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Agency — March 23, 2021

The role of employee surveys in the employer branding process

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Iva Majstorović Employer Branding Director

If you want to know who you are as an employer, you need to ask those with first-hand experience — the company employees.

Finding and retaining top talent is a priority for modern companies, so it’s no wonder that employer branding became quite the buzzword in recent years. 

Indeed, the role of employer branding in recruitment can be huge and widely beneficial, but only when done correctly. It’s not just some HR tool that you can use when it’s time to write a job ad, but a continuing effort of fully understanding who you are as an employer and getting that message across to potential and existing employees.

Start with research 

However, in order to get to the stage of defining your company’s employer brand, you have to collect some key insights that will help you make an unbiased, informed decision. That is why you start your employment branding process with an initial research phase. When working with clients on their employment branding, we begin with a few workshops with the CEO, team leaders, HR, and internal communications departments, as well as collecting existing data from exit interviews, prior employee satisfaction surveys, or similar employee feedback. However, one key step of the research phase is getting feedback from your current employees by conducting a new and detailed employee survey.

How to conduct an employee survey

So, you decided to get all the answers needed for forming an employer branding strategy. The most important thing is that you ask the right questions on the right topics, which is where the questionnaire comes into play. Think of it this way: before you start cooking, you need to have the necessary utensils, pots, pans, etc. In this case, the questionnaire is the utensil — the instrument used to get all the answers you need. 

You may have conducted similar surveys in the past as sort of a pulse check of the feelings and opinions of your employees. However, in the research phase, think of having a bigger, all-encompassing, detailed survey that truly gets to the core of what makes your employees satisfied, dissatisfied, motivated, angry, etc. Here at Degordian, we use a questionnaire created by our HR team called Stetoskop. Like the stethoscope, it is also a tool designed for listening to the heart — in this case, the heart of our agency is the team.

The main focus of the questionnaire is employee engagement, a very current topic in the field of employee satisfaction surveying, which is basically the will and desire of the employee to invest more/less than what’s expected of him/her. The specific aspects measured by the Stetoskop questionnaire are the following:

  • Communication
  • Relationship with department leader
  • Relationship with management
  • Compensation
  • Career growth
  • Cooperation
  • Participation in decision making
  • Workload and task transparency
  • Work-life balance
  • Flexibility and innovation

The advantage of Stetoskop was that the questions were tailor-made by an HR specialist, so now when we conduct the survey for our clients and their own employment branding, we can use Stetoskop as it is or adjusts the questionnaire according to the needs of the client and the specifics of the company.

What’s the benefit of conducting such a survey

We believe that insights used for building outside communication need to come from the internal perception of those in the company. In the end, people always trust those on the inside. Think of seeing a job ad that sounds interesting to you at a company your friend’s aunt works at. What do you do before applying? Ask the friend for the aunt’s number, of course. Or even if you don’t know anyone working there, you might check various websites with anonymous reviews of the company. 

If you want that online review of your company to align with how you present yourself to the outside world, the first step is to get that information from your employees. Find out what’s bad and work on it, find out what’s great and tell it to the world. Every company has a different work culture. Finding out what makes yours special makes it easier to figure out what your message is, and how you should target those who will truly fit the existing team. Meaning, it makes it easier to get to your employer branding strategy. 

Besides that, you will also get the feedback needed to make an action plan for creating a better working environment for existing employees. The goals of employer branding are both attracting talent and retaining talent, and working on positive changes for the existing team will minimise flux. In the end, it will create happy and satisfied employees, who are the best ambassador of any company.

Ok, but we don’t need it

As you can see from the various aspects measured by Stetoskop, such a survey gets you a bunch of data on a lot of different topics. But the most valuable thing is that it all comes directly from the employees — not the media, not from consultants or higher-ups. 

Sometimes, company leaders, CEOs, and managers think that their sole input is enough to form an employer branding strategy, but it simply isn’t. Those on top have valuable knowledge, but they can’t know everything about every single role in the company, and even if they do, their vision of the company might not correspond to reality. Therefore: don’t be afraid of the opinions of your employees. They are more valuable than you can imagine.

Also, don’t skip surveying employees because you don’t have time and need to get to other steps. Working on defining the employer brand of a company without asking the people that work there what they think of their work environment is kind of like advertising a hotel without knowing what it looks like, who vacations there, and what the rooms are like. 

Getting to know who you are

In the end, all the information from the survey will tell you who you are as an employer and what you can become. After setting up a strategy, you’ll be able to implement that message in every single employer branding campaign, every single job ad, or company video. If you’re ready to get into that employer branding adventure or you simply want to know more about it, don’t hesitate to contact us!