Employee Secrets and How to Uncover Them

If you clicked on the article headline with the hopes of learning the deepest, darkest tawdry details of your coworkers personal lives or tips on how to spy on your manager, you’re about to be sadly dissapointed.  Here we’re talking secrets of the far more informational type.

HR professionals across all industries have begun to see the value in metrics when it comes to hiring and keeping the best employees.  Employee metrics that gauge everything from performance to satisfaction levels are mission critical to identifying flaws with and improving your hiring and management programs.  One of the easiest to implement methods for gathering this critical data is through the use of regular employee survey techniques. Here we break down the what, when and how of using HR analytics to discover the secrets to hiring and maintaining the best employee talent.

Typical Survey Topics

Before we talk specifics for gathering, it’s important to understand the type of data you should be gathering and maintaining for your employees.  A few typical topics of survey methods should include:

  • Employee Performance – Regular manager feedback of their direct reports.
  • Supervisor Performance – Feedback from employees on their manager is equally as useful.
  • Employee Satisfaction – Are your employees happy and if not, why?
  • Employee Benefits Satisfaction – A narrowing down of employee happiness focusing on the important area of benefits in the workplace.
  • Employee Exit Survey – A valuable tool for outgoing employees.  Was it something your company did or said or is it indicative of a lack of upward mobility or other major red flags towards retention?
  • Recruitment Satisfaction – How enjoyable and productive was the hiring process overall?  Identifying areas of growth can help attract talent.
  • Company Values – Does your company have a strong set of core values?  Do integrity, compassion or teamwork mean a great deal? Having company value statements and overall principles is only as good as your employees’ ability to recognize them.  Consider asking about what is considered company values as a resource for keeping your corporate message on track.
  • Events – Events can be great ways to bring teams and the entire company together.  Before and after company events, consider asking for feedback on everything from location to format to help develop more effective settings in the future.
  • Facilities – Last but not least, regular surveys can help identify needs for facility improvement.  Common areas left uncleaned or greater needs in the pantry or restrooms may seem like small improvements but can add up big when it comes to employee satisfaction.

Survey Best Practices

So now that we’ve convinced you of the benefits of surveys, let’s talk about a few best practices.  For starters, although that initial rush of information, along with ideas on what else can be collected through the survey process, can be intoxicating.  For those just jumping into the survey game, it’s best to roll out data collection slowly focusing on specific target areas and then spreading out surveys over an extended time period.  Too many surveys at once can make respondents reluctant to answer and can contribute to poor results.

On a similar timing issue, be sure to send out surveys as close as possible to the relevant event.  New hires, for example, should ideally receive their surveys after they’ve accepted an offer to keep the process fresh in their mind.  Below are a few more tips on survey best practices to help get the most out of your Q&A.

  • Keep it brief – The longer the survey the less interaction you’re likely to get.  Keep surveys to 10 questions or less and be sure to let people know the time up front it will take on average to complete the survey.
  • Be succinct – A 10 question limit doesn’t pave the way for paragraph-long, multi-idea survey questions that require essay type answers.  Additionally, each question should be carefully tailored to address one specific action area for best application to your data mining efforts.
  • Be accessible – Last but not least, keep questions accessible to users.  This is most easily done by limiting queries to multiple choice selections with minimal free text fields.  Also, consider allowing users to submit via mobile devices so that employees can answer on the go or in free time between meetings.

Communicating and Analyzing Results

Once you’ve collected your data, it’s time to process the takeaways.  If you’ve crafted your questions correctly (see above) you’ll have distinct action areas that correspond to each of the survey topics.  Compare the answers as a whole and look for surprises or trends. These could be areas where correction or improvement are sorely needed.  Gather these results into positive and negative feedback, along with your action items. Once that’s completed, you’re ready to present.

Survey results can be used to pitch for process changes, facilities improvement or better tools to those in senior management and approval roles within your company.  Be sure to clearly indicate in graphs and presentations how you came to your suggested takeaways. Never present “problems” without a solution in mind as this can make you seem un-proactive and can undermine future surveys.

Lastly, don’t forget to communicate results to your survey participants in the way of follow ups on actions taken from their feedback.  Thank participants for their time and provide a timetable for any roll-outs based on the survey. Once the changes have been implemented, consider sending a follow-up survey after employees have had a chance to integrate with the new systems or software.  

Overall, surveys are a great way to get a handle on what you’re employees are really thinking.  Communication is important to a successful business at all seniority levels. Listen to suggestions and encourage engagement through surveys for a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.

Article Updated from the Original on August 12, 2018