Employees are your best asset. They drive company culture and deliver the work that makes your organization successful — so it’s no secret that happy employees are more productive and more loyal to their employers.
When employees are unsatisfied, however, they can affect the company in many ways, including increasing turnover rates, lowering productivity levels, and creating an uninviting environment for new hires.
This is why it is crucial to create surveys that help you better understand what your employees think and how they feel about their job. Building a strong employee satisfaction survey is not an easy task, however — it can be hard to get honest feedback from employees, and even harder to interpret the data once you’ve got it.
In this blog post, we will give you tips on what makes a good employee satisfaction survey, how to create one that will yield the best results, as well as going through its benefits and some factors that influence employee satisfaction in general.
Benefits of Tracking Employee Satisfaction
Why track employee satisfaction in the first place? Does it really help your business? The answer is a resounding yes. There are lots of benefits to tracking employee satisfaction, including:
Improved Communication Between Managers and Employees
tracking employee satisfaction means that you’re regularly asking employees how they feel about their job, their workload, their colleagues, etc. This regular check-in gives employees the opportunity to voice any concerns they have, and lets managers know what areas they need to work on.
Greater Employee Engagement and Motivation
When employees feel like their opinions are valued and that they’re being listened to, they’re more likely to be engaged with their work and motivated to do their best.
Happy employees are less likely to leave your company, which means you’ll save money in the long run by not having to constantly train new employees.
Better Customer Satisfaction
Happy employees lead to satisfied customers, so tracking employee satisfaction can help you improve your business’s reputation. Imagine disgruntled employees dealing with customers — not a happy sight at all. They would likely leave negative reviews or give poor ratings, which would damage your business’s image.
Motivated and engaged employees are more productive, so tracking employee satisfaction can lead to a boost in productivity for your company.
10 Factors That Contribute to Employee Satisfaction
By identifying factors that contribute to employee satisfaction, we can come up with effective questions to ask in our employee satisfaction surveys. Let’s delve into 10 of the most important factors that contribute to employee satisfaction…
Do you feel like your company communicates effectively? This includes everything from how well your team is informed of changes or updates, to whether you feel like management is accessible and approachable.
A lack of effective communication within a team bodes poorly for morale and job satisfaction.
2. Opportunities for Advancement
Do you feel like there are opportunities for you to grow within your role? Employees who feel “stuck” in their position are often the least satisfied with their jobs.
Employees who feel like they have a clear path to follow and can see themselves advancing in their career are more likely to be satisfied with their current situation.
Do you feel like your hard work is being appreciated? This can manifest in a number of ways, from financial compensation to simply being acknowledged for a job well done.
Employees who don’t feel like their efforts are appreciated are more likely to be disengaged and uninterested in their work.
4. Work/life Balance
Do you feel like you have a good work/life balance? This is an important factor for many employees, especially those with families.
A good work/life balance allows employees to have time for their personal lives without feeling like they’re neglecting their work.
5. Job Security
Do you feel like your job is secure? This is an important factor for many employees, especially in today’s economy. Employees who don’t feel like their job is secure are more likely to be stressed and unhappy in their work.
6. The Physical Work Environment
Do you feel comfortable in your work environment? This includes everything from the temperature of the office to the noise level. A comfortable work environment is important for employee satisfaction.
7. The Company’s Culture
Do you feel like you fit in with your company’s culture? Not feeling comfortable with the company’s culture while at work may seem like a small thing, but it can actually have a big impact on employee satisfaction.
Employees will be more detached from their team which can worsen their mood and reduce their productivity
8. Company Values
Do you feel like your company’s values align with your own? This is an important factor for many employees. If an employee feels like their personal values are not in line with the company’s, they are likely to be unhappy in their work.
Do you feel like you are being paid fairly? This is a more than crucial part of being employed! The honest truth is that employees are in it for the monetarial aspect as well as the love of their job.
If employees feel like they aren’t being paid what they deserve, it will lead to high levels of frustration and could lead to them potentially leaving the firm for better remuneration elsewhere.
Do you feel like you trust your company? If an employee does not feel like they can trust their company, it can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety.
They will feel like their job is up is up in the air — and more importantly will not be able to come to their superiors asking for help with a certain problem.
How To Create Strong Employee Satisfaction Surveys
Now that we know how to measure employee satisfaction, let’s go through how to create surveys that can do exactly that effectively.
1. Establish a Clear, Measurable Goal for the Survey
As with any new task, goal setting is imperative to being successful. Before crafting your survey, ask yourself: What do I want to learn? How can this survey help the company’s growth and development?
Once you have defined your goals, the next step is to consider what kind of information would be most helpful in reaching that goal. For instance, if you are looking into your employee’s job satisfaction, you should focus your questions around that. Are they receiving enough support from superiors? Do they feel comfortable in their work environment?
Being intentional with the questions you ask will yield more helpful and immediate survey results.
