Employer Branding, Recruiting Metrics, Recruiting News

New Recruiting, Engagement, and Branding Survey Results

The HR Daily Advisor research team conducted the 2016 Talent Matters: Recruiting, Engagement, and Branding Survey in March 2016. Recruiting, engagement, and employment branding are the bread and butter of talent management. We asked participants everything from their perceptions on engagement and branding to what steps they take to engage their employees to what they think works when it comes to recruiting.

Highlights of the 2016 Talent Matters: Recruiting, Engagement, and Branding Survey:

  • The majority of survey respondents (78.9%) answered that their company tracks employee turnover and retention.
  • Just under three-quarters of survey respondents (73.5%) answered that their company does not have a formal career-planning program.
  • Most of the survey takers (78.6%) answered that their company does not have an employment brand program.
  • The survey shows that employee potential for advancement is most often assessed with performance reviews (84.6%) but almost as often by managers’ judgment (76.9%).
  • The survey shows that over one-half (51.3%) of those polled felt their internal branding has been “somewhat effective” at improving retention. Only 19.7% of those polled felt it had been “very effective.”
  • Those polled answered that the goal of their employment branding program was to “boost morale of employees” and to “improve retention of all employees” equally (73.7%).

Who Responded?

A total of 535 participants responded to the 2016 Talent Matters: Recruiting, Engagement, and Branding Survey, representing a diverse array of industries, business types, organizational sizes, and locations.

Tracking Employee Retention and Turnover

The majority of survey respondents (78.9%) answered that they do track employee retention and turnover.


Employee Turnover and Retention Factors

The most common factor (85.6%) that survey respondents indicated they use to track employee retention and turnover was “reason for termination/resignation.” The next most common responses, by approximately 20 points, were “type of position (full-time, part-time, etc.)” (65.6%) and “level of position (e.g., top management, middle management) (62.9%).

How do You Retain Employees? What Works?

This question aimed to compare the retention strategies of organizations to the perceived effectiveness of those strategies. The most extreme discrepancies included:

  • Of those polled, 97.4% answered that their organization uses a “safe, healthy work environment” to retain employees. Only 34.1% answered that this was effective for retaining employees. Discrepancy: 63.2%.
  • Of surveyed respondents, 96.4% indicated their organization uses “appropriate and fair discipline for rule breakers,” but only 30.2% of survey respondents said that this was most effective for retaining employees. Discrepancy: 66.2%.
  • And, 91.9% of survey takers answered that their organizations make use of aligning jobs with interests to retain employees, but only 35.8% answered that this was effective. Discrepancy: 56.1%

What were the smallest discrepancies? They were “pay at or above market rate” (Discrepancy: 18.7%) and “work/life balance through telecommuting or flextime” (19.2%).

Finally, the approaches and methods for retaining employees considered most effective by survey takers included “pay at or above market price” (69.8%), “adequate benefits (medical, dental, vision)” (65.0%), and “work/life balance through telecommuting or flextime” (64.8%).

Additional Retention Strategies

Survey takers were asked if they had undertaken any particularly successful retention actions or activities that they wanted to share. Approximately 1 dozen or so, out of 74 respondents, answered variations of “No.” Here are some of the other responses:

  • “Recognition of anniversaries (employment) and birthdays.”
  • “We implemented a Milestone Recognition program to reward employees based on their tenure, which appears to have been very well received. We have long tenured employees who felt only new employees were recognized.”
  • “Peer-to-peer awards ($5 gift cards) for demonstrating company core values.”
  • “We’ve formed a ‘Best Workplaces’ committee of employee volunteers to gain insight on how to make additional enhancements to the work environment to increase employee satisfaction.”
  • “Monthly employee engagement activities, such as festival celebrations.”
  • “Partnership with Employee Relations regarding exit interview information for noting trends.”
  • “[We] allow lateral transfer to different position/department if employee would like to check it out (and back if the grass wasn’t greener!)”
  • “One-on-one dialogue w[ith] HR who has a personal interaction w[ith] each employee (EE) and who individually monitors their personal and professional goals. The open dialogue typically helps the EE to view the company perspective and perhaps offers the EE an opportunity to discuss ways that will retain the EE.”
  • “Empowerment and decision making, opportunities to run meetings with executives.”
  • “Retention bonuses.”
  • “Implemented employee engagement and satisfaction survey and employee engagement team to address employee concerns and recommend solutions.”
  • “Annual on-site managerial professional development classes focused on interpersonal skills, communication, coaching and mentoring, etc.”
  • “Development of a programmed onboarding process that follows employee from job offer through first 6 months.”

Views on Employee Engagement

The survey shows that, generally speaking, survey respondents have a positive outlook when it comes to employee engagement. Nearly as many respondents answered, “It’s key to our success moving forward” (37.3%) as those who answered, “It’s important” (38.0%), and 11.3% answered, “It’s helpful.” Only 11.0% indicated, “It’s a buzzword, nothing more,” and even fewer (2.5%) indicated, “It’s not particularly important or helpful.”


