Can Using Surveys Help You Hire and Retain Top Talent?

Surveys are commonplace in gathering customer feedback, but how often do you pass them out to candidates and current employees? Distributing surveys in your business can help you hire and retain engaged, talented workers.

According to one survey, one out of three new hires leaves after six months. To help decrease new hire turnover rates, you need to effectively convey the job responsibilities to each candidate and find out if they would be a good fit for your business’s culture. You can do this by conducting surveys.

Once you hire a new employee, you need to make sure they remain engaged. Employee engagement is a priority for 85% of companies, but only 32% of U.S. employees are engaged. Using surveys can help you improve engagement by learning more about the people applying and working for you, what motivates them, and what problems they face.

So, what types of surveys can you use to hire and retain employees? Find out below.

Surveys to Help Hire Talent

Sourcing and hiring top talent is difficult for many businesses. You need to plan ahead to find candidates who are in it for the long haul.

Hiring replacements is a pretty expensive part of business operations. According to SHRM, the average cost-per-hire is $4,425. Don’t you want to make sure you place the right person so you don’t need to duplicate that cost in a few months?

To avoid high turnover rates, particularly turnover after only a few months, you need to get to know a candidate before extending a job offer.

Although interviews help you learn about a candidate, it’s a good idea to do your due diligence and distribute surveys and assessments.

Two surveys you can conduct during your hiring process include the employment application form and the job-fit test assessment.

Retain talent surveyEmployment application forms are used at the beginning of the recruitment process. They can be used in lieu of or in addition to resumes. Job-fit test assessments are typically conducted closer to the interview process. You can learn more about each below.

1. Employment Application Form

An employment application form asks candidates information about themselves. Like a resume, the employment application form helps you gauge whether a candidate’s skills, experience, and education match the job requirements. And, you can ask survey questions on the form to learn more about the candidate.

A standard employment application form prompts candidates for personal information, schools attended, qualifications, previous positions, references, and more.

To create employment application forms, think about the job responsibilities. Some questions you might ask candidates on this survey include:

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

Using the employment application form can help you compare candidate answers, which will ultimately help you make the right placement for your business. Further, candidates completing the survey can determine whether the job would be a good fit for them, too.

2. Job-fit Test Assessment

Another survey tool that 82% of businesses use during the hiring process is a pre-employment assessment test. One type of test that helps you learn more about a candidate’s personality, job interest, values, and more is the job-fit test.

The job-fit test asks a series of general and tailored questions you can use to determine if candidates would make a good culture fit. Generally, candidates must answer with a number rating for each question.  

The numbers range from Strongly Agree (5) to Strongly Disagree (1). Here’s an example of the rating system:

  • Strongly Agree (5)
  • Agree (4)
  • Neutral/Undecided (3)
  • Disagree (2)
  • Strongly Disagree (1)

Many businesses require job-fit tests in conjunction with traditional interviews. These survey-like questions can help you learn more about whether the candidate will be engaged with their position and act on the job.

When creating your personality assessment templates, consider your ideal candidate for the position. Take a look at some of these statements you can include on the job-fit test:

  • 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

If applicable, you can record answers and results in your recruiting software. By conducting these assessments, you might be able to reduce the turnover that comes from placing a bad fit. And by learning what motivates each candidate, you can shape your engagement strategies to retain talent later down the line.

Surveys to Help Retain Talent

Conducting surveys to retain talent is equally as important as surveying and interviewing potential new hires. When you survey your current workforce, you can learn more about what motivates employees and root out any problems early on.

Two surveys you can conduct are employee engagement and performance surveys. Both surveys give employees a chance to speak up and share their perspective on how work is going.

Engagment and performance surveyEngagement surveys ask employees how engaged they are with their positions and your company. Businesses use them to discover and assess engagement problems and improve operations.

Performance surveys let employees give input into how they think they are doing in their jobs. Many businesses pass out employee performance surveys prior to job performance reviews. And, some businesses combine engagement and performance surveys.

You should distribute engagement and performance surveys at least once per year, preferably at least twice per year. That way, you can get to the source of problems before they become too complicated.

1. Employee Engagement Surveys

If your employees aren’t engaged, chances are they won’t stay at your business forever. And, they could bring down productivity, plummeting your business’s bottom line.

According to one survey, engaged employees are 30% less likely to look for another job. Not only that, but high engagement can also equal higher productivity. Engaged employees can lend to as much as a 22% boost in productivity. The less engaged your employees are, the more your business will be missing out on.

One of the best ways to find out whether employees are engaged is to ask them. From there, you can make educated decisions in your business, implement engagement strategies, and work toward improving engagement across the board.

But first, what exactly is employee engagement? Engaged employees are excited, passionate, and willing to make a difference in their position and in your business. They add value by genuinely caring about the work they do.

Distributing annual or semiannual engagement surveys shows you what employees think of their positions. Additionally, they can provide you with the knowledge you need to make changes that can propel engagement.

Let’s say a survey reveals that an employee is disengaged because they are having trouble balancing their work-home life. After consideration, you could allow the employee to have a flexible schedule to accommodate their personal responsibilities.

Many employee engagement surveys are anonymous. If you distribute anonymous employee engagement surveys, you cannot work with individuals to find out if they are engaged. But, they might be able to help you with overall decision-making in your business.

So, what should be included in an employee engagement survey? Here are some questions you can ask employees; or you can use these questions as a baseline to create 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?
  • Describe your work habits.
  • How would you describe the accuracy of your work?
  • What are you most proud of in your current role?
  • What would you like to learn?

By asking these questions, or similar questions, you can find out how engaged a worker is and get an idea of what would make them more engaged.

2. Employee Performance Surveys

When the time comes to review an employee’s performance, your sole source of information shouldn’t come from what you perceive throughout the workweek. You should also go straight to the source and ask employees how they think they are performing.

Although you might get some employees who exaggerate their performance, you will also get a clearer picture of an employee’s daily responsibilities. And, you can learn where an employee is underperforming.

Distributing employee performance surveys shows you an employee’s performance from their point of view. You might complete your own performance survey addressing each employee’s performance before you take theirs into consideration. That way, your answers aren’t based entirely on what an employee says.

You can use the answers in the employee performance survey in conjunction with your own knowledge of the employee’s performance to offer raises or promotions. And, you can tailor training or performance improvement plans to each employee.

If there are huge discrepancies between how you and the employee think they are doing, you can use their survey responses to address why that is. Maybe the employee is unclear about their responsibilities.

Employee performance surveys might also show you how employees feel about their co-workers’ performance. This can give you insight into how effective teamwork in your company is as well as see who is slacking.

Take a look at the following example questions for guidance:

  • 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?

Generally, you can pass these surveys out before you hold an official performance review. After collecting surveys, you can address employee responses during the performance review.

About the author

Rachel Blakely-Gray is a content writer at the Patriot Software Company, the parent company of Patriot Software, LLC and Top Echelon, LLC. At Patriot, she enjoys providing actionable, growth-oriented content for small business owners and recruiters.

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