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The main types of employee lifecycle surveys

5 min read
It’s important to understand how people are feeling at different parts of their employee lifecycle: when they join you, as they progress, and as they exit. What have you done well and, more importantly, what do you as a company need to improve?

We look at the main types of surveys to consider within the five stages of employee lifecycle:

Candidate reaction surveys

Used in the recruitment stage, these surveys evaluate your company’s process of hiring a new employee. The questions cover a range of topics about their application and recruitment journey. These may include:

  • How did you find out about the job?
  • How professional was your recruiter?
  • How clearly was everything explained?
  • How quickly did we respond to you?
  • How satisfied were you with our recruiting process?

Because competition for top talent is fierce, candidate reaction surveys reveal a huge amount of information about the effectiveness of your reach to prospective candidates with advertising and marketing, company reputation, employer brand and recruitment processes.

Free candidate experience survey template

Onboarding surveys

Onboarding is the stage of getting a new employee up to speed and productive. The ideal onboarding ‘ramp time’ introduces the new hire to their colleagues, explains the role, expectations and available resources, and embeds your company culture. It’s essential to find out what your new hires think using onboarding surveys. Their onboarding experience sets the tone for their whole employment lifecycle. Questions may include:

  • Which department do you work in?
  • Did you receive necessary information before your first day at work?
  • Were you given enough information during your onboarding?
  • Was your onboarding too long, too short or about right?
  • Did you have the right equipment for your first day?

Because the onboarding experience is strongly linked with important employee experience and engagement KPIs (retention, ramp time and advocacy for the firm), onboarding surveys are particularly revealing.

Free employee onboarding survey template

Training feedback surveys

These will not only be part of onboarding as a new hire undergoes training, but also useful events in the employment and retention stages as an employee is trained and develops. Gathering data after every training event during the lifecycle maps the growth of individuals and pinpoints where the organisation could enhance learning and development more efficiently. Questions may include:

  • How relevant was the material to your role?
  • How clearly was the information presented?
  • How engaging was your trainer?
  • How knowledgeable was your trainer?
  • How much do you feel you have learned?

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Performance reviews

These are essential to measure the process of developing employees individually. Once it was the dreaded box-ticking ‘annual appraisal’ tied into pay or promotion reviews. Now, the new model is to review more regularly – pulse surveys every three to six months – and regular ‘performance conversations’ with managers and individuals. Performance review feedback may include specific metrics, such as sales targets, longer-term goals such as repeat business, and learning objectives such as ‘soft skills’ to interact with others better. A good performance review:

  • Gives fair and transparent feedback on current performance
  • Identifies strengths and weaknesses of individuals and teams
  • Checks job suitability
  • Helps employees develop professionally and personally
  • Sets short and long-term goals, and explains them
  • May be related to pay or promotion

360 reviews

Manager-to-employee performance reviews give only part of the picture of how an employee functions within your organisation. 360 reviews include appraisals by a senior, a junior and a peer, as well as a self-assessment. And because they’re anonymous, 360 reviewers are less likely to hold back on saying what they really think. That said, they must be used only as a team development tool, helping people grow – not to rate and reward individual performance. 360 reviews are particularly useful when you want to:

  • Promote a change of culture
  • Enhance team and individual effectiveness
  • Achieve a strategic goal
  • Enhance your HR management systems

When the 360 review focuses on helping team members along a trajectory of personal development that aligns with your organisation’s goals, it’s a powerful tool that can work wonders for a team.

Engagement surveys

These reviews are particularly useful at the retention stage as they indicate how involved and engaged employees feel in their work. When employees are engaged, they’re more motivated, fulfilled, productive – and profitable. Gone is the annual review in favour of more frequent pulse surveys: to improve your employee engagement involves measuring it often, consistently and being SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

Free employee engagement survey template

Exit surveys

Simply waving goodbye to a departing employee is a missed opportunity. it’s important to find out why they’re going. Exit surveys help you find out:

  • Their reasons for leaving
  • Feedback on their role, management, team and organisation
  • Whether they would still promote your organisation positively

The most effective exit interview programs are online to encourage open dialogue and give more honest feedback. They’ll help you understand your attrition rate when you tie them in with your other employee lifecycle surveys such as 360 reviews and employee engagement. And when they’re automated, triggered when an employee hands in their notice, they reduce HR administration time.

Free exit interview survey template

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