Conducting Employee Retention Surveys [+ Example Questions]

magnet-employee retention concept

Happy employees stay at their company – it's that simple! 

When employees feel valued by their organization, they're also far more likely to be productive and enthusiastic about their work. Thankfully, this leads to healthy employee retention within a company. 

To ensure staff members will continue to stay within an organization, employee retention surveys are the way to go.

In this post, we'll review the definition of these surveys, their benefits, how they're conducted, and common questions included. 

What is an Employee Retention Survey?

An employee retention survey is a market research tool that gathers opinions from employees on why they stay at a company. 

More importantly, these employee surveys measure different areas of the staff experience.

The goal is to gather insight in these areas to understand what's making employees stay loyal to a business. 

As you can probably tell, increasing employee retention rates has many factors that play into it. 

These surveys aim to seamlessly cover all of these factors, from questions about overall job satisfaction to career development opportunities and everything in between. 

Ideally, the point of these surveys is to understand what contributes to employee turnover rates.

With the current rate of employee turnover being roughly 47%, these retention surveys are a key tool companies should be using to hang onto staff. 

Benefits of Conducting Employee Retention Surveys

Gathering honest employee feedback, and retention surveys are necessary for management teams to become proactive at addressing current pain points. 

Retention surveys also do a great job of allowing management to understand the nuances of employee needs and preferences. As a result, they will become more adept at handling employee outreach strategies. 

Below are the main benefits of conducting employee retention surveys:

Insight into Employee Sentiment

Studies have shown that 87% of human resources leaders are placing their employee retention attempts as a #1 priority.

One of the most impactful ways to achieve this goal is understanding your current employee sentiment with surveys.

employee retention statistic

Retention surveys will quickly deliver accurate feedback concerning employee sentiment. Since so many factors contribute to how employees feel about their jobs, these surveys aim to target each one. 

This means uncovering their opinions on the work environment and their company as a whole.

Using this insight, employers can understand what potential factors for employee attrition are. 

Identifying Areas of Improvement

A major benefit of any online survey

They reveal how businesses can improve upon current systems that just aren't working. 

In the case of employee retention surveys, this is especially important. Employee pain points depend on the company at hand. 

For example, common employee woes are: 

  • Negative workplace culture
  • Lack of career development opportunities
  • Poor compensation 

Of course, these are just a few examples out of many but are common issues we have seen when conduct employee surveys for various types of organizations. 

Predictive Analytics

Employee retention surveys also aid in gathering predictive analytics.

By continuously tracking employee satisfaction about retention, management will begin to see trends and indicators for staff turnover.

And this information, proactive measures can be taken to ensure low turnover rates. Essentially, this is nipping employee attrition in the bud. 

Enhancing Employee Engagement 

Engaging employees in the survey process shows them that their company values their opinions and feedback.

Not only does this boost morale amongst employees, but it also opens the door to healthy communication between them and management teams.

Additionally, this can lead to increased engagement levels that lead to high productivity and job satisfaction. 

Cost Savings

Employee turnover not only hurts a business in terms of staffing, but it's also costly. Why?

High rates of turnover affect recruitment, and training and lead to lost productivity - all of which cost a business money.

Since employee retention surveys identify key factors related to turnover, management can begin to make changes. This not only leads to cost savings but a stable workforce, too. 

Retention Strategy Development

Believe it or not, 63% of leadership teams in the US think it’s more difficult to keep employees than hire them. 

employee retention vs hiring stat

Now that management teams have access to this important employee data, they can begin creating retention strategies.

Ultimately, the goal of retention surveys is to develop a successful plan to keep employees happy within a company.

As for what these strategies actually are, that depends on the survey results.

Companies may find offering more career growth opportunities is the way to go, while enhancing the work-life balance may be the better option. 

Steps to Conducting Employee Retention Surveys 

Conducting employee retention surveys follows a standard process as any online survey. Below, we'll briefly cover the key steps involved. 

online survey process

1. Contact Third-Party Vendor

Getting in touch with a third-party employee survey company is the first step to a successful survey. At Drive Research, we respond quickly to inquiries and set up a brief meeting to learn the goals of a potential client. 

2. Proposal

After the initial meeting, the market research team will create a proposal for the client. This includes the basic rundown of how the project will go from start to finish. 

3. Kickoff Meeting & Work Plan

The kickoff meeting dives deep into the specific needs of the client post-proposal.

Common topics addressed during this time include questions, concerns, and the main goals of the project. After, the work plan will be created.

This document simply highlights important steps like tasks, deliverables, and dates. 

4. Survey Draft

The most important aspect of this entire project, the survey draft will include questions specific to what the client needs regarding employee retention.

When writing the survey, the research team considers important points like order, flow, wording, bias, and so on. 

