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HR teams and management are well acquainted with the costs of employee turnover. While, at times, losing an employee is unavoidable, for the most part, it is in an organization’s best interest to retain and engage its employees.

Companies have a superfluity of tried-and-true practices to draw from when it comes to employee engagement, yet a number of organizations still fall short of engagement that increases productivity, inspires employees, and gives them a straightforward roadmap to their opportunities within the organization and personal growth.

There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to engaging employees, but there is one thing that ALL organizations can do to facilitate engagement and retention strategies with proven outcomes: ask your employees directly.

In order to get the type of information that HR departments need from employees to create content that is meaningful, it is best to outsource the gathering of information to a neutral third-party company that specializes in quantitative and qualitative research and analysis.  A cost saving measure that companies sometimes try and conduct is to research internally; however, employees often won’t be as forthcoming if they know that an interview or questionnaire is being internally conducted rather than handled by a neutral third-party.

With a neutral third-party doing the interviews and asking the questions, employees feel more at ease with sharing their insights regarding the status quo and what they would like to see implemented that would inspire and engage. The report generated by an experienced quantitative/qualitative research company provides your organization with the best possible feedback that accurately reflects employee sentiment. As a result, programs can be developed that properly address what was uncovered through the research.

Qualitative research is much more than just an advertising tool

A lot of people often associate qualitative research with advertising. A popular method used is focus groups, where subjects are brought together to be asked their reactions and opinions to product concepts and ad copies, or to brainstorm. Focus groups are an effective and great way to gather information from a cross-section of people — but they are not the only method used. Qualitative research relies on a variety of other techniques for gathering feedback, including in-depth interviews, social media listening, and ethnographic research.

When gathering employee feedback to develop retention and engagement strategies, in-depth interviews are the method of choice. Employees are interviewed, either over the phone or in-person, with an interview lasting between 30 minutes to an hour. Using this individual format in lieu of employee focus groups assures employees of their anonymity and allows for more privacy so they can express their views openly and candidly. In addition to getting more reliable and richer information from employees, using a neutral third-party agency also ensures that there is no bias from the company where the employees work.

With a neatly compiled report established on a cross-section of employees from different departments, HR teams and management can rest assured that the practices and programs created from the data presented in the report will gain traction much quicker than creating a program without such a report. It is true that there are costs associated with outsourcing the qualitative research, but, there will likely be long-term savings when content is created that retains and engages employees in meaningful ways.

Is your company undergoing a management shift? Learn more about qualitative research and how it can ease the transition >