If people are the greatest asset of companies, then isn’t it time we got to know our assets? According to recruiting experts Hays in Singapore, too many organisations fail to take action based on annual employee survey results, impacting not just recruitment and retention but also profit as a result.

Businesses report effectively on finances, supplies, stocks, structures and other resources, but while companies often ask their staff questions about the business, the feedback isn’t always used effectively.

The business world has known for years that the insights from employee surveys are invaluable and can directly impact on financial results. The link between happy employees, customer satisfaction and profit is strong. So why aren’t more organisations using this information?

The issue is explored in the latest Hays Journal, the recruiter’s bi-annual magazine on the world of human resources and recruitment.

One example of the value of employee surveys is how American department store group Sears benefited from them. The company collected data from employees and with the now-famous Employee-Customer-Profit measurement model turned around its net loss of US$3.9 billion (S$4.8 billion).

Employee surveys are widespread, although frequently they are only noted for their cost rather than their positive output. Many do not provide data that is used to inform business decisions and appear to managers and staff alike as a mere box-ticking exercise, which is counterproductive and disengaging for everyone involved.

Businesses that don’t use employee survey data strategically are missing an opportunity to attract and retain high-performing employees. These surveys get under the skin of how staff attitudes affect retention, customer satisfaction and, ultimately, business performance.

But many managers do not act on the data they collect, or fail to respond, because they see the results as personal criticism. This is where strong leadership is critical.

The survey data must be recognised as a way of identifying problem areas and training needs before they become too serious.

According to Hays, employee surveys can tell a company’s leaders much more than whether employees are happy in their work.

Used effectively, employee surveys can tap into the knowledge, experience and opinions of staff in the same way that customers are surveyed. Both types of survey generate insight that should inform strategic decisions in areas from product development to mergers and acquisitions.

Hays has this advice for employers:

n  Shift from bi-annual or yearly in-depth analysis to more real-time data: Use online technology to derive smaller and more precise insights from data. Short polls to staff in one business unit can generate a useful and relevant snapshot, particularly when unexpected events occur.

n  Do not analyse results in isolation: Look at staff survey results alongside new hire and exit surveys, customer feedback and employee performance.

n  Look behind the basic data: What do the results tell you about why one location performs above or below average? 

n  Most importantly, act on the data collected by identifying problem areas and training needs.


Article by Chris Mead, regional director of Hays in Singapore and Malaysia. Hays are leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people. For further information, visit www.hays.com.sg. To access the Hays Journal, visit www.hays-journal.com