Employee satisfaction survey – feedback is worth its weight in gold

Employee offboarding means losses for the company. Regardless of their seniority, each employed person is an investment in human capital for the benefit of both parties. People have the greatest impact on the development of an organization. This is why it is so important to ensure their involvement. However, it often happens that the employer receives information about the employee’s dissatisfaction during the exit interview, but then it is too late to change the decision. Does this situation have to happen? Can it be prevented? Maybe yes. It is necessary to regularly conduct employee satisfaction surveys, remember about open communication, and analyze results.

Employee satisfaction – what it means in today’s reality

The very high variability of requirements in the labor market and the diversity of generations working together within the same organization, affects the difficulty for the employer to adapt to the current requirements of the hired team.

The concept of employee satisfaction means satisfaction and a positive attitude towards the duties assigned to the employee, the working conditions, as well as co-workers and superiors. The key point here is to note the subjectivity of the concept of satisfaction. Factors that make some people happy may be a problem for others. Some employees will be satisfied with the small scope of their duties, carrying out what lies within their area, but there are also many who, wanting to fulfill their ambitions, are constantly looking for new projects and challenges.

The job satisfaction index is a direct reference to the emotions and mindset of the position assigned to a particular person. That is why it is so important to correctly match candidates at the recruitment stage with both the role and the company culture. At the beginning of the cooperation, there is an employee onboarding or “familiarization period”, i.e. comparing expectations and needs with the real situation. The smaller the difference between these factors, the higher the level of job satisfaction, so the first stage to the employee’s satisfaction was accomplished correctly.

What affects job satisfaction?

The most important factors affecting employee satisfaction with their work and employment can be divided into three main categories:

  • Social factors – refer to the work environment. The most important thing here is the relationship taking place between the employee and superiors and co-workers. Just as important are the relationships maintained with clients, which affect the quality and atmosphere of the projects conducted. These factors are able to satisfactorily increase the productivity of a given employee, as well as the entire team, affecting the well-being and comfort of being in a given environment.
  • Personal factors – have the greatest impact on whether a person feels job satisfaction, as they depend on their worldview, ambitions, and preferences. These factors include age, skills, work experience, social status, or gender. In this aspect, it is worth asking about you, so that the employee feels needed in the organization and has a chance for self-realization and development. The employer’s task here is to properly match the requirements and expectations for the position and the person hired.
  • Organizational factors – refer to the organization and all the principles and values that operate in the company. It’s all about the company’s policy, organizational culture, and attitude towards the employee hired. Salary and its amount is also an important factor in this area. A settlement with the employee as agreed, the possibility of a bonus, and a raise in accordance with the skills and system prevailing in the company, affect the fairness and a sense of appreciation on the part of the employee.

What is an employee satisfaction survey?

Employee satisfaction survey is a systematic check of the level of satisfaction of the company’s employees in terms of tasks and the atmosphere in the organization. The survey is conducted in the form of a questionnaire in order for the employer to obtain the most important information about things happening in the company, as seen through the eyes of each employee. It is usually possible to complete such a questionnaire anonymously, which increases the reliability of the answers. The survey indicates the level of satisfaction, motivation, and commitment. The results represent the values held by employees and their expectations of the organization. Based on this, the employer can identify problems in the company and receive guidance on what solutions employees want.

How often to conduct a job satisfaction survey?

Regular employee opinion surveys are the right method to prevent high levels of turnover. It is worth noting, however, that too high a frequency will be perceived as an additional duty or form of control so employees will stop providing reliable information.

Effective job satisfaction surveys with positive results should be conducted at least once a year. During the 12 months, they should be further supported by means of a “pulse survey” – short satisfaction surveys, conducted quarterly to gauge employee attitudes toward significant events or changes in the life of the organization. Employee satisfaction surveys are a tool, helpful for evaluating significant changes. It is a good idea to conduct them a few months after hiring a new manager, introducing new policies, or granting raises.

It is worth considering an additional form of collecting employee feedback, available every day. For stationary work, this could be a suggestion box into which employees can drop their comments on an ongoing basis. For those working remotely, an online form available at any time would be ideal.

How to prepare a survey?

The right approach by both parties is key. An employee satisfaction survey is often treated as a chore that we want to tick off quickly and get on with serious tasks. This is erroneous thinking, which does not allow for the effectiveness of the survey being conducted. Both the employer and the employee need to be aware that the survey is intended to benefit both parties, and without the involvement of these two entities only time will be wasted. If the employer does not show interest, the employees are also likely to treat the questionnaire superficially.

The employee satisfaction survey should be a real policy tool in the context of transparent operations and communication. If employees don’t feel the changes on a daily basis because their opinions are not taken into account, they won’t believe in the authenticity of the survey, much less the chance of improvement. However, if they noticed an improvement in the reported areas after the previous survey, they will be happy to express their opinion in the next ones.

What questions are worth asking?

The structure of the survey is very important, as well as properly selected and worded questions. They should address social, personal, and organizational factors as key areas affecting satisfaction. An improperly prepared survey can discourage employees from completing them, negatively affect the effectiveness of the survey and prevent valuable conclusions from being drawn. It is a good idea to avoid overly long surveys and not limit yourself to closed or open-ended questions. Semi-open-ended questions will be ideal, as the suggested answers can be expanded with individual insights.

Standard employee satisfaction survey questions:

  1. Is your opinion noticed by your boss?
  2. Do you get support from your manager?
  3. Do you have the right amount of work in your position?
  4. How would you rate your work-life balance?
  5. What makes you feel comfortable at work?
  6. Do you understand your responsibilities and how to carry them out?
  7. Do you think internal communication works well?
  8. Do you work together towards a common goal with your team?”
  9. What skills would you like to develop?
  10. Are the promotion rules in the company precisely defined?
  11. Describe your supervisor in three words.
  12. Do you feel that your efforts and commitment are appreciated?
  13. Do you think you earn enough to be satisfied with your job?
  14. What solutions can increase the efficiency of work in an organization?
  15. Do you have the tools and resources needed to perform your job well?

How to analyze the employee satisfaction survey results and draw conclusions

Both the right choice of employee satisfaction survey questions and detailed analysis of the answers are important. In the process of verifying a survey, it is worth using automatic processes to generate a report, however, the results of the study must be solid and conclusions must be properly communicated to employees. They must include planned changes, improvements, and specific solutions in areas that require them. A survey that is conducted, followed by no feedback or action from the company, will create a sense of ignorance and futility in its execution among employees.

In the situation of extremely negative job satisfaction survey results, it is also necessary to present the results to your employees. In such a situation, the most important thing is the company’s reaction to the information obtained about dissatisfaction and a transparent conversation about the information obtained. An employer who takes immediate action will make employees feel valued in the organizational structure.

Benefits of employee satisfaction surveys

What return does it mean for an employer to invest the resources to conduct a satisfaction survey? First of all, it receives information about the level of employee satisfaction, the most valuable capital in the company. It is also a chance to discover the source of problems within the organization, and their diagnosis allows them to plan changes and improve the company’s operations. Building loyalty among employees affects lower turnover, and the company gains the image of a trusted employer, where experts want to develop their competencies. Aiming to increase employee motivation and engagement, this will translate into increased productivity and company profits.

Anna Minkisiewicz

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