Employee Retention – Increasing staff retention through effective feedback processes


With high staff turnover rates costing organisations hundreds of thousands of dollars, it is no wonder that employee retention is imperative to the long-term success of any business.

One of the key components of sustaining superior employee retention rates is establishing regular opportunities to allow employees to express their opinions and ideas freely.

People enjoy being asked for their opinion, and in today’s business environment where retaining top talent is a strategic imperative of any CEO serious about growing their business, it’s vital we become good listeners. With staff attrition costs often cited as one of the major expenses of any business, pity the organisation that ignores the need to collect feedback, inadvertently sending the message that they aren’t interested or don’t care about what their people have to say.

Thankfully in today’s always on, net-connected World, the task of receiving timely and accurate feedback from staff is easier than it has ever been. While there will never be a better substitute for good old fashioned face-to-face feedback, and while other feedback mechanisms such as the phone and organised focus groups will always have their place, a growing number of organisations of all sizes are getting a better understanding of what their staff think and value by conducting regular feedback online.

The key drivers behind the growing shift towards online feedback can be summarised as follows:

  • Lower Costs – studies show that web-based surveys can be up to 80% less expensive than paper-based alternatives once all direct costs (eg. paper, printing, postage) and labour costs (eg. data entry and report generation) are considered.
  • Faster Decision Making – a well constructed web survey delivered by a personalised e-mail invite and sent at an appropriate time of the week, will typically result in 70-80% of responses arriving within 48 hours of the send of the initial invite. Paper survey results can often take months to arrive back from all recipients and weeks again to collate data and generate reports.
  • Greater Accuracy – web-based survey tools report exactly what the respondent typed or what options they selected. Interpreting handwritten responses from employees with ‘doctor’s writing syndrome’ is thankfully not required!
  • Higher Response Rates – whilst response rates vary significantly depending on factors such as survey length, your relationship with the invitee, survey timing, subject matter and use of incentives, well constructed web-based surveys typically yield higher response rates than their paper cousins. Sending automated e-mail reminders to people who haven’t yet started the survey is also a useful way to ensure response rates are maximised.
  • More Flexible Storing, Distribution And Filtering Of Reports – anyone that’s ever run a paper-based survey before knows that the data entry, analysis and reporting of results is typically the most time-intensive stage. A good web-based survey tool dramatically reduces this time by delivering instant charts and graphs, allowing data filtering by region, person name, or date, and offering secure online report distribution to easily share results.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Printing and sending a seven page survey, an invite letter, and reply envelopes to 500+ people isn’t the most environmentally sensitive move when the same result can be achieved online without requiring any of these resources.

So, given that there are a number of compelling reasons why more Australian companies are moving their staff feedback systems online, consider now what type of feedback they are collecting. Below are seven popular HR-related subject areas that lend themselves perfectly to the online survey format and that can help any organisation, either directly or in-directly, to improve their staff retention rates:

  1. Staff Climate / Satisfaction Surveys – typically performed annually or bi-annually, the staff climate survey is perfectly suited to the online format and can result in significant cost and time savings.
  2. New Starter Feedback – used increasingly to solicit feedback from new staff within four weeks of starting, a ‘new starter feedback’ survey typically probes the staff member’s perceptions of the effectiveness of the recruitment and induction process and seeks their ideas for improvement.
  3. Staff Referrals To Assist Hiring Efforts – with a growing number of employers realising the significance of soliciting staff referrals from their current employees, online surveys and automated ‘Career Enquiry’ invitations are becoming popular. A strong, highly skilled workforce built by peer referrals = happier staff = better staff retention.
  4. Remote Exit Interviews – in some circumstances, such as the sudden or unexpected departure of an employee, conducting face-to-face exit interviews can be difficult to arrange. Utilising an online survey format for these situations can often yield good response rates and result in honest and well considered feedback to assist in improving employment practices.
  5. Recruitment Process Feedback – most organisations serious about improving their recruitment efforts will have some sort of post-placement feedback process in place. The sending of a short post-placement survey to a hiring Manager within a week ot two of the appointment being made is an effective use of the online format.
  6. Training Needs Analysis – planning your training budget for the year ahead? Need to know what training opportunities staff most want and value? Then the online forum is perfect for collecting this sort of information from all employees in a timely manner.

Post-training Feedback Or Quizzes – if you’re unsure of how much your staff value your company’s significant investment in external training sessions, then conducting post-training surveys can be a valuable exercise. Alternatively, if you want to test your staff’s knowledge of a certain subject after they have attended an internal training session, then a short post-training quiz is a great idea.

Why not have a look at PeoplePulse today?

If you are interested in a demonstration of full featured online survey software offered by a full service provider, please request a demo.

Alternatively contact PeoplePulse on ph +61 2 9232 0172 to discuss how we may be able to help you.