While much is being done to understand job seekers’ experiences in the employment services sector, the sector’s contribution to employers has received little attention.

Women working at computer and smiling at her male colleagueDelivering high-quality services to job seekers AND employers helps support delivery of Government contracts while providing more sustainable job placements. With a new level of scrutiny on the employment services sector, it’s essential that providers reflect on their performance in all areas including employer satisfaction.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) plans to measure employer satisfaction in the near term. It’s anticipated the evaluation will consider service quality, employer engagement, preparedness of candidates, service effectiveness, and recruitment processes. We have no doubt that the Department of Social Services (DSS) will follow suit.

A similar approach is already common in international markets:

  • United Kingdom: the ReAct Partnership considers shared values, quality standards, and job outcomes;
  • Ireland: a new Employer Relations Strategy measures the number of employers reached;
  • Austria: a balanced scorecard compares the performance of local offices;
  • Slovenia: measures an employment satisfaction target with a minimum of 4 required on a scale of 1- 5; and
  • United States: considers engagement, retention, and repeat business.

In a recent poll of employment services providers held at NESA’s National Conference, participants strongly supported the US model of measuring employer engagement, retention and repeat business.

How should we measure employer satisfaction?

While all employment services providers in Australia have similar customer quality and operate within similar financial constraints, the employer service experience truly differentiates one agency from another and all agencies from digital platforms.

Prospert recommends that providers evaluate employer relations regularly. For example, an employer achieving a minimum six-month outcome can be quickly assessed as to whether the service promise was delivered and how this compared with their expectations.

We know that employers want trusted partners based on solid relationships. A key dissatisfier is when agencies treat them like a transaction. When relationships are valued and meet employers’ needs, sustainable placements follow.

We recommend that employer satisfaction is best measured by asking five critical questions:

  1. What is the agency doing well?
  2. What could the agency be doing differently?
  3. Overall, how would an employer rate the agency out of 10?
  4. Is the employer seeking more help to fill vacancies or take up other services?
  5. Is the employer happy to refer family, friends or business associates?

Surveying employers with multi-agency relationships is a valuable adjunct to Government sampling. Let’s look at a specific employer and how they answered these questions in an annual review recently:

Do you use more than one provider? Yes, we use up to five different agencies across Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

How does this one provider compare with others you might use? Only one site and one Business Development Consultant stands out among all these agencies and all their sites.

Which do you regard as the best and why? The specific Business Development Consultant goes the extra mile to develop a collaborative partnership, which has yielded 70 placements over three years.

Finding employers like the above allows Government to establish relative performance benchmarks.

A solutions-focused approach to measurement

Rather than measuring dissatisfaction, we recommend that Government focuses on solutions that build constructive relationships, by developing a deeper understanding of what drives employers to keep using a service.

All providers should participate in the measurement, and a regional/national benchmark could be established offering insights into competitor performance​.

We recommend the measurements focus on gathering constructive feedback that providers can act on​ – deepening their understanding of what delights employers and their pain points. We also believe that employers are more inclined to respond to an opportunity to provide constructive feedback.

Consequently, policy makers are more informed about drivers of employer satisfaction – this will help design programs that increase employer retention, activation and attraction programs.

Tips to improve employer satisfaction NOW

So, what are various ways to increase employer satisfaction in your relationships?

  1. Understand, articulate, and follow through on your employer value proposition – examine your initial approach, how you do deals and onboard new employers​.
  2. Engage employers based on their needs not yours - listen and capture needs to match jobs with job seekers accurately.
  3. Broker relationships professionally and as equals – actively solve labour and skill shortages and address diversity/inclusion challenges through partnerships and collaboration.
  4. Proactively prevent BURNT employers – follow up and follow through, communicate to understand, and avoid assumptions on their part​.

At Prospert, our Effective Employer Engagement program includes an annual review with employers. This proven technique allows your team to stay ahead of the game. When used extensively, providers collate the feedback, resolve systemic issues and implement opportunities for continuous improvement. Employers also like to see their feedback has been converted into action.

Key indicators provide you with employer satisfaction insights. Take a look at your employer caseload growth (i.e. how many active employers per consultant), repeat business and business referrals on a regular basis. If these are increasing, then you’re doing something right!

Finally, employer satisfaction is everyone’s job. Everyone from the call centre to the claims department has a role to play. Make sure your team know how they can contribute to increasing employer satisfaction and you’ll reap the rewards.

After all, when we satisfy a customer, we may not see them once they exit benefits for good. A satisfied employer, on the other hand, will want a decades long relationship with your agency!

How we can help

Talk to us today about making your agency “employer satisfaction savvy” and get ahead of the curve! Visit www.prospert.com.au to find out more.