HR Management··5 min read

Employee Satisfaction Surveys 101: Importance and Best Practices

Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Do you know that so far several polls have shown that less than two-thirds of American workers are satisfied with their current jobs? What do you think your employees would say when asked the same question? All you have to do to find out is to conduct a simple employee satisfaction survey among them. Provided it’s done right, it can help you to create a more engaged and motivated workforce who will give your customers more to be happy about.

What are the benefits of an employee satisfaction survey?

Retain experienced workers.

Finding out whether your current employees are happy with their working environment and determining where there are areas of discontent can help you to build and retain a happy, motivated, and productive workforce.

Improve productivity.

Workers with a high degree of job satisfaction are generally speaking more productive than their demotivated, frustrated counterparts.

Help to improve staff loyalty.

Staff members who believe their employer cares about them and appreciate what they do are more likely to work hard, support the firm’s mission, and do their best to help it reach its objectives.

It can help improve customer satisfaction

Employees who are happy in the workplace and who feel the company appreciates their efforts are also more likely to provide excellent customer service than those who feel unappreciated and exploited. A well-designed employee satisfaction survey could, therefore, be an important step toward improving customer satisfaction.

It can help uncover the reasons behind high staff turnover rates.

The exit survey is a specific type of employee satisfaction survey that aims to uncover the real reasons why workers are resigning. The purpose of such a survey is to identify those areas in the company where procedures and/or policies need to change in order to reduce staff turnover levels. This type of survey can also give management better insights into where there might be room for improvement in terms of development opportunities and training.

It can give you a holistic view of the work environment.

Businesses often use an employee satisfaction survey to get a better perspective on the workplace from various sources such as managers, supervisors, subordinates, and colleagues. This can give management a bird’s eye view on how they are being perceived by people from all levels of seniority - and where there might be room for improvement.

How an employee satisfaction survey should be done

Let’s look at a few of the most important principles involved with planning an employee satisfaction survey:

Designing the survey

When it comes to ensuring the success of your survey, this is probably the most important phase. Important questions that should be answered include:

  • Why are we doing this survey? Possible answers could be to improve employee satisfaction and worker retention, to improve the firm’s business strategy, or to improve client satisfaction via a more motivated workforce.
  • What type of questions will be asked in your employee satisfaction survey? Why?
  • Should the firm use a free employee satisfaction survey or employee satisfaction survey templates?
  • If not, who will be responsible for creating these questions?
  • Who will be able to take part in the survey? Why only them?
  • When and how often should the survey be conducted? Why?
  • Who will be responsible for drawing up the employee satisfaction survey report afterward?
  • How will the firm communicate the results to employees, clients, and other interested parties?

Principles that should be adhered to during the survey design process

The following guidelines should help to makes things easier - and more professional.

  • Involve workers in both the design of the survey and the process of analyzing the data.

In this regard, a pilot survey involving a relatively small group of employees can help the designers of the survey to get more clarity about which areas should be covered in the final version.

  • Multiple-choice questions are better.

If you ask the respondent to rate his job satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10 you are going to get a much more useful answer than if you ask open-ended questions where he or she might end up writing an essay in response. The latter will make it virtually impossible to group and analyze the answers.

  • Short and simple is better.

The types and number of questions covered in your survey can have a significant impact on the response rate. If you want to wreck the whole endeavor before it started, make the poll very long and include repetitious and/or confusing questions. Otherwise, keep the questions short and simple, and don’t use terminology that all your employees might not be familiar with. Generally speaking, it should not take longer than 30 minutes to complete the survey.

  • Stay away from ‘twin-barreled’ questions.

Do not try to group two topics into a single question - for example, “Would you agree that the work environment and pay at this company are great?”. What if the respondent thinks the work environment is great but the pay is awful? He or she will most likely just not answer the question.

  • Avoid questions that could make the respondents uncomfortable.

Employers should concentrate on asking questions that are important to help the company understand what staff members think about their workplace. Avoid asking irrelevant or unnecessarily personal questions, for example about the respondent’s sexual orientation. Questions related to race, gender, and age should also be used sparingly and only if they are necessary to understand certain trends, for example, how certain preferences differ among age groups.

  • Stay neutral and do not ask leading questions.

Do not try to pre-empt the respondent’s answer by asking leading questions such as “Are the bosses always reasonable and fair?”. Respondents might feel under pressure to give a positive response and this could undermine the usefulness of the whole survey.

  • Keep responses confidential and anonymous and make sure respondents know this.

You should inform your workers from day one that survey responses are confidential and that no individual responses will be made public - only the aggregates. Some workers might wonder how, in a world where email addresses, IP numbers. and other user data can be tracked, it could be possible for any survey to be truly confidential. This is why some companies prefer using a third-party vendor to carry out an employee work satisfaction survey among their workers.

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