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Universities rely on the expertise, creativity, and commitment of their employees to deliver high-quality education and research, and to maintain a positive reputation in the global academic community. One of the most effective tools for understanding and improving employee satisfaction and retention is the employee retention survey.

This type of survey is designed to gather valuable insights into the factors that contribute to employee engagement, satisfaction, and commitment, and to identify areas where improvements can be made to support a more robust and resilient workforce.

Introduction to employee retention surveys in universities

Employee retention surveys are not just for the corporate world. They are becoming increasingly relevant and essential in the higher education sector as well. By conducting regular employee retention surveys, universities can stay ahead of any potential issues and ensure that their staff members feel valued, respected, and motivated to contribute to the institution’s success.

In this article, we will explore the role and benefits of employee retention surveys in universities, and provide practical tips and guidance for designing, conducting, and analyzing these surveys to drive positive change and elevate university performance.

Identifying signs of employee quiet quitting

One of the challenges in addressing employee retention in higher education is that employees may not always be vocal about their dissatisfaction or plans to leave. This phenomenon, known as employee quiet quitting, occurs when employees disengage from their work and the organization without formally resigning. Quiet quitting can manifest in various ways, such as reduced productivity, decreased collaboration, or minimal participation in departmental activities.

It is important for universities to recognize the signs of employee quiet quitting and take action to address any underlying issues before they lead to actual turnover. Employee retention surveys can help to uncover these signs.

They provide a confidential and structured platform for employees to share their thoughts and feelings about their work experience. Moreover they offer insights into the factors that may be contributing to disengagement or dissatisfaction. There are numerous technology solutions designed to conduct employee surveys.

An effective retention survey

The effectiveness of conducting employee surveys depends on various factors. On the one hand, the planning and methodology aspects are significant, properly tailored to research problems. On the other hand, the effectiveness of research depends on the method of data collection. In this area, technology plays a huge role, which also affects the possibilities of combining and then analyzing data.

Survey methodological components

An effective employee retention survey should be designed to gather meaningful and actionable insights into the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction, engagement, and commitment. To achieve this, the survey should include the following key components.

Methodology can help in designing an effective employee retention survey. It can provide useful insights into the factors that drive employee satisfaction, engagement, and commitment. Key components of a successful survey include:

  • clear objectives,
  • a well-designed questionnaire,
  • a proper sampling,
  • a reliable analysis,
  • an effective communication of results.

Survey technological aspects

Digital survey platforms have a great advantage compared to single online questionnaire pages. The main difference is the possibility to create many different surveys on one platform, allowing organizations to gather more comprehensive data and insights about their employees, customers, or target audience.

For example, a digital survey platform could allow an organization to create surveys for different departments, job roles, or regions, and compare the results to identify trends and areas for improvement.

Additionally, digital survey platforms often include advanced features, such as branching logic, skip logic, and custom scoring, that enable organizations to create more sophisticated surveys that can capture more nuanced feedback and insights.

Overall, digital survey platforms offer a more flexible, efficient, and comprehensive way to conduct surveys compared to single online questionnaire pages. Digital survey platforms can integrate with other HR software and tools, providing a comprehensive view of employee data.

Employee retention survey questions

When designing employee retention survey questions, it is important to strike a balance between breadth and depth. The survey should cover a wide range of topics to provide a comprehensive overview of employees’ experiences and perceptions, while also including targeted questions that allow for a detailed understanding of specific issues or concerns. Here are some tips for designing effective employee retention survey questions:

  1. Use a mix of question types, such as Likert scale questions, ranking questions, and open-ended questions, to capture a range of perspectives and insights.
  2. Include questions that address both the positive and negative aspects of employees’ experiences, to ensure a balanced and accurate representation of their overall satisfaction and engagement.
  3. Incorporate questions that focus on employees’ perceptions of the university’s policies, practices, and culture, as well as their own experiences and attitudes, to gain a broader understanding of the factors that contribute to employee retention.
  4. Consider incorporating questions that specifically address the unique challenges and opportunities associated with working in the higher education sector, such as the pressure to publish, the availability of funding, and the need for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Utilizing survey results to improve university performance

The ultimate goal of conducting an employee retention survey is to use the insights gained to drive positive change and improve university performance. Here are some tips for translating survey results into actionable strategies and initiatives:

  1. Prioritize areas for improvement based on the survey results, focusing on the issues that are most strongly associated with employee satisfaction and retention.
  2. Develop targeted interventions and initiatives that address the specific concerns and needs identified in the survey, such as mentorship programs, flexible work arrangements, or improved communication channels.
  3. Monitor the effectiveness of these interventions and initiatives through ongoing evaluation and feedback, and make adjustments as needed to ensure maximum impact.
  4. Continue to conduct regular employee retention surveys to track progress and identify new areas for improvement.

Employee evaluations and their role in retention

In addition to employee retention surveys, employee evaluations can also play a critical role in supporting employee retention in higher education. Regular performance evaluations can help to ensure that employees receive the feedback, recognition, and support they need to feel valued and engaged in their work. Moreover, employee evaluations can provide valuable insights into employees’ professional development needs and aspirations, which can inform targeted initiatives and programs aimed at enhancing employee satisfaction and retention.

To maximize the benefits of employee evaluations for retention, universities should ensure that their evaluation processes are transparent, fair, and supportive, and that they are aligned with the institution’s broader goals and values.

Best practices for increasing employee retention in academia

In addition to conducting employee retention surveys and evaluations, there are several best practices that universities can adopt to promote employee satisfaction and retention. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Foster a positive and inclusive organizational culture that values diversity, collaboration, and innovation.
  2. Provide opportunities for professional development and growth, such as training programs, workshops, and seminars, to support employees in achieving their career goals.
  3. Offer competitive compensation and benefits packages that recognize and reward employees for their contributions to the university’s success.
  4. Encourage work-life balance by offering flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or flexible schedules, and by promoting a culture of self-care and wellness.
  5. Provide clear communication channels and opportunities for employees to share their ideas, concerns, and suggestions, and to participate in decision-making processes that affect their work.

Conclusion: Elevating university performance through employee retention efforts

In conclusion, employee retention surveys are a powerful tool that universities can use to understand and address the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction and commitment. By regularly conducting these surveys, and by implementing targeted strategies and initiatives based on the results, universities can create a supportive and engaging work environment that attracts and retains top talent. In turn, this can help to elevate university performance by promoting innovation, collaboration, and excellence in education and research.

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