How to decide who to survey, when
When the budget for running staff surveys is tight, employers need to focus on where they can get reliable answers fastest, says Retention Partners director Lisa Halloran.
New employees present a "no-brainer" opportunityAnother way to work within budgetary restrictions is to take advantage of existing opportunities. With new employees, "we know that 90 days after they start they're going to be sitting in an office having a bit of a chat", says Halloran.
Because employers deal with the end-of-probation decision on an individual basis, "it's not really looked on as an opportunity to explore whether the recruitment process needs improvement, and if so where, or whether the onboarding process needs improvement, or where".
However, using this situation to ask some extra questions (Where did you read about us? Why did you decide to join us? Who else did you apply with? Why did you say yes? Why did you hesitate? What have your first 90 days been like? How can we improve?) is a "no-brainer", she says. "In this case you've already got a contact point - this is scheduled, it's in the diary, it's the probation chat - so we're not going to reinvent some other great big process."
Exiting and ex-employees have a breadth of experienceExit interviews that ask "the right questions" can provide "amazing feedback about low-cost, or no-cost solutions that will make the current people want to stay longer", says Halloran. Provided they are anonymous, people are "incredibly honest" as they share their "entire employment experience" of the company.
Although they are usually staggered, when a significant number builds up the data should be collated, she says, "otherwise, what's the point?" By isolating questions that relate to specific areas - such as recruitment, onboarding, learning, development, managers and remuneration - employers can combine answers and look for themes.
"You might pull out all the questionnaires [completed] by women, or all those that came from people who were employed for less than six months and decided to quit, and say 'OK, I can't afford to have people quitting in less than six months - what are their themes?' Maybe there are only six of them, but there's no point doing an exit interview to find out why Mary quit. She's gone. It's way too late. The only reason we're doing it is to figure out why women quit, why high-value people quit, whatever the case may be," she says.
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