Employee Satisfaction Survey – What is it, and how is it conducted?
Kingdoms can be won, but their subjects cannot be ruled by the victor unless he/she cannot earn their acceptance by keeping them happy; an organization is no different. You can run an organization day after day. But you will have productive, happy and engaged employees who wish to remain in your organization, only when there is employee satisfaction in the organization.
Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.
Employee satisfaction is a deciding factor for the long term success of an organization. After all, employees spend around eight hours of their active hours at work on any given working day. When they spend so much time at work, it is quite natural to expect their workplace to be a happy place to be in, the work to be likeable and the work environment to be friendly. So, it is crucial to keep the employees satisfied with their jobs.
Job satisfaction survey helps the organization read the pulse of the employees and find out how various factors contribute to employee satisfaction. By understanding what keeps the employees happy and satisfied, organizations can double up on enhancing those factors. By identifying what troubles the employees, the organization can implement measures to address those grievances. It not only helps keep the current employees happy, but also makes the organization attractive to new recruits.
What is Employee Satisfaction and what are the factors affecting it?
Employee satisfaction is a state in which employees in an organization feel happy to work there, enjoy the work, are engaged, take ownership of tasks and remain motivated due to proper recognition and compensation. Employee satisfaction is a result of various factors. Some of them are as follows:
1. Job compatibility
If the job is not related to the interests of the employee or if it does not match with his/her skills and strengths, he/she may not be satisfied. So, it is essential to be at the right place doing the right job.
2. Workplace compatibility
The work environment needs to be pleasant and conducive for the employees to focus on work, and they should be treated with respect and not be discriminated on any grounds.
3. Team compatibility
Prolonged disagreements and dislike for colleagues and team members can ruin employee satisfaction. So, having a good team and good working relationship amongst employees is a must.
4. Relationship with superiors
Good relationship with superiors and management go a long way in ensuring employee satisfaction, as the employees need to interact with them in day-to-day work for everything, from approval of work to recognition. The management needs to also listen to the voices of the employees and understand their needs. This mutual respect and a good working relationship ensures satisfaction. So, when measuring satisfaction, employee satisfaction survey questions about management are also asked.
5. Freedom in role
Sometimes, the freedom to stretch their legs and do things in their own way can help employees perform to the best of their abilities and find happiness at work. So, flexibility and freedom keep employees satisfied
6. Organizational culture
Organizational culture is a common set of values and behavior shared by the employees, learnt from each other at work and practiced across the organization. For example, If the superiors take credit for success and share the blame for failures on the team, it becomes a collective habit at all levels. A positive organizational culture is crucial to keep employees happy with their work.
7. Quantity of work
At the end of the day, the employee should leave the workplace happy and not tired. When the employees are given too much work, they feel exploited, and it affects their happiness and quality of life.
The work employees do need to get noticed and recognized. It gives them a purpose at work and motivates them to aim higher and achieve more. Recognition can come in the form of awards and promotions.
Everyone needs to get paid for the work they do, and that is the ultimate purpose of work. That is the main motivation behind spending a a significant amount of time at work on any given day. So, the pay needs to match the value of work employees have produced so far.
10. Scope for growth
Employees always looks into the future, and the organization should provide them with the scope for growth, help them learn new skills and upgrade their abilities, give them new challenges to overcome and have a career plan for them that matches their aspirations.
Impact of lack of employee satisfaction
When these factors are not ideal, employee satisfaction levels can fall considerably and seriously impact the organization in may ways.
When employees are not satisfied:
- Productivity of the organization as a whole may go down.
- The employee dynamics, synergy, teamwork and coordination may be lost.
- Lack of motivation and dissatisfaction can affect the collective morale.
- Employees may not like to engage.
- They may lose the drive to take up ownership of tasks.
- In the long term, they may prefer to leave the organization.
- With increasing employee turnover, the organization may face a crisis.
- Inability to attract new talent can further worsen the crisis in the organization.
Employee Satisfaction Survey
As employee satisfaction is such a crucial factor for the success of the organization, it is essential for the organization to quantify and analyze the various factors that affect employee satisfaction. Organizations conduct employee satisfaction surveys for this purpose.
These surveys are carefully designed to measure the various factors that contribute to employee satisfaction and give the management a comprehensive picture so that they can take informed decisions.
The organization needs to conduct such surveys regularly to keep track of satisfaction levels, understand the changing mood of the workforce, identify the suitable interventions to keep employees satisfied, and to measure the impact of previous interventions to improve employee satisfaction.
How to conduct an employee satisfaction survey
Employee satisfaction survey demands careful planning, and it has to be focused on specific things. Focusing on multiple aspects can dilute the findings and make them less actionable.
Identifying what is important and what the organization wants to achieve with the outcomes takes time and a lot of effort from the HR and management team. Employee satisfaction survey involves planning, conducting the survey, interpreting the data in a meaningful way, getting the findings, implementing measures based on the findings and following up.
The team in charge of conducting the survey should also coordinate with the management to understand what they want to achieve out of the survey. The role of the management is extremely important, and they should be fully committed to the survey. Employees expect the management to listen to them and address their concerns and grievances. If the management does not address them and fulfill those expectations in a timely manner, it can have a negative impact on the morale of the employees.
Before conducting a survey, you need to answer various questions in the planning phase.
When is it ideal to conduct an employee satisfaction survey?
