August 29, 2017

How to Create Meaningful Employee Satisfaction Surveys


According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, “respectful treatment of all employees at all levels” is the most important factor in job satisfaction. It is therefore important that every company measures employee satisfaction as frequently as possible in order to gauge how satisfied their employees are in order to make sure that they are doing everything they can to improve employee retention and minimize turnover. One of the best ways to see how you are doing in terms of employee engagement and satisfaction is to create a meaningful employee satisfaction survey and send it out regularly to your staff to complete.

The point of employee satisfaction surveys is to provide enough information to build a positive work environment and to fix any shortcomings and problems that might exist within your organization. They usually measure burnout tendencies, loyalty, employee attitudes, experiences with management and other key indicators for employee satisfaction and engagement.

In order to get the most out of your employee satisfaction surveys, you have to ask the right questions on a regular basis and stay on top of the general employee sentiment within your company in order to increase the chances that the feedback you receive is going to be honest and, above all, useful.

If you haven’t implemented such a program yet, now is the time to stop guessing whether your employees are happy and start asking the right questions in order to truly know how satisfied your staff is working for you.

employee satisfaction survey

Getting the Proper Feedback

Your main goal should be to get everyone to participate in the survey and to make it easy for your employees to provide you with clear and purposeful answers to all your most important questions. Here’s where to start:

Use Clear Language

Avoid corporate language that not everyone is able to understand. Make sure your surveys read like an everyday conversation if you want them to result in sincere feedback. Make your sentences short and concise and avoid buzzwords such as “incentivize” or “core competency” – whatever that really means. Write your questions as if you were having a normal conversation over coffee.

Speaking of language, how you phrase the survey questions is also very important. Avoid ambiguity. The wrong wording or choice of words can change the way employees interpret the questions, which means that the resulting data might not be compatible with what you actually wanted to find out.

Guarantee Confidentiality

You want your team to be honest. This means that you need to offer them reassurance that their answers will be confidential. Consider making the survey anonymous to increase the sense of confidentiality.

Choose a Leader

It is usually best to put one senior HR representative in charge of employee satisfaction surveys. Their responsibilities should include conducting the survey, summarizing the key findings, analyzing the data and making sure that the company uses the results in the most effective way. If there are too many people participating in the process, there could be some confusion.

Use Technology

Don’t be afraid to create your surveys online or use some type of software or app. With the right follow-up tools, online employee satisfaction surveys can help you obtain high levels of participation as they are usually not only easier to use, but also easier to create and analyze. Automate and simplify any part of the process that you can.

employee satisfaction survey

Choosing the Right Questions

If you really want to see how your employees feel about the company, you need to ask the right questions. Here are some standard questions that have proven to be clear, concise and effective:

How challenging is your work?
How stressed do you feel during a typical week?
How meaningful do you think your work is?
Do you feel that your opinions are valuable to your coworkers?
How likely are you to look for another job outside the company?
Would you refer someone to work here?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your work-life balance?

Many companies use statements instead of questions to analyze employee satisfaction with a simple 5-point scale for each statement. Basically, you ask employees to read each statement and then rate it like this: strongly disagree (1), disagree (2), neutral (3), agree (4), strongly agree (5). These types of questions will also guarantee greater participation because they are easier to answer.

Here are some good ones to use if you prefer to take this route.

My responsibilities are clear.
I like my job.
I have confidence in my boss.
I get helpful feedback from my boss on a regular basis.
My manager has a sincere interest in my career.
My salary is fair.
I believe the company is going in the right direction.
I feel respected and valued.
You can divide the statements into groups.For example, ask employees to rate the statements about their jobs first, then about their boss, development opportunities within the company, salary and so forth.

What to Do with the Feedback

The person who is in charge of conducting the employee satisfaction survey (usually it’s senior HR staff member) should present the results to the team and suggest also changes to management if necessary after analyzing the results.

Make sure to compare and contrast each new survey with past results to see how you can improve your next survey. Benchmark your surveys and make comparisons between the departments/positions as well. This will allow you to know where you need to focus most of your attention when it comes to improving employee morale and satisfaction.