2. Create a Survey That Is Short and Easy to Complete
Many employers create surveys that are long and cumbersome for their employees to complete. Overcomplicated surveys will scare people away from completing their questions to a helpful standard, if at all. Not only that, but your employees might not answer honestly because they view the length of questions as a barrier between themselves and their answers.
A study conducted in 2018 showed that shorter surveys had a higher response and completion rate than longer surveys. The shorter surveys (three to seven minutes) saw a higher completion rate of around 54% to 63%, while longer ones (twenty minutes) only had 37%.
This study shows that the best employee satisfaction surveys are short, simple, and to the point. Your employees should ideally be completing their survey within a few minutes, and it is crucial that they feel like their feedback will make a difference.
3. Make Sure the Questions Are Relevant and Clear
It’s important not to overwhelm your employees with too many questions or ask them questions out of context. You don’t want their minds drifting to other tasks or thoughts while answering the questions, so keep it simple.
The best surveys ask one or two simple questions at a time and then give employees the option to provide further feedback if they feel motivated. By following this structure, you can get the most accurate information from your team without overwhelming them.
For employees to be motivated enough to answer truthfully, your questions should also be straightforward and easily understood. Make sure your survey has a detailed explanation of what each question means on its own or in context with the others. This will help decrease ambiguity and encourage employees to answer honestly.
4. Include Open-Ended Questions in Your Survey
Open-ended questions are great for getting in-depth information, but you don’t want your entire survey to be composed of them. These questions tend to take a long time and may discourage your employees from completing the survey at all.
Close-ended questions are often used for more general inquiries, while open-ended questions can be better if you want to get specific information. For example, a close-ended question could ask, “Are you happy with your work environment?” This is a great way to find out how employees perceive the overall work environment.
On the other hand, an open-ended question such as “What do you like the most about your work environment?” might be a better way to find out what employees enjoy about their jobs. If you strike a balance of both open and closed questions, you will have a better chance at keeping your employees engaged while they answer your questions.
5. Include Demographics Questions
It is also essential to include demographics-focused questions to highlight key differences between certain employee groups. This will allow you to identify potential issues that might not be easily visible otherwise.
For example, you may discover that your graduate-age employees are highly satisfied at work, but your long-term employee satisfaction levels are going down.
This type of data can help you distinguish whether there are any patterns between the demographics of your employees in the future, and you can use this information for reference or to make necessary workplace changes.
6. Keep It Anonymous To Get Honest Answers
Employee satisfaction surveys completed in person or over the phone can be problematic, as your employees might not answer truthfully if they are worried about potential consequences. For example, an employee who is unhappy with a certain manager may choose to stay quiet for fear of creating tension or being fired.
In order to get genuinely accurate responses from your survey, it is best to keep answers openly anonymous. Don’t ask for personal information, such as the employee’s name or any other identifying data. Implementing an anonymous survey will encourage your employees to be totally honest with their answers.
7. Use Multiple Channels for Distributing Surveys
It’s challenging coming up with the right questions to ask — but once you have those, the next hurdle is getting everyone to complete the survey. Like you, your employees are on-the-go people leading busy lives. If you only send out an email survey, some of your employees may not complete it because of time constraints or forgetfulness.
For this reason, distributing surveys through multiple channels can be helpful. You should also print out hardcopy surveys for employees who can’t receive your survey digitally.
You can also embed the questionnaires on your website so that people will be notified about the survey when they visit your site. If possible, make sure to include a link directly to the survey form itself so that employees can access it as soon as possible.
You can also use applications like SurveyMonkey to create and send out your surveys. This will make the process much easier, as you can keep all information and responses under your account. Employees won’t need to go through emails or websites to complete their surveys.
There are many ways to distribute surveys, so choose a couple of options and see what works best for your company. You want all your employees to have the opportunity to fill out the survey if they feel motivated or interested in doing so, regardless of their location or situation.
8. Offer an Incentive to Participate in the Survey (I.E., Provide a Gift Card)
If you want to get complete results, provide an incentive for the employees who participate in your survey. This could be a gift card or some other type of compensation that will motivate them to take time out of their day and fill it out.
This is a crucial step, but it’s often overlooked by employers. Suppose your employees do not feel incentivized to participate. In that case, they may be less likely to complete the survey — and if you get incomplete data, your results will not give you an accurate picture of what is going on within your company.
9. Follow Up on Any Feedback You Receive, Both Positive and Negative
When you have completed your surveys, it is crucial to follow up on the given responses. You can either ask employees directly or look for trends in their responses. From there, you can bring issues up with the right people and make productive changes going forward.
For example, if many of your respondents say they enjoy working with one particular manager and appreciate their contributions, this could be an excellent time to thank that manager for their dedication. If many people are dissatisfied with the break room, you can bring this up during future meetings or when planning renovations in your office.
You could also send an email to employees letting them know that their feedback has been heard and you are working on addressing their concerns.
