Why Onboarding Should Include Performance-Based Assessments: Enhancing Employee Integration

By July 6, 2023Assessments

The days before starting a new job are exciting and stressful. Among the tasks a new employee has in front of them is figuring out where they will fit into their new team and within the company structure in general. New employees must also be sure they fully understand their duties and how they can help the company while advancing their careers.

Companies can ease the transition to a new position and make things less overwhelming by using one simple tool.

An employee assessment.

Many companies don’t use employee assessments with new hires because it’s often assumed that the assessment covers the same ground as a pre-employment test. However, that is not correct.

What is the difference between pre-employment tests and employee assessments?

While both pre-employment tests and employee assessments assess individuals, their focus, timing, and purpose differ. Pre-employment tests aim to evaluate candidates’ suitability for a specific job, while employee assessments review an employee’s performance, knowledge, and development needs.

Pre-employment tests are given to benefit the company by preventing a bad hire. On the other hand, employee assessments benefit employees by determining how the company can help them develop their skills and careers.

The importance of employee assessments in onboarding

Employee assessments provide insights into an employee’s strengths, development areas, performance expectations, and growth opportunities. They can be used to create targeted training and development, enhance performance management processes, promote self-awareness and personal growth, and enable career advancement.

Employee assessments contribute to new hires’ success, productivity, and satisfaction.

  1. Identify strengths and areas for development—Employee assessments help new hires understand their strengths and the areas where they may need further development. They can better understand their skills and competencies by receiving feedback and insights through assessments.
  2. Targeted training and development—Employee assessments provide valuable information to design targeted training and development plans for new hires. Based on the assessment results, organizations can create personalized learning paths and provide resources that address specific skill gaps or development needs.
  3. Performance expectations—Employee assessments can help set clear expectations for new hires. Organizations can establish baseline performance standards by assessing their abilities and competencies and communicating these expectations to new hires.
  4. Goal setting and performance management—Assessments can serve as a foundation for goal setting and performance management. New hires can use the assessment results as a starting point to establish performance goals and objectives aligned with their roles and the organization’s expectations.
  5. Self-awareness and personal growth—Employee assessments can promote self-awareness and personal growth among new hires. By reflecting on the assessment results and feedback, new hires gain insights into their abilities, strengths, and areas for improvement.
  6. Supportive feedback and coaching—Assessments provide a framework for providing constructive feedback and coaching to new hires. Managers and mentors can use assessment results to offer targeted guidance, support, and coaching tailored to the individual’s strengths and areas of improvement.
  7. Career development and advancement opportunities—Employee assessments can help new hires identify potential career paths and opportunities within the organization. By understanding their current skill set and growth areas, new hires can explore avenues for career development, seek additional responsibilities, and pursue opportunities for growth and advancement within the organization.

Why is onboarding important?

Incorporating performance and productivity-based assessments within the onboarding process is essential to help new hires adjust to their roles, develop professionally, and understand the expectations they will be held to. Onboarding serves as a foundation for employee retention, workplace culture, employee assessment tools, and team integration—all of which positively impact the organization’s bottom line.

Employee retention

An effective onboarding program helps increase productivity and employee retention by creating a positive first impression and establishing clear performance expectations. Integrating performance-based assessments can provide the new employee and their manager with measurable objectives, clarified expectations and milestones, and a smooth transition to the workplace.

Employees will remain with companies that see their potential and value their development. By incorporating employee assessments into onboarding, the company can find skills and knowledge areas that may have yet to be covered in the interview process and talk with the employee about their long-term goals and career objectives.

By committing to the training needs and employee development of newly hired employees, a company shows that it is willing to commit to the employee. Employees who feel their managers value their development are likelier to remain with the company.

Workplace culture

Performance-based assessments within the onboarding evaluation process also play a role in developing a strong workplace culture. These assessments allow HR to evaluate the new employee’s skills and hire tests to assess personality fit within the company’s values and expectations.

