Employee Surveys: Why They Are An Essential Tool For Your HR Team

Philip Cleave
September 29, 2023
A contented member of staff

From their CRM, help desk software, instant messaging and chat tools, to their customer service and customer success teams.

When it comes to their customers, most companies will have a mix of systems and teams in place to help manage them and ensure they’re providing as good a customer service and experience as they can. Yet, although no business can operate without the two essential components of customers and employees, many staff are not nurtured in such an attentive way.

In fact, given that the HR approach of many organizations tends to be far too automatic, many employees are left feeling misunderstood and disengaged. Not only does this prevent many staff from reaching their full potential, but it can significantly curtail a company’s productivity and growth.

In contrast, when a business puts in the right processes and takes the time to really understand their staff, those employees are nearly five times more likely to deliver their best efforts. This is where the benefit of using employee surveys really comes to the fore.

Feedback tools HR teams can use to better understand the needs of their staff

While there is growing range of feedback tools out there, the employee survey remains one of the best ways to get staff feedback, due to its ease of creation, wide ranging distribution options and detailed reporting and analysis tools.

Given the wide range feedback tools available, employee surveys can make a real difference to an HR team’s understanding of their workforce and how individual employees are feeling.

Here are some key areas where they can provide value.

Getting the pulse of your organization and a measure of staff engagement

With the day-to-day activities of most businesses busier than ever before, things can change very quickly within the workplace, and swiftly affect staff mood and engagement.

While you can potentially reach out to your staff with any employee survey, shorter style feedback surveys are better in this situation, as they allow you to quickly get to the hub of what might be troubling staff and work on fixing it.

The employee pulse survey has been especially designed for this reason. Usually featuring no more than a couple of questions, it’s designed for you to quickly and more regularly check in with your workforce, and swiftly take any actions you need.

The good thing about pulse surveys, is that they also give you the flexibility to follow up with further surveys such as employee satisfaction or staff engagement surveys, if you feel you need to dig deeper for more insights into what might be troubling your staff.

Obtaining a more precise measurement of your staff happiness and loyalty

Once again, while any employee survey will give you some insight, you’ll often want a more precise measurement of how your staff are feeling, so you can identify which ones need the most urgent attention.

Fortunately, the Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) survey metric will help deliver this, as it measures each of your employee’s contentment levels by their willingness to recommend others to work for your organization.

You can work out your own eNPS calculation by asking your employees the following question:

"On a scale of zero to ten, how likely would you be to recommend our company to others as a great place to work?"

‍(In this scenario those closest to zero would be the least likely and those nearer to ten the most likely to recommend you to others)

Having gathered and reviewed each employee’s answer, you can then divide your staff into the following groups:

  • Promoters – represent those employees who rated you a nine or a ten and are considered your promoters indicating that they’re happy and engaged.
  • Passives – are those that replied with a seven or an eight. Neither happy or unhappy, while they’re unlikely to recommend your business to anyone else, they’re also unlikely to say anything negative about you to others.
  • Detractors – this group covers anyone who gave you a rating of below six. As your detractors, they’re most likely to be unhappy and the least engaged.

To calculate your eNPS, you’ll need to subtract your percentage of detractors from your percentage of promoters. However, if you’re looking for a simpler way of working out this crucial figure, you might like to try our eNPS calculator.

Having made your calculation, you should be left with a score of between –100 and 100. Any positive score is considered good, while anything below zero highlights that you need to work harder at identifying and making the improvements you need to boost engagement levels within your workforce.

Getting a more objective view on staff performance

Staff appraisals are an essential part of maintaining the performance of your workforce, and they also help to you to identify the right workplace culture and environment to support this.

Traditionally, staff appraisals were conducted as a face-to-face meeting between a manager and each of their individual team members. Then when surveys began being introduced to this process, staff were invited to rate their performance according to different categories, which would be counter reviewed by their boss. However, the trouble with this is that whenever we’re reviewing our own performance, we can tend to be too narrow in our judgment and overly confident or too negative in rating how well we're actually doing.

Consequently, you can often get a much more objective and constructive view of how well someone is performing by asking a selection of their colleagues that work with them. The great thing about this is that these people will often spot things about that individual that they would have been unlikely to think of themselves, which can also benefit their learning and growth.

The good thing is that there is now a survey called the 360 Feedback Survey that can help you with this. The 360 feedback survey looks to gather feedback about an employee’s performance anonymously from their co-workers. The aim of this survey is to help staff better understand how their work, skills, and behaviors affect other people at all levels within their organization.

