Posted on: December 29th, 2021 by
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Insightful surveys are being conducted about the causes of job changes and what companies can do to retain high performers.  One such survey was conducted by Explorance of U.S. full and part-time employees.  They are looking at the undercurrent drivers behind the surge of employee departures.


The usual causes of turnover are low pay, a hostile work place, Covid-related issues, a lack of training, no career opportunities, and overbearing bosses.  Beneath it all is a lack of knowledge on the part of management about the core issues causing discontent.  The usual surveys that ask yes or no or multiple-choice questions do not show the root causes.  As a result, feedback comes in the form of percentages as to how many “voted” one way or another.  What the feedback does not address is the “why”.


There are two reasons why the feedback is not as helpful as it can be.  There needs to be open question like, “What do you see as impediments to your becoming a better performer?”.  The Explorance survey turned up three findings:

  1. Employees want to provide feedback. 78% said they want to be surveyed. 50% said they received no surveys from employers in the past year, when a great deal of disruption has occurred due to the pandemic.
  2. 45% of respondents and 40% of managers don’t believe their feedback leads to meaningful change. This leads to 41% of respondents and 53% of Millennials are looking for a new job.
  3. Employers lack the tools to analyze the data to drive change. 98% of respondents say they always, usually, or sometimes provide responses to open-ended questions.


Responses to open-ended questions have the greatest potential to uncover key insights about employee concerns.  It can also demonstrate that management is listening and taking action.


An example:  As a consultant to a manufacturing company of a major brand, our strategy was to get open-ended questions screened immediately.  Then identify one issue that can be corrected in a visible way.  Later, provide the feedback on all the questions with action steps.


One issue that surfaced was a women’s bathroom with broken mirrors, toilets that didn’t work, a lack of paper towels, and unusable sinks.  Two days after the survey, the President of the company walked through the manufacturing plant (which caused a stir among the employees), went directly to the lady’s bathroom, went in (after clearing the deck), spent 5 minutes (which increased the employee stir), came out and said he was very upset and unaware of these conditions and thanked the employees for bringing this issue to his attention.  15 minutes later a crew was sent in to fix everything.


The ripple effect among employees was palpable.  A week later feedback sessions were held with an open Q&A session.  Issues were discussed along with pre-defined action plans. This is just one instance where management carefully crafted a strategy to respond to a survey before the survey was even given.  Smart management will win every time.


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