New employees who align well with the organization’s culture can create a more cohesive and productive work environment. A solid onboarding evaluation process strengthens new employees’ understanding of their responsibilities, making it easier to adopt the company’s culture and practices rapidly.

Team integration

Integrating performance-based employee evaluations and assessments with onboarding helps new hires fit more easily within their teams.

Employee assessments provide clear objectives that help the new employee’s performance goals align with the team’s targets. This allows for a more cohesive team dynamic and ensures the entire team works towards a shared vision.

In addition, performance-based employee assessments and evaluations also allow new team members to demonstrate their abilities, helping them earn the trust and respect of their colleagues.

Incorporating performance-based assessments in the onboarding process is a strategic move that can lead to higher employee retention, a stronger workplace culture, and smoother team integration.

Implementing these performance assessments can ensure new employees have the support and structure needed to thrive in their new roles.

Performance-based assessments

Performance-based assessments are a type of assessment that focuses on evaluating a learner’s ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world situations.

These performance reviews, tests, and assessments are complex, authentic, and open-ended, requiring learners to engage in problem-solving and critical thinking throughout the assessment process.

This type of assessment differs from traditional testing methods by emphasizing a deeper understanding of the material and its practical applications.

The value of performance-based assessments

Performance-based assessments can significantly further productivity and benefit the onboarding process in numerous ways.

First, they cultivate engagement and productivity by actively involving new hires in tasks that reflect their strengths, weaknesses, and job requirements. This hands-on approach helps new hires quickly become productive as they gain practical experience in a controlled setting.

Second, performance-based assessments provide more accurate insight into new employees’ ability to apply and evaluate their skills and knowledge in practical situations, compared to traditional testing methods. Evaluating problem-solving and critical thinking skills is essential for determining how well an employee will perform in their job.

Choosing a performance-based assessment

Performance-based assessments can be tailored to specific roles and industries, making employee evaluations of them highly relevant and informative. They can be designed to assess an employee’s ability to perform their job descriptions and specific examples of tasks representative of their job, providing employers and new hires with actionable feedback on areas of strength and areas of weakness that may need further development.

While there are many options for performance-based assessments out there, one of the best is TrueAbility. TrueAbility’s Pure Performance-Based Assessment is flexible and dynamic, which is why it’s been chosen by many companies, such as Google, VMWare, and SUSE.

How is a performance-based assessment different from traditional testing methods?

Traditional testing, assessment, and evaluation methods often rely on multiple-choice or short-answer questions and tests that assess a learner’s ability to recall and re-state facts. These tests, including assessments and self assessment methods, can be limiting, as they may not accurately represent an employee’s abilities to think critically and apply their knowledge in real-world situations.

In contrast, performance-based assessments provide a platform for learners to demonstrate their understanding and application of complex concepts and skills. These are process and product-oriented assessments, allowing for a well-rounded, multiple evaluation process and assessment of learner capabilities.

There are also companies, like TrueAbility, that offer blended assessments. Blended assessments combine performance-based assessments and optimized multiple-choice questions into one test to simplify testing and accelerate results.

Incorporating performance-based skills assessments into the onboarding and evaluation can lead to more successful outcomes for new hires and employers. By evaluating an employee’s ability to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills within the context of their job, organizations can better evaluate employee performance, target their training efforts, identify candidates and achieve stronger results.

How to enhance your onboarding process with performance-based assessments

Incorporating performance-based assessments into the onboarding process can be highly beneficial in evaluating new hires’ skills, knowledge, and abilities while providing them with a comprehensive introduction to their roles.

1. Set role expectations

During onboarding, setting clear expectations for the new hire’s role is crucial. This includes discussing the employee’s goals, job responsibilities, team goals, and key performance indicators and metrics.

Establishing role clarity from day one helps new employees understand their position within the company and sets the stage for their career progression and integration with their team. Clear communication regarding expectations between managers and team members can increase performance, productivity, and employee engagement.