Encouraging Employees’ Pride in Their Organization

The primary step that organizations have taken to make their employees feel more pride in their organization is “engaging in charitable acts” (56.2%). “More transparency in financial reporting” and “becoming an employer of choice in your area or industry” were also popular, scoring 38.2% and 41.9%, respectively. Less popular steps included “going green” (24.7%) and “sponsoring ‘daughters and sons at work day’ activities that reflect your business model” (8.0%). Approximately 20.0% of survey respondents answered “other,” and here are some of those answers:

“Dogs at work day.”

“Recognition ‘shout-outs.’”

“Appreciation events for all staff and their families.”

“The agency as a whole has not really done anything. Individually, our site has gotten more active in our community and taken steps to get our employees involved, as well.”

“Stable and respectful environment.”

“Treating everyone as family.”

“Constant communication about the work we do and the outcomes to the communities we serve.”


Encouraging Employee Pride in Their Jobs

When asked what steps survey participants’ organizations have taken to make employees feel more pride in their jobs, the number one response (60.5%) was “provided training to help employees keep up and move ahead.” Other responses of note were “clarified the link between their jobs and the business strategy” (51.5%), “shown pathways for future development” (42.0%), and “made sure all supervisors are trained in leadership and employee motivation” (40.3%). Apparently, providing career counseling wasn’t much of a priority; only 15.3% of survey respondents indicated that as an answer.


What Perks Do You Offer?

The study shows that the top four perks offered by survey takers’ organizations are “paid sick leave” (71.8%), “pleasant workspaces” (53.6%), “fun social activities” (49.6%), and “bonuses” (49.1%). Take a look at the table below to see how other perks ranked.

Challenges for Improving Engagement

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number one challenge (70.0%) that survey respondents indicated they encountered while trying to improve engagement was “limited budget.” Other popular challenges included “not enough time for activities” (47.4%), “scheduling logistics” (36.9%), and “lack of management support” (36.7%).


Activities for Improving Retention and Engagement

The study shows that survey takers offered social activities in an attempt to improve retention and engagement more than any other activity (72.2%). The other two activities most often used for this purpose were “improvements to the work environment” (55.9%) and “charitable activities” (49.3%).


Successful Engagement Initiatives

Survey respondents were asked if they had engaged in any other engagement initiatives, here are some of their responses:

  • “Recognition at all agency events; highlighting someone doing something well or going above and beyond what is expected”
  • “On-site gym, free fruit daily, free coffee.”
  • “Monthly communication meetings for all employees to receive information on company performance and talk to senior leaders.”
  • “Flextime.”
  • “Company picnic, holiday parties, baby showers.”
  • “Raffles for out-of-town trips, remodeling, fun team Olympics, random gift card giveaway for all employees.”
  • “We celebrate each employee’s birthday. Whenever someone new starts, the entire firm goes out to lunch to welcome them.”
  • “Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative whereby the entire organization coalesce around a central theme involving safety in schools.”
  • “Organizing potluck luncheons with sports or an episode of ‘The Office’ playing on a big screen.”
  • “Annual company party, monthly birthday lunches. Most effective is the owner’s verbal encouragement and appreciation the employees regularly.”
  • “We have an employee appreciation committee that organizes pot lucks, ice cream socials, and invites community for kids trick or treating events.”

Formal Career-Planning Programs

Nearly three-quarters of survey takers (73.5%) answered that their organization does not have a formal career-planning program.


Career-Planning Programs by Group

Survey respondents were overwhelmingly more likely to answer that all employees were covered by their career-planning programs (72.1%) than any specific employee group. Every other response was below 20.0%.


Career-Planning Meetings

For those whose organizations do offer formal career plans, meetings were most commonly held “as needed” (34.9%). “Annually” and “quarterly” scored equally at 19.8%. Only 5.7% answered “never.”


Filling Jobs Internally

The survey suggests that supervisory and managerial positions are most likely to be filled internally—58.2% and 50.0%, respectively. Additionally, nearly all of the positions were more likely to be filled internally than not.


Assessing Employee Potential for Advancement

According to survey respondents, “performance review results” was the most common method for assessing employee potential (84.6%), and “managers’ judgement” was a close second (76.9%).


Importance of Identifying HiPos

When asked how important identifying high-potential employees (HiPos) is to their organization, 81.3% of respondents answered that it was important. Among those responses, 19.2% answered “important,” 34.4% answered “very important,” and 27.7% answered “extremely important.”


HiPos and Special Treatment

Survey takers were asked if their organization offered any special treatment or experiences to their HiPos. The primary response (59.2%) was “new responsibilities or challenges,” followed by “developmental assignments” (41.4%). All of the other answers received less than 30% of the responses.

Why Do HiPos Leave?

The top reasons given by survey respondents as to why their HiPos leave their organizations were “limited opportunity for upward mobility or new responsibilities” (58.5%) and “inadequate compensation” (51.0%). “Bad boss/management style” scored 40.1%. Approximately 10% of survey takers answered “other,” and here are some of those responses:

  • “Went to law school, became an attorney.”
  • “Leaving for long-term assignments abroad or for further research and studies.”
  • “Military spouse reassigned.”
  • “A better opportunity we couldn’t compete with. (Had a higher ceiling of earnings potential.)”
  • “Early retirement from equity payout.”
  • “Workload too large—not enough support staff.”


Tomorrow we’ll look at the rest of the survey.