Having received this outside view, the hope is that each employee will be able to recognize any ‘blind spots’ and it will be easier for them to know exactly where they need to improve.

Maintaining your employee experience for each employee’s journey with you

Besides enhancing your understanding of your employees’ needs, staff surveys can help you to improve and maintain a positive employee experience during every employee’s employment journey with you.

This is crucial, as positive employee experiences help to create a happier and more engaged workforce that is more productive. It also helps boost staff retention while attracting the best new talent, with all these factors combining to make your business more successful.

At this point, it can be helpful to highlight how employee surveys can be used to maintain positive employee experiences during each stage of the whole employee journey, from initial recruitment and onboarding, right through to development, retention and offboarding.

Attraction and recruitment

Although they’re not an employee at this stage, the initial attraction stage when a potential recruit first becomes aware of a job opportunity with a company is very important for both the potential recruit and employer alike.

For the recruit, it’s an opportunity for them to fully assess whether it’s really a job and more importantly the sort of company that they would feel comfortable and happy working with. While for the employer it’s a crucial stage for them to assess whether their initial job advertisement and application is attracting the quality of candidates they need.

While the potential recruit will gather a lot of their information from the initial job advertisement, research of that company’s website, visiting review sites and talking to others, there’s still more a potential employer can do at this stage to create the best impression.

In fact, more employers are using survey application forms instead of the more traditional CV upload and covering letter application approach. Not only does this provide them with the chance to ask specific questions, but they can also be designed to perfectly replicate their company’s brand, helping build greater trust and engagement, and boost the volume and quality of applicants.

Once candidates have been shortlisted for interviews, surveys can further enhance the recruitment process by testing candidates for their soft skills, as well as asking further questions to sound out their potential competency for that role.

When you consider the average cost to replace an employee in the UK is now £12, 000 it makes sense to do everything you can to get your recruitment right at the first attempt, as you don’t want to be duplicating that cost just a short time later.

However, if you’re already using surveys in your recruitment process, you’ll be well placed to avoid that happening.

Onboarding, development and retention

Once a new staff member has been recruited the surveys shouldn’t stop there.

In fact, the employee onboarding process is one of the most demanding stages of a new employee’s journey with a business. Not only do they need to be given sufficient time and resources to adapt, gain basic knowledge and competencies relating to their job and the wider business, it’s also an important to check that the employees’ own expectations and satisfaction with the role are being met. It’s such an important stage, that if anything falls short of what they’re happy with, they could easily leave the role for something else.

Fortunately, there are a number of specialist employee surveys you can use at this stage to check in with your new recruits, gage the experience you’re delivering for them and make any tweaks you deem necessary. These include samples such as the new employee orientation survey and staff onboarding survey template.

Once they’ve successfully got through their probation period, employers should be doing everything they can to help these new recruits progress and develop in their roles, which will not only encourage them to stay, but benefit the wider business as their experience grows.

Once again surveys can help meet your needs. With surveys ranging from job satisfaction, training and career development right through to staff motivation, wellbeing and more, you’re better able to gage how your staff are feeling and provide any extra support they need to fulfill their potential.

Staff exit

No matter what quality of employee experience you’re delivering there will always be staff leaving your company, whether that’s due to them leaving for another role, retirement, resignation and in some cases dismissal. However, this is still a valuable stage to analyze, especially if you’re suffering a higher churn rate than you’ve experienced previously.

From discontentment with their job role, working conditions and their relationships with other colleagues, to their dissatisfaction with training and career progression opportunities, and more. There could be a whole host of reasons why people leave, but the good thing is that you can find out a lot more if you send them an exit interview survey. In particular, through the analysis tools that you get with your survey software, you’ll be able to spot any problematic trends in your responses that you need to fix.

Ultimately, if you’re to retain more staff, you need to improve conditions for any staff you recruit in the future. However, if you’re using exit surveys as part of your employee survey strategy, you’ll be in a much better position to address that.

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this blog interesting, and if you weren’t already aware, you’re now up to speed with the many ways in which employee surveys can help your staff and your business.

From more workplace satisfaction, engagement and collaboration to increased employee productivity, retention and more. There are so many benefits to be gained when you generate more positive experiences for your staff.

So, if your HR team is not already doing enough to improve your employee experience. Now is the time to get started.

Deliver more positive employee experiences and boost customer satisfaction too

Getting survey feedback from your staff is crucial if you’re to deliver more positive employee experiences for them. But it’s essential for delivering increased customer satisfaction too, as employees and customers are inextricably linked. However, if you’re to experience the best outcome, you need to be using the right survey tools.

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