What employees consider a "good place to work" is shifting. Where workers once viewed employers as "giving" them a job, today's workforce recognizes employment as a symbiotic relationship. Sure, employers pay employees for their time, but companies can't survive without employees - a lesson that's been driven home by the Great Resignation. In today's hot job market, businesses can't afford to ignore employee input about workplace culture and operations.
You have to figure out what needs improvement before it's too late, but if you're waiting until exit interviews to ask the tough questions, you're losing time, money, and talent.
A Microsoft survey found that more than 40% of all employees were thinking about leaving their jobs at the beginning of 2021. Over the course of that year, 47.8 million workers quit. Gartner estimates that organizations with a turnover rate of 20% before the pandemic could face a turnover rate as high as 24% in 2022 and in the years to come.
Employer branding topics you can't ignore
Everyone wants to get paid, but a giant paycheck won't change how employees feel about their day-to-day experience at work. According to Glassdoor research, the top drivers that impact employees' likelihood to recommend are:
- Company communication with the public
- Employee engagement
- Senior leadership
- Clear, transparent communication to employees
Asking for feedback on these areas can give you actionable information to help you improve your employees' experience and your company's reputation.
The right questions, the right way
The most useful survey questions use a rating scale and multiple choice or open-ended responses. Instead of asking if employees approve or disapprove of senior leadership, a rating scale question might ask, "On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate senior leadership?" A question about long-term prospects within the company might be framed as, "How long do you see yourself staying with our company?" Multiple choice responses could include ranges like less than a year, 1-2 years, 3-5 years, more than 5 years, and more than 10 years.
At a minimum, a variation of these 21 questions should be included in your survey. Where possible, include a rating scale, multiple choice options, or an open field for response to measure satisfaction across different areas.
- How would you rate senior leadership?
- How good is your manager at recognizing your contributions at work?
- How comfortable do you feel providing upward feedback?
- Does your manager set clear goals?
Company communication and brand perception
- How transparent is management in communicating company performance?
- How would you rate the company's communication with employees?
- How would you rate the company's communication with clients/the public?
Alignment to the company mission
- Are you proud to work for this company?
- What do you believe is this company's primary purpose?
- If you were to quit tomorrow, what would be your reason for leaving?
- Name three (or more) processes we could improve.
- Name three (or more) processes we do well.
Overall company culture
- Describe our company culture in one word.
- How would you rate your work-life balance?
- Does your manager provide the support you need to advance your career?
- Does your manager provide the resources you need to perform your job well?
- How connected do you feel to your co-workers?
- How challenging is your work?
- How satisfying is your work?
Likelihood of recommending the company, staying or leaving
- How likely are you to refer a friend to work here?
- How long do you see yourself staying with this company?
Remember to be mindful of your employees' time when administering your survey. Answering these questions should be part of their workload - not additional work. Try to limit surveys to 50 questions or fewer.
After you've compiled the results, share the findings with your team, as well as an action plan on how you're planning to use their feedback to demonstrate that you're listening and responding. Always explain when you implement new policies based on employee feedback.
It's time to step up your employer branding
It's easy to point to Covid-19 as the driving force behind resignations, but workers were leaving in droves even before the pandemic swept the globe - and continue to do so. In August 2022, Axios reported that 60% of workers globally said they were emotionally detached or not engaged at work, and 19% said they were miserable or actively disengaged.
Bosses are the top indicator of job satisfaction, so collecting detailed feedback about management is one of the most important steps in improving employer branding. The average cost of replacing an employee is 1.5-2x the employee's annual salary, which means investments in fixing company culture actually save money in the long run.
Employees aren't just looking for blockbuster perks like massive salaries and unlimited PTO. They want a collaborative environment, meaningful leadership, and to feel like they add value.
If you're ready to get serious about employer branding, check out our Employer Branding Guide.