What are Transactional Surveys for Talent Management

Transactional surveys analytics screenshot

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Do transactional surveys play a role in your talent management strategy? Your talent acquisition? Your talent programs design?  What is transactional talent feedback you ask?

Transactional feedback is a method of gathering input after each interaction. I don’t like to call them surveys because they are actually short, quick, pulse feedback requests. Transactional feedback has been common in customer feedback programs for some time, but now is sweeping talent acquisition. Transactional surveys allow you to get input from your employees or candidates, automatically, after important interactions with HR or management. 

For example, you could export all your past candidates from your ATS and send a one-off candidate experience survey to understand their satisfaction with the entire recruiting process months after they applied (many organizations do). 

You take this data, draw some conclusions and archive it away until the next time you suspect you might have some issues. Or better yet, you have big plans to send out surveys quarterly and you take the most recent survey, copy it, and then do it again three months later. Archive and repeat.


You can have the stages in your ATS trigger automatic feedback requests, for example, each time a candidate has an interaction with your organization. That means getting real-time feedback following application submission, feedback following phone screen,  feedback following interview, feedback following declined offer, feedback during onboarding and training stages, etc.

Why Transactional Surveys?

The first example is a completely manual, time consuming process, requires longer surveys with lower response rates and generates dated, very general feedback that is less actionable. It’s also the method that most organizations try and most organizations let fall by the wayside for all the reasons I stated above.

The second example of transactional surveys for talent requires automation, but provides real time data that is anchored to specific steps in the process. The data is timely and actionable, allowing you to make adjustments quickly. The feedback requests are more specific (read: much shorter) and therefore response rates are higher. And because it all happens automatically in the background, it never falls by the wayside!

Transactional surveys analytics screenshot

The graphic above shows a very high level view of transactional feedback from a hiring process. As you can see, each step of the process has a satisfaction score. By seeing the satisfaction highs and lows for each stage,  it’s easy to hone in on potential areas for improvement by transaction. Then you can drill down into these metrics and filter them by location, job, source, hiring manager, etc. to find out what is driving a drop or lift  in satisfaction at any stage.  Even at the highest level, this data is a game changer. But when you start drilling into the details of who, what, where, why, and when, you start to understand how transformative this approach is.

And remember, you can use this feedback to fix problems in real time, not six months after the fact.

The Difference is Profound

What’s the difference between talent surveys and transactional talent feedback?

  • Transactional feedback is triggered by the systems you already work in – no extra steps
  • Transactional feedback is anchored to specific steps in a process. Shorter surveys. Tied to specific transactions
  • Transactional feedback is real-time so you find out about issues now, when you can affect outcomes, not months from now
  • Transactional feedback provides a scaffolding for analyzing your programs and processes as a whole, and how they affect each other, in an ongoing way
  • Transactional feedback ensures consistent feedback data throughout a process or program, and between processes and programs – each transaction is part of a larger feedback campaign with the same metrics
  • Transactional feedback is automatically triggered so feedback becomes a part of the process, not some one-off post mortem project after a program or process

This is the future of managing talent facing programs, folks. Transactional talent feedback breaks down barriers between HR, leadership and employees. It integrates experiential data and analytics with traditionally limited operational data to provide perspectives and solutions for inefficiencies. In other words, by embedding the voice of the employee or candidate into your processes, you do more than identify problems. The data you collect invariably contains the solutions.

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