You can conduct job satisfaction surveys at regular intervals to look into the mindset of the employees. So, a survey is essential if the last survey was conducted a long time ago and it is already time to conduct one. Change in market conditions and business environment, or a change in the management, etc, also call for a survey in order to understand how employees feel about the work and workplace in an unfamiliar scenario.
You can conduct the survey when the employees are not loaded with work, and at the same time not in a holiday mood either. Those can severely impact the results and can provide you with unexpected and distorted results. Similarly, if you conduct the survey when the employees are due for a hike or promotion, or when the organization is going through tough times, the fear factor and the lack of trust can can provide you with an unrealistic picture.
Whom do you want to get the answers from?
Every job position and every department in the organization has different variables that lead to employee satisfaction. As a result, it is important to select the right target group and customize the questionnaire for them. Asking the same questions to everyone can lead to lack of clarity, and the findings will not yield useful results.
Who is responsible for the survey?
In order to have clarity, it is important to have a leader, preferably from the HR department and a smamulti-level cross-functional team to handle the survey. The team should have clear allocation of roles with regard to who plans the survey, who collects data, who reports to the management, who implements the measures, who conducts the follow-up, etc.
What is the purpose of the survey?
The objectives of the survey and the outcomes you expect out of it have to be framed before designing a survey. The objectives of an employee satisfaction survey could be related to the employees’ current levels of satisfaction with their job, or the organizational climate, or the policies of the organization, or to find what they like or dislike at work so that you can fix the problems. Whatever your objective is, it is crucial to design the survey with focus on the specific goals to get the best outcomes and actionable insights.
What are you going to measure?
Depending on the identified goals, you can select the parameters you want to measure and frame your questionnaire based on that. The survey can be quantitative or qualitative in nature. Periodic surveys are usually designed to have questions that are both qualitative and quantitative to both measure satisfaction levels and also to listen to the employees.
How are you going to conduct the survey?
Surveys can nowadays be conducted using software and on online platforms. They help employees answer the questions anonymously and honestly without the fear of being identified.
2. Creating the questionnaire
After the planning phase, the questionnaire is created. Following are a few things to keep in mind while creating the questionnaire.
Keep it short and focused
Lengthy questionnaires make it less interesting and takes a long time for the employees to answer. So, keep the questionnaire short and focused so that the employees can complete it during a break or available free time. If the survey is long, the employees may want to get it over soon and may fill it with less accurate answers, or they may not complete the survey. So it is important to keep the questionnaire short and focused on bringing the desired outcomes.
Ask the right questions
All the employee satisfaction survey questions should be aligned to the objectives of the survey. Including unrelated questions does not serve the purpose. Keep the usual survey questions you ask regularly in every survey so that you can compare the findings from previous survey with this one. These questions are usually quantitative, with a clear ratings scale so that you can clearly measure those parameters and compare. When you want definitive answers on something, you can add some closed ended questions. These questions can be more in number, as a simple yes/no makes it easy for the employees to fill the questionnaire. You can add some open-ended questions when you want to listen to the opinions and feedback of the employees. But they can take a long time to fill. So, it is better to limit them to only a few questions.
Use clear and simple language
Ask clear questions in a simple language and avoid ambiguities. The employee satisfaction survey questions should be easily understood by the employees. Maintain a neutral tone, as the way you coin the sentences can imply different meanings and can confuse the employees. As a result, the answers you get may not reflect the reality. You can also avoid combining multiple questions into one, as it can yield unusable or conflicting information.
3. Communicate with your employees
Explain the rationale of the survey, elaborate on the plan and give a thorough debriefing to everyone in the team that conducts the survey. This will ensure that everyone has a uniform understanding and everything goes according to the plan. After that, communicate with the employees regarding the survey through emails and staff meetings so that they will be aware of it and get ready for it in advance. After the completion of survey, the results and findings should be communicated to the employees by the team in a timely manner with all the supporting data.
4. Inferences and Interpretations
While interpreting the data, the findings may not necessarily match the expectations. So, it is important for the team and the management to approach them with an open mind. It is important to compare the findings with the previous surveys and analyze how the employee satisfaction levels have increased/decreased. You can also benchmark your findings against the findings from other departments to understand how different factors affect the satisfaction levels in different departments; you can apply learnings from one department to another to improve satisfaction levels. You can also compare your findings against the employee satisfaction of a competitor to see how you stack up against similar organizations, and also to review and implement best practices. When problems are identified, the team should come up with suitable changes and remedies.
5. Action Plan
The ultimate purpose of the survey is to identify what needs to be done in order to have better employee satisfaction. So, the findings must lead to recommendations and a clear plan of action to implement measures that will address the problems. If the findings are not used to make any changes, then the employees will feel that their opinions and feedback were not taken into account and will lose faith in the exercise. It will be counter-productive. In contrast, when suitable measures are implemented based on the findings, the employees will be motivated, happy and more engaged.
An infinite loop of feedback and improvement
Ultimately, employee satisfaction surveys are not isolated exercises, but an unending process of constantly listening to the employees and improving their experience in the organization. While it is important to conduct formal surveys periodically, organizations are moving beyond that. They constantly listen to the employees by continuously engaging with them. They identify the key issues through the survey and carefully plan and initiate strategic conversations on these topics. This helps to make the employees feel more connected with the organization, respected and listened to. It also helps organizations have deeper insights on the problems and respond quickly to challenges. It creates a more transparent and conducive organizational culture that creates a positive work environment where employees are happier and satisfied.
Download the employee satisfaction survey template Download PDF Here.