2. Use authentic assessment scenarios

Integrating employee performance—based assessments into the onboarding process can improve the effectiveness of training and development. These authentic scenarios accurately measure an employee’s ability to carry out tasks and solve real-world problems related to their role.

Using real-life situations and challenges, employee performance—based assessments help new hires gain practical experience, enhancing their understanding of the job requirements. This hands-on approach is crucial in ensuring new team members are well-equipped to contribute to the company’s success.

3. Check for learning gaps

One significant advantage of utilizing performance-based employee assessments used during the onboarding process is the ability to identify learning gaps early on.

By using effective employee assessments and closely evaluating a new hire’s performance in these scenarios, managers can pinpoint areas requiring extra attention, such as skills development, product knowledge, or team collaboration practices.

Addressing learning gaps early in an employee’s tenure allows their direct manager to focus on personalized training and support to foster growth and continuous performance improvement. This targeted approach ensures that each new hire achieves their full potential, benefiting both the employee’s career and the organization’s overall success.

Supportive communication and check-ins

Company engagement continues even after a new hire completes onboarding. In order to encourage employee engagement, management needs to keep in touch with new hires to ensure they are comfortable with their role and blend in well with their new colleagues and co-workers.

How should managers and mentors support new hires?

During employee onboarding, it’s essential for managers and mentors to engage with new hires actively.

Supportive communication helps new employees transition smoothly into their roles and become productive team members. Managers and mentors are crucial in facilitating this communication by providing timely and comprehensive feedback often, setting clear expectations, and offering guidance when needed.

One way to encourage supportive communication is regular check-ins at 30-, 60-, and 90-day intervals during onboarding.

Check-ins allow managers and mentors to review new hires, compare employees’ progress, identify opportunities, address concerns, and provide valuable feedback. They also allow new employees to ask questions, share their experiences, give feedback, and express any concerns they may have.

How can the company encourage open communication?

Encouraging open communication during the employee onboarding process is crucial to establish a transparent and effective working relationship. Managers should create a safe environment that allows new hires to express their thoughts and ideas without fear of reprisal. 

This can be achieved by:

  • Demonstrating active listening skills and being receptive to feedback.
  • Asking open-ended questions allows new hires to elaborate on their answers.
  • Providing specific, constructive feedback promptly.
  • Encouraging two-way communication by creating a feedback loop between new hires and managers.

Executive involvement in onboarding can also provide insights that help foster open communication. By sharing company values, vision, and expectations, executives and senior leadership can demonstrate their commitment to a transparent and inclusive work culture.

Implementing supportive communication and check-ins in employee onboarding is vital for a smooth transition. This will help develop strong working relationships and build trust within the workplace. New hires can quickly become productive and valuable team members by involving managers, mentors, and executives in onboarding.

Customizing onboarding for each new hire

Customizing onboarding for individuals allows organizations to meet employees where they are. When meeting the needs of each individual, companies can optimize their development and cultivate a positive and inclusive work environment.

Tailoring the onboarding experience for each individual demonstrates the company’s commitment to supporting employees’ growth, engagement, and success. It also encourages employee engagement.

Adapting to learning styles

Every individual has a specific learning style, visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. By adapting the onboarding process to cater to different learning styles, employers can help new team members absorb information more effectively and adapt to their roles.

This can be done by providing various training materials, such as videos, podcasts, and hands-on exercises. Implementing real-world situations during training can also give new employees a better understanding of their responsibilities and the company’s expectations.

Employee personality and strengths

Understanding an employee’s personality traits, strengths, and weaknesses is crucial for providing appropriate support during onboarding.

In evaluating an employee’s strengths and weaknesses and their individual characteristics, employers can create a performance-based assessment that focuses on evaluating strengths and areas the employee may excel in and areas where they may require additional support.

This customized approach includes assessments that allow new team members to develop confidence in their abilities while identifying opportunities for growth and improvement.

Employee development

A well-designed onboarding process should aid employees in a smooth transition into the new role and set the groundwork for future employee development.

