring process, searching for the right candidate, right on the new hire’s first day, they already have one question in mind:

“When will I start to see results?”


Performance expectations are high, and there’s often pressure to get newly-hired employees up and running as soon as possible. Understandably, today’s world of ever-increasing competition and shrinking margins has put greater emphasis on the need to maximize performance from day one.

But without proper employee productivity metrics to track performance, evaluations are often subjective (mostly a pure guessing game!), and managers can’t always identify which new hire onboarding strategies are working best.

That’s where measuring new hire time to productivity comes in. Here’s what you need to know about it.

What Is New Hire Time to Productivity?

New hire time to productivity is a measurement of how long it takes for an employee to go from onboarding to being fully productive and meeting performance goals. In other words, it’s the time a new employee takes to start adding value to the company from the day they start working.

This metric is used to measure the effectiveness of onboarding strategies, and it can help managers have an objective view of how well their new-hire training and onboarding strategies are performing. That’s because supporting new employees from the get-go helps them become productive faster, and in turn, reduces time to productivity.

How Can New Hire Time to Productivity Be Tracked?

When it comes to how to measure time to productivity, there are a number of methods that organizations can use. However, the most common one is by subtracting the employee’s start date from the date they become fully productive.

Similarly, to get the total average time of new hire time to productivity, organizations can track multiple employees at once by adding the total number of days for all new hires to reach full productivity over a given time frame and dividing it by the total number of new hires.

For this to work, managers should create performance goals for new hires that must be met in a certain period of time- usually within the first few weeks or months of employment (60% of companies don’t bother setting milestones or goals for new hires, so this is crucial.)

This could range from completing specific certifications or training videos to reaching certain role-related performance targets, such as hitting a certain sales target or reaching a customer satisfaction score.

Then, measure how long it took them to reach those goals and calculate their time to productivity.

This metric can then be used to compare new hires and see how their onboarding experience is impacting their productivity. This can also be used to spot any areas of improvement and help HR leaders tweak their onboarding programs accordingly to maximize efficiency.

Pro Tip: To unify the calculation of time to productivity, it helps if the organization has a very clear definition of what “full productivity” means. This will provide everyone with an understanding of the expected goals and performance standards for new hires, making it easier to track their time to productivity and measure overall success.

How to track New Hire Time to Productivity

Why Track New Hires Time to Productivity?

Using the new hire productivity metric isn’t only used to evaluate whether new employees are becoming productive or not. It can also be used to inform various HR decisions, providing insights into the following.

Onboarding Process Efficiency

The general rule is that the faster a new hire becomes productive, the more effective the onboarding process is. Tracking time to productivity can help organizations determine if their current onboarding program is efficient or not. Most times, the “standard” onboarding process ends up hindering new employees from becoming productive faster.

Company Health

Onboarding isn’t the only factor that affects the time to productivity. If an organization is confident in its onboarding program yet it’s still experiencing long times to productivity, it could be an indication of deeper issues within the organization.

Such issues could include unclear goals or a broken culture – all of which can affect new employees just as much as onboarding. As such, this could give a heads-up to the HR team or even the whole company that company health needs to be improved.


Did you know that when new hires aren’t as productive as they should be, it costs the company?

Yes – low productivity from new hires can cause companies to lose 1-2.5% in revenue. If the organization isn’t tracking productivity, to begin with, it won’t be aware of when new hires are taking longer than they should to become productive. The result? Revenue takes a hit.

New Employee Performance

Finally, time to productivity is a great metric to assess the performance of new employees.

By tracking how long it takes for them to become productive, you can understand how well they have adjusted to their role or if they’re having difficulties. This gives employers an opportunity to provide extra support and guidance where necessary while also recognizing good performance.

How Long Until Employees Are Fully Productive?

Multiple factors can affect the time it takes for a new hire to become productive, so it tends to vary from one organization to another. However, according to a Gallup report, 12 months is the average length of time it takes for a new employee to become fully productive. Relatively supporting that Human Panel, which says that it takes from 5-8 months for most new employees to reach full productivity.

Illustration of Employee Performance Tracking concept

Time to Productivity Contributing Factors

In the majority of cases, there’s something to be done to help make new hires productive quicker. The key lies in the below 5 factors, that if managed properly, can shift the needle in the right direction:

Company Culture

There’s no denying that the surrounding environment can impact a new hire’s productivity. Working in an environment that’s too laid back can lead to a lack of focus while one that’s too rigid can eventually cause burnout. It’s important for employers to strike the right balance between structure and flexibility.

On top of that, companies should foster open communication and encourage new hires to take ownership of their work, ask questions, and collaborate with their colleagues.

Training Required for Autonomy

Not all job roles are created equal – some require more training than others before the new hire can become autonomous. It’s important for organizations to be able to pinpoint the amount of training required depending on the role an individual is assigned to.

Generally speaking, the more focused training a new hire needs, the longer it will take for them to become productive. However, it’ll certainly happen faster than it would’ve if the training programs didn’t exist.

Onboarding Operations

Onboarding programs make all the difference in how long or short time to productivity is – it’s a fact. 62% of companies that have effective onboarding programs are seeing more employees reach full productivity faster and a 54% increase in employee engagement.

A well-structured, good onboarding program should involve a comprehensive introduction to the organization and its culture and processes. It should also include technical and soft skills training as well as assign clear objectives that new hires can focus on from day one. That kind of roadmap puts new hires on the path to success much quicker.

Company Size

Company size isn’t a factor many organizations consider, but company size does make a difference. Larger companies tend to have more complex roles and systems, which can slow down the learning process. Smaller companies, on the other hand, may be able to provide new hires with a clearer understanding of their role and tasks from Day 1.

However, it’s worth mentioning that size also translates into resources, with larger companies having more of them to support new hires during the onboarding process. It all boils down to the company’s ability to provide concrete support and guidance during the onboarding process.

Amount of Support Available

Last, but not least, it’s one thing to throw new hires in the deep end and expect them to swim, but it’s another to provide them with the necessary tools and support to help them cross the finish line.

This is why having dedicated onboarding mentors or coaches that can provide personalized, ongoing feedback, answer questions, and offer guidance is so important. This is especially true for roles that require complex skill sets or a deep understanding of company processes.

The higher the level of support available during onboarding, the faster new hires can become productive.

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Final Thoughts: New Hire Time to Productivity

So, it turns out that there’s a way to effectively measure (objectively!) how quickly a newly hired employee becomes productive. Guesswork is no longer needed!

That said, it’s clear that the time to productivity is affected by a variety of factors, the most important being the onboarding process, which can easily make or break a new hire’s success. That means that onboarding programs now need to cover all the bases – from company culture and technical skills to expectations and support – in order to ensure that new hires become productive as efficiently as possible.

If you’re looking for a partner to help you maximize your onboarding success, we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to book a free consultation call with us so that we can discuss the possibilities. We specialize in microlearning and eLearning content that can streamline your training initiatives and give your onboarding program the boost it needs. Let’s get started!


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