Know Your Employer Brand From the Inside Out With An Employer Branding Survey

February 8, 2019
Updated: November 18, 2019
Written by Bailey Reiners

Attracting and retaining talent are the top two challenges HR professionals face today. In a candidate driven market, job seekers are less bound to the notion of staying at a company for years on end.

Instead, they’re constantly chasing the next opportunity that offers better culture, career progression and benefits.

 

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The best way to discover what your employees and job candidates look for in their ideal employer brand is by asking them in the form of an employer branding survey.

If you know what you're looking for, feel free to use the table of contents to skip ahead. Otherwise, keep on reading.

FREE E-BOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING AN EMPLOYEE VALUE PROPOSITION. DOWNLOAD HERE.

 

Table of Contents

 

Employer Brand: Internal Vs. External

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Employer branding is a major topic among recruiters — but who are they building a brand for? Let's break down the two different types of audiences a company focuses on to survey and improve their employer brand.

Internal Employer Branding

Your internal employer brand is the reputation your company holds as an employer with its current employees. Your employer brand is influenced by and filtered through current employees who shape company culture and act as brand ambassadors for the company throughout their daily lives.

Employees are the only people who know first-hand what it’s like to work for your company, and their voice and opinion can have a major impact. They have the power to provide highly valuable employee referrals or write critical reviews on the company and management.

This is where employer branding surveys are especially helpful because they give employers a direct insight into how employees view the company and thus provide the information necessary to maintain and evolve your reputation as an employer.

 

External Employer Branding

On the flip side, your external employer brand is the reputation your company holds as an employer among job seekers and key stakeholders.

You can measure your external employer brand by surveying job candidates, analyzing online reviews of candidate experience and scouring the internet for any information job seekers and stakeholders may find about your company as an employer, from your careers pages to your social media profiles.

Internal employer branding surveys will also provide you with some insight into how employees talk about and portray your company as an employer to non-employees.  

 

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Types of Employer Branding Surveys

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There are several types of surveys and questions companies can ask to gather specific information about their employer brand. We are focusing on the three main survey types: the Likert scale, the numerical rating scale and open ended.

 

Likert Scale

The Likert scale measures attitude or opinions by asking people to respond to a statement based on a scale of five to seven terms with a neutral term in the middle.

Statements for Likert scale surveys require a more complicated answer than yes or no. This allows respondents to answer to a more accurate degree how they're feeling. 

Here are some examples of answer terms used with the Likert scale:

  • Strongly Disagree · Disagree · Neutral · Agree · Strongly Agree
  • Unimportant · Of Little Importance · Neutral · Important · Very Important
  • Very Dissatisfied · Somewhat Dissatisfied · Neutral · Somewhat Satisfied · Very Satisfied

 

Numerical Rating Scale

Numerical rating scales are simpler to create and analyze as they are based on a numerical range rather than interpretable words. These surveys are often scored on a scale of 1-10, which means there will be a larger variance in responses, and ideally more granularity, than the Likert scale.

Numerical surveys are also beneficial for cross-cultural surveying because there is little to no language barrier involved.

Questions for these surveys, tend to start with "On a scale of 1-10..." and ends with a question that can't be answered by yes or no and doesn't require a specific answer. If you use this approach, be sure to identify which end of the range represents a positive response and which one represents a negative response. 

 

Open Ended

Open ended survey questions provide respondents with the opportunity to express their opinions without the filter of a rated scale or pre-set terms. 

This type of question should be directed around a specific topic and it should encourage respondents to provide thoughtful specific answers. If they can answer with a yes/no or just a few words, consider beefing up the question to promote more dynamic answers or include a follow-up question that asks why they wrote their answer.

Also, be sure to include at least one entirely open ended question for employees to add anything else that’s on their mind or ideas they have for improving your employer brand. You’ll be surprised by the helpful thoughts and opinions employees have but haven't had the opportunity to share.

 

Tips for Writing Employer Branding Surveys

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Designing an effective survey can be a difficult task (to say nothing of analyzing the results), but there are a few pro tips that can be applied to any employer branding survey.

  • Keep it anonymous. People are more likely to answer questions honestly and accurately if they know their responses won't be held against them. Similarly, don’t include questions that may target specific demographics, departments, identities or roles. That being said, it can be useful to ask for basic information like how long respondents have been with the company to identify differences in the opinions of new hires and veteran employees. If you do so, be sure to ask in a manner that will protect the identity of the respondent. 
  • Keep it short. Surveys require your team to take time out of their already busy days to help, and if they're too long respondents are less likely to provide accurate and thoughtful answers. 10-15 questions is an ideal range to gather enough information without losing their interest.
  • Be transparent. If you’re taking time out of their day and asking directed questions about how people view their employer, it is crucial that you remain transparent about why you are conducting the survey and how you will use the results.
  • Know your intentions. Don't survey for the sake of surveying. Before distributing your surveys, make sure you have set goals for the project. This will make it easier to successfully use the information you gather.
  • Implement change. Going along with transparency, you’ll also want to actually use the results of the survey to implement change and inform your employees of your goals and intentions along the way. There’s nothing employees hate more than secrecy, so make sure to keep them in the loop as much as possible and continue to have open conversations.
  • Be consistent. In general, employer branding surveys should be taken once or twice per year. Ideally they'd be performed around the same time to see how your team is evolving and to help you address employee needs.

 

Sample Questionnaire On Employer Branding

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While there is no limit to the questions you can ask, we've narrowed things down into a few targeted options that will help you get started and gain insight into your reputation as an employer. Be sure to modify the format and subject matter of these questions to align with your needs and situation.

  1. Can you articulate the purpose and mission of the organization?
  2. Are you inspired by the purpose and mission of the organization?
  3. Can you name the organization’s stated values?
  4. Do you believe the organization lives up to its stated values?
  5. Do the organization’s stated values align with values you personally consider important in life?
  6. Are you proud of how the organization contributes to society?
  7. Would you recommend the organization to a friend or family member looking for a job?
  8. Do you understand how your work contributes to the goals of the organization?
  9. Given your experience with the company, would you be excited to apply for a job at [insert company name]?
  10. What three words would you use to describe the organization to someone unfamiliar with us?

Still not sure where to start?

Employer branding surveys tend to be created on a case-by-case basis as company culture and employer brand are specific to individual employers, but there are a few publicly available employer branding survey tools out there. Check out Qualtrics, Employer Brand Index by Survey Monkey, Glint Inc. and Employee Evaluation Surveys by Question Pro for additional help.

 

FREE E-BOOK: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CREATING AN EMPLOYEE VALUE PROPOSITION. DOWNLOAD HERE.

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