How Surveys Help Employee Recruitment and Retention

Philip Cleave
November 7, 2019

While most of you are likely to be familiar with the benefits of using surveys to gather customer feedback, how many of you have used them to improve your employee recruitment and retention?

When you look at some of the current statistics around this it certainly makes a strong case for using surveys to help boost your staff recruitment and retention success. In the area of recruitment, studies reveal that one out of three new hires leaves after about six months.

Staff retention is equally challenging with just 41% of UK employees feeling aligned with their organizations’ goals, reflecting stuttering employee engagement levels among the UK’s workforce.

So, with statistics highlighting the need for greater improvement to address these issues, what types of surveys can you use to help with hiring and staff retention? We look at this in more detail below.

Surveys to Enhance Employee Recruitment and Retention

The Challenge of Staff Recruitment

Sourcing and hiring top talent can be tough for many businesses. And with the average UK employee now costing £12,000 to replace, the pressure to get this right first time is critical, as you don’t want to be duplicating that cost, just a few months later.

To avoid high turnover expense, particularly in the very short term, you need to get to know a candidate better before extending their job offer.

Although interviews help you to learn about a candidate, using survey questions and assessments during your recruitment and selection process can help hiring managers identify a stronger fit for the position you have advertised.

There are two survey methods you can use to help you with this:

Employment Application Form

Used at the beginning of the recruitment process and in lieu or in addition to a CV, the questions in an application form help you to get a more detailed picture of how a candidate’s skills, knowledge and experience match your job’s requirements. However, to learn even more about a candidate’s suitability for the role and how well they would fit your company, you might also want to ask them some additional survey questions. These could include:

  1. Why do you want to work for [Company]?
  2. Describe your ideal manager.
  3. On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, how much do you enjoy working with others?

With more detailed information to help you compare candidates and their answers, you will be in a better position to make the right recruitment decisions for your business. It will also provide candidates with more to work with in determining whether the job would be a good fit for them too

Job-fit Test Assessment

A pre-employment assessment test is another useful tool for your hiring process, with the job-fit test offering a particularly effective way of finding out more about a candidate’s personality, job interests, values and more.

Using the job-fit test you’re able to ask a series of general and tailored questions to determine if candidates would make a good culture fit. Typically, candidates need to provide a number rated answer to each question. These numbers can range from Strongly Agree (5) to Strongly Disagree (1).

Many businesses now run job-fit tests alongside traditional interviews, with the objective of using the test’s survey style questions to help them better assess how a candidate will act and perform in a role.

When you are creating your questions, have an idea of your ideal candidate in mind, as this will help guide you about what statement to include. Example statements you might like to use for your job-fit test could include:

  • I am more detail-oriented than big picture-focused
  • I embrace conflict in the workplace
  • I enjoy working by myself as opposed to in a group
  • I am highly organized
  • I prefer routines

Conducting these types of assessments should help you to reduce the turnover that results from placing a bad fit. You can also use the insight you gain about what motivates each candidate to help shape future engagement strategies for retaining talent.

We also touch on these ideas on our recruitment and selection survey page, where you can also find some further advice and ideas about how you can use surveys to enhance your recruitment needs.

The Challenge of Staff Retention

Retaining top talent is equally as important as surveying and interviewing potential new hires. When you further strengthen your teams, surveys can be useful in enabling you to learn more about what motivates both newer and more established employees and root out any issues that you might need to address. There are two employee survey solutions that are ideal for this:

Employee Engagement Surveys

If your employees aren’t engaged, they’re less likely to stay with your business long-term, which can be potentially harmful to your productivity and your business’s bottom line. This contrasts with more engaged employees, who are 30% less likely to look for another job and can provide as much as a 22% boost in productivity, not so surprising when you consider that engaged employees tend to be more excited, passionate and willing to make a difference in their roles.

One of the best ways to see what employees think about their jobs and to measure their engagement levels is through an engagement survey, which can provide the essential insight you need to make changes and boost staff members’ engagement. For example, if your survey revealed that several employees were disengaged because they were finding it difficult to get a good work-home life balance, you may after some further consideration switch around their working hours to accommodate this.

You may find this a bit more challenging if the survey you distributed was anonymous and you were unable to identify individuals struggling with this. However, the insight could still be useful in enabling you to decide what more you could do to provide greater work-home life flexibility going forward.

Here are some sample questions you might like to ask your employees, or use as a basis for creating some of your own:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how much do you enjoy your job?
  • Do you feel like your ideas are valued at work?
  • Do you feel you are adequately recognized for what you do?
  • Describe your work habits.
  • How would you describe the accuracy of your work?
  • What are you most proud of in your current role?

Using these questions, or something similar, you will be able to assess how engaged a worker is and gain a better idea of what you could do to further improve this.

Employee Performance Surveys

When it comes assessing an employee’s performance you shouldn’t just rely on what you perceive week to week, as you can also gain a lot of valuable insight by asking your employee about how they think they are performing

Although some employees may exaggerate their performance within a self-assessment questionnaire, generally most people will appreciate being asked about what they do, which will also give you a clearer picture of their daily responsibilities. It will also give you an indicator of where they may be under performing

Besides distributing a performance survey to an employee, you might also want to complete your own survey of that employee’s performance and then compare your answers. Not only would this provide a more balanced view, but it could also reinforce some views that you already held about that individual and whether they were performing strongly or not. This could result in you promoting an individual or tailoring a training or performance improvement plan to help them. Either way, the insight that the survey gave you would be both beneficial to you and your business.

Employee performance surveys can also highlight how employees feel about their co-worker’s performance, which can be very useful in telling you how effectively your teams are working together, and which individuals need to be increasing their effort.

Here are some more sample questions that you might like to use

  • Are you able to cooperate with your co-workers?
  • How well are you able to adapt to changes in the workplace?
  • Describe your skills.
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, describe the quality of your work.
  • What projects are you currently completing?
  • Do you meet the goals you set for yourself?
  • If any, what kind of training do you think you need to better perform your job?
  • Do you feel like everyone pulls their weight on your team?

A Worthwhile Investment for Employee Recruitment and Retention

Whatever the size of your business your employees are your most valuable asset, with each fresh face bringing with them additional skills, knowledge and experiences that can further your success.

However, this can only be achieved by hiring the right people and shouldn’t be left to chance, as the costs of getting it wrong are not only damaging to your short-term recruitment costs, but potentially your long-term productivity.

By using surveys as part of your employee recruitment and retention strategy, you will be much better placed to match the right candidates with job vacancies and be able to identify what actions you need to take to hold onto your best staff. This should keep you moving forward and competitive, which given the small margins between success and failure in today’s marketplace, also makes good business sense.

Get started and create your first survey

If you would like more information then please get in touch.