It is also helpful to offer some sort of reward for people who participate in the survey, so they feel like their input was worth something. This could be as simple as chocolate or coffee at morning meetings, a free lunch, or a small gift card.
Any little token will help show your employees that their feedback was heard and appreciated. That way, they can feel motivated to continue helping out in the future.
The point of employee satisfaction surveys is not just about gathering information. It is also about using that data to make changes and improvements within your company as a whole.
How Do Industry Leaders Measure Employee Satisfaction?
Industry leaders use employee satisfaction surveys to measure and track employee engagement and satisfaction over time.
By measuring how employees feel about their work, company leadership can identify issues early and take steps to address them before they become bigger problems.
Take these 5 companies for example — they all measure employee satisfaction using a certain methodology as highlighted below:
They use a modified version of the Net Promoter Score which they call the Googler NPS. The survey is sent to employees quarterly and asks them how likely they are to recommend Google as a place to work on a scale from 0–10.
They have an internal employee satisfaction survey that they give to employees every 6 months.
The survey covers everything from how employees feel about their managers, to the company’s benefits, and whether or not they would recommend Facebook as a place to work.
The ecommerce giant uses a leadership principle called “Customer Obsession” which is also applied to their survey process.
Amazon’s employee satisfaction surveys are sent out monthly and ask employees questions about how they feel the company is doing in different areas such as customer service, delivery, and overall satisfaction.
Apple is known for its secrecy, but they do measure employee satisfaction. Apple uses an annual employee survey that covers a range of topics including job satisfaction, pay, and benefits.
The tech giant uses an employee engagement tool called MyAnalytics which gives employees the ability to see how they’re doing in different areas of their work life.
The tool also allows managers to give feedback to employees and see how engaged their team is overall.
Where Might Employee Satisfaction Surveys Not Work?
There are many situations where employee satisfaction surveys might not be the ideal way to measure employee satisfaction.
Let’s go through 5 of the most common situations so you can see if any of these apply to your firm:
1. You have a very high turnover rate
If you have a lot of employees leaving your company, it’s going to be hard to accurately gauge employee satisfaction.
This is because the group of employees that remain will likely be different from those that left, and so their opinions might not be representative of the entire workforce.
2. You have a lot of new hires
Similar to the point above, if you have a lot of new hires, the group of employees that remain will completely switch up from the usual bunch, and so their opinions might not be representative of the entire workforce.
3. You have a lot of contract workers
Once again, if you have a lot of employees that are only contracted to work for a certain period of time, their opinions might not be representative of the entire workforce
4. Your company is undergoing massive changes
If your company is going through a lot of changes (e.g. a merger, acquisition, etc.), employee satisfaction surveys might not be the best way to measure employee satisfaction. This is because employees might be feeling stressed or anxious about the changes, and so their opinions might not be accurate representations of how they truly feel about their jobs.
5. You recently had a layoff or downsizing
If your company has recently undergone a layoff or downsizing, employee satisfaction surveys might be an ineffective way of measuring satisfaction accurately. Due to employees being worried about their own jobs — they might alter their opinions so they might not be accurate representations of how they truly feel about their jobs.
Alternatives to Employee Satisfaction Surveys
You may read through these tips and think employee satisfaction surveys aren’t for your firm in the first place. Rest assured, there are many other ways of measuring and keeping a track of employee satisfaction than through surveys.
First, consider using an employee engagement software. This type of software usually has a “pulse survey” feature that sends out quick, anonymous surveys to employees on a regular basis.
This can be a great way to get regular feedback from employees without putting them through the hassle of filling out a long survey. Some examples of this type of software include:
Another alternative is to simply ask employees how they’re doing every once in a while. This can be done informally, through one-on-one conversations or more formal channels such as team meetings.
This is obviously less calculated than giving your employees surveys, but it is likely to give you more accurate and honest feedback.
For example: if you are a smaller company then having one on one meetings can be an excellent way to get the ball rolling and ensure that your employees are content.
This is the method that Buffer uses to measure employee satisfaction which has helped them create one of the most open and happy workplaces in the world.
Finally, you could also look at indirect indicators of employee satisfaction such as turnover rate, number of sick days taken, and performance reviews.
While these indicators won’t give you a complete picture of employee satisfaction, they can be helpful in getting a sense of how your employees are doing overall.
For example, if the number of sick days being taken is significantly higher in one particular quarter of the year, that could be an indication that something is wrong and you should look into it further.
On the other hand, if employee turnover rates are lower this year than the previous year — it could be a sign that employees are generally happy with their current situation.
Employee satisfaction surveys are important, but you need to remember that it is more important for your employees to have a voice. As long as you are honest, transparent, and timely when addressing any feedback, chances are they will be happy with the changes you make.
Knowing if your employees are satisfied or not can help you address the issues keeping your company from reaching its full potential. Addressing concerns and changing the work environment to cater to their needs can help increase retention rates and make your employees happier.
If you’re ready to take your company to the next level through surveys, we hope the above points will help you in reaching those goals. All the best!