What is employee research? And what is the future?

Employee survey is an instrument to increase employee satisfaction and involvement. Approximately 65 percent of all organisations in the Netherlands conduct periodical employee surveys. But what is behind such a Staff Research? And what is the added value? This article therefore explains what Staff Research is and how this instrument has developed in recent decades.

Definition of employees Research

Employee research is a means of involving employees in the organisation's business operations (Burke & Cooper, 2006). The survey is usually conducted annually and applied via a digital questionnaire. The content of the Staff Research can vary greatly, depending on the organisation and/or research firm. The idea is that the output of employees increases when they are appreciated more. Employee survey is often part of personnel management that supports this line of thinking.

The video below explains how Staff Research can be used to bind talent and performers to the organisation.


In the 1970s, the measurement of satisfaction was initiated by organisations such as IBM. The first focus was to identify problems within the organisation and leadership. From the 1980s onwards, there was a greater focus on the contribution of the employees, and then in the 21st century, the measurement of satisfaction was introduced. involvement of employees has taken centre stage. The idea here is that involvement of employees leads to a better competitive position. For example, organisations with low levels of engagement have been shown to pay out 50% less to shareholders than those with higher levels of engagement.

Nevertheless, measuring employee satisfaction of added value to date. Satisfaction with the organisation is more important than the exact function the employee fulfils. This reasoning seems very logical since measuring "organisational satisfaction" says much more about the context in which someone works every day. The employee is a social animal who wants to be part of a larger whole and wants to be of added value in this. When organisational satisfaction is high, it is logical that employees are also more involved and the reverse is also true.

"Employee survey remains only a link in achieving the best and most competitive organisation. Ultimately, leaders are needed to actually implement improvement actions."

Application and future

This makes it important to take a critical look at what "has to be measured" and to examine much more closely the purpose of the employee survey. It is interesting to carry out benchmarks, to show which departments are performing well but even more important is to create involvement by relevance. Understanding where there is less engagement provides confirmation, but even better is understanding which type of employee is engaged and understanding why this is the case. This is where HR Analytics, making human resource management measurable and predictable, will add value.

Employee survey As a result, within personnel management it remains only an important link in achieving the best organisation. It is a tool that can be used to promote feedback. The subsequent translation of feedback into concrete actions requires leadership from all those involved. At the organisational, team and individual level.

Burke, R. J., & Cooper, C. L. (Eds.) (2006). The Human Resources Revolution: Why putting people first matters. Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

15 November 2015

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