(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Readex Research, which provides expert survey services to help businesses understand their internal and external customers. Their services include employee experience surveys. Enjoy the post!)
According to the most recent data from Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the average time to fill is 36 days. For many organizations, this is a long time. So, when new hires arrive, the goal is to get them productive as soon as possible. And unfortunately, in this effort to do so, they might not take as much time as they should to ensure that new hires get all the attention they need.
That’s why many organizations use an onboarding pulse or check-in. They can reach out to a new hire and take a quick pulse on how things are going. The question becomes, once the employee has responded, what happens with the information?
Stay Focused on New Hires with Action-Alert Notifications
The downside of surveys is that companies often send out too many and don’t have the time or bandwidth to analyze the data and act. Then by the time they do follow-up with a new hire, it’s too late. For surveys to be effective, there needs to be a way to get an immediate notification or alert when something appears to be amiss.
Recently, we talked about Readex’s pulse/check-in product. The product has a terrific feature called Action-Alert notifications that provides the warning we’re looking for. Here’s how it works:
When organizations conduct pulse/check surveys, they also decide what “thresholds” in the survey questionnaire will prompt an Action-Alert notification. For example, here are two common pulse/check-in survey questions.
Q1: The nature of my job is about what I thought it would be. A: Yes/No/Unsure
Q2: If a friend or acquaintance were looking for a job, how likely would you be to recommend they apply for a position with us? (Scale with 0=definitely will not, 10=definitely will.)
Organizations might decide that for Q1 the threshold may be at answers no or unsure and for Q2 ratings of 7 or below. Managers can view all results in real-time (i.e. phone, tablet, or PC) and get “pinged with an email” when a survey(s) indicate a problem (based on the pre-determined thresholds/answers/rating scores are set in the platform.)
Once a manager receives the notification, they can review the actual surveys and decide the most appropriate way to follow up or create an intervention. Just to make sure we’re on the same page, I’m defining intervention here as a process companies use to reconnect with employees and address concerns. Think of it as getting the employee-employer relationship back on track.
Of course, you might be thinking, how do I follow-up with employees when surveys are anonymous? Readex CEO Jack Semler offered three suggestions for addressing the issue:
- DON’T say the survey is confidential. In any employee survey where you’d like to be able to follow up to issues that are identified from a survey respondent, indicate in the invitation (or somewhere) that the survey is not confidential. And if the survey is confidential, it’s best to make a notation indicating that and that results will be in aggregate.
- DO ask for contact information. Ask employees to provide their contact information (phone or email) and if they want to receive follow-up. Organizations could include some verbiage like, “We really want to do the best we can at attracting and keeping employees. Please share with us any thoughts you have on what we can do better. If you wish to be contacted to discuss this or any other matters, please provide your phone number or email so we may connect with you.”
- DO make a commitment to responding in a timely fashion. From the employee’s perspective, there’s nothing worse than completing a survey where you ask for help, then no one responds.
CASE STUDY: How Action-Alert Notifications Led to Greater Engagement
Semler also shared with me the story of a non-profit trade association with roughly 1,500+ members that were using the Readex Onboarding Check platform to recruit and retain members.
The association had a small staff and were looking for ways to improve member communications, with a special emphasis on a new member’s first 90 days. Doesn’t this sound so familiar to the new hire experience? First impressions, whether they’re from customers or employees, are important and remembered whether they are good or bad.
The association sends a five-question survey that provides new members the opportunity to share their initial thoughts, impressions, and opinions about their member experience right from the start. The survey questions cover the recruiting experience, their overall membership experience, whether they’ll return when renewal time arrives, and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question indicating if they’d refer and recommend others to join. The survey ends with an opportunity for members to “write-in” any positive or negative experiences they would like to share.
The use of the Onboarding Check platform was a win for everyone involved. New members learned from the beginning of their membership experience that the association staff are listening and care about the investment they have made. Members are pleasantly surprised when they receive a follow-up phone call to address any concerns or problems.
Communications have improved inside the association because of the shared knowledge that new members have provided about the recruiting experience. And, based on membership feedback, the association was able to revamp their membership recruiting protocols which improved the new member experience.
Use Surveys to Create Conversations
The key to getting new hires engaged is giving them the tools and being there to support them. One of those tools is a survey. Onboarding Check-ins are meant to solicit feedback and open the door to a conversation.
While it would be great to prevent incidents from occurring, the reality is that sometimes stuff happens. The goal is to take care of challenges before they become unmanageable. That shows employees that the company cares.
P.S. If your organization is looking into onboarding surveys as a way to get employee feedback, Readex has created a series of white papers to help with your employee engagement survey design and implementation. You might want to bookmark these links for future reference:
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the ATD International Conference in San Diego, CA21