5. Exchange of Employee Database

Typically delivered in an Excel file or CSV, the employee database is given to the research team.

If there are additional fields available in the database, like DOB, date of hire, department, and so on, these can be included for more detailed survey data. 

6. Survey Programming

The questions are now transferred into an online survey platform. The research team will make sure the layout is compatible across devices like laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. 

7. Pre-Notice

It's a good idea for the client to send a pre-notice email to all employees.

Doing this prepares the employees for when they can expect the survey invite, why they should respond, and so on. 

8. Testing

The employee retention survey is tested to ensure things are running smoothly before send-off. This includes factors like grammar checks, comprehension, skip patterns, and so on. 

9. Invites and reminders

After testing, the survey is ready to be sent out.

Once the email invite to take the employee retention survey has been sent out, there are usually one to two reminders sent out to prompt non-responders. 

During this time, you will have access to a live client portal that shows up-to-the-second results.

online survey portal

10. Analysis, Reporting, & Debrief

The research team will begin analyzing the survey results in detail. 

By carefully reviewing the data, researchers will be able to create solid feedback and recommendations for the client. After the survey data has been reviewed, it's packaged in a file and given to the client. 

The report contains a detailed rundown of what was found from the survey data. With this, the client will be able to make the necessary changes based on accurate feedback. 

Drive Research always holds a debrief meeting with the client to review survey results with your dedicated project team.

This is great for wrapping up, as it's a chance for any final questions or concerns to be addressed. 

How to Use Employee Retention Survey Results

So, how can companies use employee surveys to ensure retention?

Let's take this example:

A company runs an employee retention survey and finds that staff is unhappy with the lack of career growth opportunities. 

  • Data Analysis: The company's HR department reviews the survey data to identify key trends related to the respondents' dissatisfaction with career advancement opportunities. By reviewing these trends, it becomes clear that staff are feeling stagnant and that there's a lack of growth opportunities.

  • Identifying Root Causes: The HR team conducts focus groups with employees to dig deeper into their responses. A form of qualitative research, focus groups will provide more detailed responses as to why employees are feeling dissatisfied with the amount of career advancement opportunities. By conducting these focus groups, it's revealed that there is a lack of clear career paths, inadequate support for skill development, and limited internal promotion opportunities. 

Developing Actionable Strategies:

  1. Clear Career Pathways: The HR team collaborates with department heads to create clear career pathways for a variety of roles within the organization. Outlining the skills and experience required for advancement along with offering employees career guidance are two strategies that come from this. 

  2. Skill Development Programs: Skill development programs are put in place to promote career growth. This includes training workshops, online courses, and mentorship programs. 

  3. Internal Promotion Policies: HR then revises internal policies to ensure transparency throughout the promotion process. Criteria are established for internal job postings, prompting managers to consider internal employees for open positions. Additionally, support options are provided for employees who want to advance within the company.

Communication and Implementation:

  1. The HR team communicates the survey data along with a proposed action plan to staff members. This is done via company-wide meetings, email updates, and/or intranet announcements. 

  2. HR collaborates with managers to ensure the strategies are implemented effectively. Sometimes, this can look like offering training sessions for managers, supporting career development, tracking progress, and continuing to address challenges that come up. 

Monitoring and Evaluation: 

  • HR continues to keep an eye on employee satisfaction levels by running regular surveys and feedback sessions to measure the impact of current strategies. 

  • The biggest metrics they keep an eye on include employee turnover rates, internal promotion rates, and employee engagement scores.

  • The company has begun to address issues with employee retention purely from the related survey, providing much-needed insight. As a result, the company shows its dedication to employee development and retention--boosting levels of employee retention. 

Example Employee Retention Survey Questions

As we've covered, survey questions can make or break the data. Questions should be tailored to the needs of the client and how they want to tackle employee retention woes. 

Below are some common employee retention survey questions you may see...

  1. Do you feel excited about the work you do? 
  2. How happy are you at work? 
  3. How can we help make your experience at [Company] more engaging? 
  4. Do you find your work engaging?
  5. What factors make you want to stay in your current position?
  6. Do you find your contributions are recognized at work? 
  7. Do you feel there are adequate professional development opportunities at work?
  8. Do you think your opinions count at work?
  9. Does your job give you the flexibility to meet the needs of your personal life?
  10. Do you feel as though you can depend on the other members of your team?

Contact Our Employee Survey Company 

Drive Research is a market research company based in New York. Our team has years of combined experience in employee satisfaction research. Using this expertise, we will partner with your team to ensure an accurate and effective employee retention survey is designed. 

To learn more about our market research services, get in touch with us through any of the ways below. 

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Lark Allen

As a Content Marketing Specialist, Lark has a strong background and passion for creative, professional, and journalistic writing. She is also a self-proclaimed music freak and 90s enthusiast.

Learn more about Lark, here.

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