Why Recruiters Should Push for This Employee Survey Question

Over half of companies ask if their employees are satisfied. They're asking the wrong thing.

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Oct 4, 2023

Amidst ever-intensifying workforce challenges, the question isn’t whether your employees are satisfied but whether they’re inspired. This seemingly subtle shift can change the way companies view employee engagement and how recruiters promote their company to potential hires.

Imagine you’re a recruiter selling the idea of your company to a talented candidate. What would be more compelling: saying that most of your employees are satisfied, or revealing that a significant portion come to work every day inspired and eager to give their best effort?

The difference between these two statements isn’t just semantic. It’s monumental.

Beyond Satisfaction

When organizations conduct employee engagement surveys, many fall into the trap of including “satisfaction” as a metric. In fact, a recent Leadership IQ report revealed that over half of companies use at least one or two questions asking whether employees are satisfied.

The concept of being satisfied is vastly different from being engaged. Satisfaction is passive; it’s contentment. But being inspired to give 100% effort is active, dynamic, and passionate. Which one would a potential recruit prefer? Which one is more enticing?

In the competition for talent, recruiters need to leverage every possible advantage. They need to know what truly excites current employees about the company. Why? Because that is their most powerful recruiting tool.

If, for instance, a department is full of inspired individuals, recruiters can highlight this aspect. They can engage these inspired individuals in focus groups or group interviews to glean insights and talking points about the specific motivating factors within the company.

By understanding what drives current employees to give their best, recruiters can craft a more compelling and authentic story for candidates. After all, as research shows, only 39% of companies say their recruiting process effectively represents their employment brand. That’s a staggering gap, and it’s one that needs to be addressed. Relying on real employees experiences can bridge this gap.

The New Gold Standard in Surveys

Recruiters should advocate for employee engagement surveys that ask questions like, “Working here inspires me to give my best effort.” Not only does this go deeper than mere satisfaction but it also provides actionable insights. It identifies departments or teams that have truly inspired employees, potential brand ambassadors who can articulate what makes the company exceptional.

But there’s a caveat: Such questions may initially yield lower scores than the typical “satisfied” ones.

But isn’t the truth more valuable than a facade? If recruiters and executives genuinely aim to improve, they must be willing to face the unfiltered sentiments of their employees. Only by acknowledging these realities can companies begin to build stronger teams and more cohesive cultures.

Every company boasts unique advantages. But many haven’t fortified their pitches with data-driven research. By refocusing engagement surveys and mining them for authentic insights, recruiters can harness the real voices of their employees. Instead of peddling generic benefits, they can paint a picture rooted in reality.

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