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Recruitment solutions for business success #1: employee surveys

Recruitment solutions for business success #1: employee surveys
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Recruitment solutions for business success #1: employee surveys
Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space by Siobhan Stirling - Sharp Minds Communications for Capital Space
Owner/Director - Sharp Minds Communications Ltd

In the current macro-economic climate, where talent is king, understanding your employees and your future potential employees is key to being able to offer them opportunities they will be attracted to, to ensure your business secures the staff it needs to succeed.

With unemployment at some of the lowest levels since 1974, one way of staying in the loop with both current and incoming talent in your industry is via employee surveys. Listening to the ideas and criticisms of employees and providing them with the opportunity to influence how their work experience is shaped, will help you retain your staff and recruit new talent when needed.

Employee surveys can be particularly insightful if there is a generation gap between your business leaders and the talent you are trying to recruit. It also aligns with the aspirations of today’s younger workers; according to Deloitte’s Gen Z and Millennial Survey , Gen Z in particular feel empowered to drive change within their organisation. With more Generation Zs entering the workforce, you can expect that more of your employees will increasingly want to feel like they are part of not just a company, but a community.

Pros of employee surveys to help with recruitment

The main aim of conducting staff surveys is to use the feedback to improve employee satisfaction and increase efficiency. Involving employees in conversations not only makes them feel appreciated and acknowledged but also creates a working environment which is striving for change, has an inclusive culture, effectively communicates and is high performing. Research shows that a workforce which feels listened to is “4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work” .

This will have knock-on effects on recruitment, as a happy workplace can both retain and attract employees. Retaining employees is far more affordable than recruiting and training new talent; the longer an employee is satisfied in their job, the more likely they are to be invested in and committed to contributing to the success of a company.

Cons of employee surveys to help with recruitment

It is worth noting that if surveys are handled incorrectly, they can be damaging to the morale of the workforce and any company carrying out an employee survey should be open to change and adjustment – if your staff are clamouring for a particular change and you don’t effect it despite their feedback, that can be worse than continuing in ignorance.

Bias is also a factor that survey planners should be wary of; it’s recommended that data scientists are involved to prevent it from impacting the questions and, therefore, outcome of a survey. The employee group’s value should also be considered when analysing survey results; breaking it into generational groups may give insight into what suggestions should be taken on board. For example, a Boomer’s suggested company improvements may not be useful if you’re trying to recruit young talent.

How to make a good staff survey – do’s and don’ts

A good survey explores various aspects of an employee’s opinions, such as:

  • Satisfaction
  • Engagement
  • Workplace culture
  • Experience
  • Business process.

Covering most, if not all, of these aspects should help you build a rounded picture of your employees’ attitudes and opinions. To deepen insights, surveys can be given at multiple stages of a person’s career, such as onboarding, development and offboarding; additionally, discussions can be had in meetings, performance reviews and even during casual conversations.

It is important that the survey facilitates the sharing of opinions and ideas and asks open, unbiased questions which encourage employees to express their thoughts. Surveys shouldn’t be too long or sent out too often, as this can lead to “survey fatigue,” or managed by a third party, as this can lead to a disconnect between employees and their senior leadership.

What to do with your staff survey answers: how to enact lasting changes to satisfy your employees’ needs

One of the most common ways of failing to interpret survey results correctly is due to bias; it’s therefore important to interpret results with an open and humble mindset and not jump to conclusions or assume correlations based on personal opinions. For more tips on how to avoid bias impacting results interpretation see People Insight’s article.

It’s very important to be realistic and sustainable when it comes to enacting changes. One of the best ways of doing this is by prioritising and categorising new ideas so that they can be effectively built into your business plan, for example, by deciding on one organisation-wide focus and then looking at changes on a departmental level.

To ensure lasting and impactful change, progress and results should be shared with employees, and they should be updated on changes. Taking it further, listening sessions could also be beneficial to get to the heart of certain pain points or large-scale propositions. Keeping employees involved is key so that they feel their time hasn’t been wasted filling out the survey; rather, you want them to know that you value their opinion and care about their workplace happiness.

Using your staff survey insights to attract new talent

Surveys can be an incredibly useful method to understand the needs, experiences and attitudes of your employees. If you can ensure you are doing your best to provide your employees with a satisfying job and a good work environment, then your employer brand is likely to be strengthened, which in itself will help you attract new candidates.

Additionally, if you know that you are offering the working environment and package that your valued employees want, you can message this in your recruitment campaigns, again enabling you to stand out in a competitive talent market by ticking more boxes for potential candidates.

Happy staff attract more recruits, making it a win-win. But more than that: according to a study by The University of Oxford, happy employees are also 13% more productive – making it a win-win-win!

If you’re looking for business accommodation to help you attract the best talent, get in touch