We’ve all (presumably) either taken or administered an employee engagement survey at least once in our lives. And with good reason. According to Gallup, employee engagement is a huge driving force behind organizational performance and productivity (think more than $300 billion in lost productivity within the U.S. workforce due to disengaged employees). However, while the ultimate goal of the employee survey is to gain insight that can lead to positive change within the organization, responses are focused solely on internal issues from the perspective of employees who may or may not have experienced alternate processes, structure, etc…
Of course, this is not an argument to dismiss the employee engagement survey; it’s a suggestion that there may be additional opinions and useful feedback you can gain by talking to a specific group of your people – the ones who have left your company, only to return months or years later. It’s these employees who have experienced your company culture and processes, as well as those of a competitor (or at the very least, a similar company that attracts the people you employ), and then made a conscious decision to come back to you, so why not use an employee survey to find out why?
3 Employee Survey Insights to Boost Your Competitive Edge
Reading this, you might be thinking, “Wait, it’s not responsible/ethical to ask our employees to share trade secrets from their previous company.” And that’s not what we’re suggesting. Here are a few key insights you can gain from returning employees without prying:
1. What do you have that the competition doesn’t? You’ve obviously got something that made your former (and now current, again) employees realize you were the one for them. What did they miss about your company? Was it the culture, the leadership, the flexible schedule? Use these employee survey responses to your advantage and focus on them in your employer brand messaging, recruitment marketing collateral and overall development.
2. Where did the competition’s initial attraction fall short? They were enticing enough to draw your employees away from you, but it didn’t stick. What happened? Did they really make promises they couldn’t keep? Or were they simply wordsmith wizards that crafted incredible job ads, meant to blur the realities of the company and position itself? Find out, and learn from their mistakes when entering into your own recruitment marketing campaigns.
3. What does the competition have that you don’t? So you’ve won them back, but who’s to say they won’t depart again in a few months when something that looks better comes along? Regardless of the letdowns you might have learned from returning employee survey question #2, there’s likely something that the competitor company has that you don’t. And if you don’t find out what it is and address it, there’s a chance your returning employees will still be searching for a company that “has it all.”
These are just a few suggestions for using employee survey research to get a leg up on the competition. What other questions might you ask returning employees that could benefit your current strategies?
Image: David Goehring/Flickr