When companies incorporate education and professional development, and opportunities into the onboarding experience, employers can ensure new employees and team members receive the training and support needed to grow within the company.

Through workshops, mentorship programs, or ongoing education, employees can continue to enhance their skills and contribute to the organization’s long-term success.

How to implement efficient and effective onboarding programs

Onboarding sets the tone of the company for new hires and can set the stage for success and employee engagement.

Train programs and course standards

Implementing an effective onboarding program is crucial to the success of new hires. A key component of these programs should be regular and performance-based employee assessments, which help align their training needs with the company’s culture, product, and setting.

Providing new hires comprehensive training that adheres to high course standards ensures they gain the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their new roles. Structured training can include hands-on exercises, role-specific workshops, and ongoing feedback to support continuous growth and development.

Align with company values and mission

Onboarding programs need to align new hires with the organization’s values and mission.

Developing a strong workplace culture promotes employee retention and enhances their sense of responsibility toward the company’s goals.

Integration activities, such as team-building exercises, can help new employees understand the importance of company values, promoting a sense of belonging and commitment to business goals.

Additionally, performance-based employee assessments allow employers to evaluate further employee performance and how well new hires demonstrate and incorporate company values into their work ethic.

This assessment and evaluation process enables continuous improvement by measuring performance and identifying areas where employees need more guidance or support to be successful.

Make continuous improvements

A successful onboarding program focuses on continuous improvements involving the new hires and the entire organization. Performance-based compensation reviews, employee assessments, feedback sessions, and open communication can increase employee retention and overall workplace satisfaction.

Organizations can identify areas where training programs need to be updated or enhanced to meet changing business demands by conducting employee assessments and analyzing assessment outcomes. Additionally, by monitoring new hires’ progress, managers can quickly address any concerns and provide feedback to ensure the employee feels a smooth transition to their new role.

Frequently asked questions

How often should new hires be evaluated?

New hires should be evaluated regularly during their first 90 days of employment. Some employers review at 30, 60, and 90 days to ensure the new hire is meeting standards and acclimating well to the company. However often they are evaluated, the feedback must be constructive and supportive.

How do you measure new hire performance?

New hire performance should be measured with the same standards and using the same method for other employees, such as meeting performance standards and 360-degree feedback.

Why are the first 90 days so important to a new hire?

During the first 90 days, a new hire’s impression of the company is solidified. They learn their new jobs, assimilate into the team, build relationships with their co-workers, and begin employee engagement.


Adding performance-based assessments to onboarding programs can ensure a new hire’s successful integration and alignment with company values. Other steps companies can take include:

  • Emphasizing continuous improvement.
  • Maintaining high course standards.
  • Using positive feedback for evaluation will help to develop a strong workplace culture.

This culture will improve performance and productivity, employee retention, and overall organizational success.

Jodi Mai began her career as a recruiter after college. She moved into an HR Generalist role and later, into HR management, working on such topics as employee relations, benefit administration, and payroll. Over the last 15 years, she has worked in the talent acquisition and management industry, and since 2018, Jodi has expanded to HR consulting and writing on HR and recruitment topics.

Learn more about True Ability—the world’s most sophisticated platform for performance-based certification and assessment, which can be customized to deliver convenient, scalable, and accessible exams.

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About TrueAbililty

TrueAbility is a trusted global performance-based technical assessment provider offering a community ecosystem allowing technical professionals and employers to collaborate and measure skill sets through AbilityScreen®. AbilityScreen is the only fully-managed performance-based technical assessment platform operating in a live, cloud environment that automates recruiting and hiring processes to definitively assess and qualify a technical professional’s technology experience.

TrueAbility has executed over 20,000 technical assessments logging more than 18,000 hours of live server practical skill evaluations. Employers have collectively hired hundreds of qualified technical professionals for specific job positions across an array of industries. Founded in 2012, TrueAbility is privately held and headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, please visit www.trueability.com.

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