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How To Create An Employee Satisfaction Survey

9 min read
HR meeting to discuss employee satisfaction surveys

Statistics show that 89% of HR professionals believe employee satisfaction surveys are an effective tool in the workplace, but why is it that only around 37% of UK organisations are using them as a way to improve their workplaces?

With UK employees feeling the impact of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis, it’s more important than ever that employees feel safe and valued in their workplace and that company culture fosters a sense of security.

Engagement surveys are an effective way to keep your finger on the pulse, but employee satisfaction surveys take this one step further and dig deeper into how your employees are feeling about their job. In this article, we’ll explain their benefits and how to construct them.


What is an Employee Satisfaction Survey?

An employee satisfaction survey is a tool used by organisations to measure and assess the overall satisfaction levels of their employees.

It typically consists of a series of questions designed to gather feedback and insights from employees about their employee experience and opinions regarding various aspects of their work environment, job responsibilities, management, benefits, and overall job satisfaction.

Satisfaction surveys aim to provide valuable information to employers about the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction. The collected data helps organisations identify areas of strength and areas that may require improvement, allowing them to make informed decisions and implement strategies to enhance employee morale, productivity, and retention.

Employee Satisfaction Surveys vs. Employee Engagement Surveys

You might be thinking: But we conduct employee engagement surveys, isn’t that just the same thing?

Not exactly. Both can serve the same purpose of understanding employee experiences. However, there are some distinct differences between satisfaction and engagement surveys.

Employee satisfaction surveys tend to be narrower and more specific in their focus. They aim to gauge the overall satisfaction levels of employees by assessing various aspects such as work environment, job responsibilities, management, and compensation. The happiness levels of the here and now.

These surveys are typically conducted more regularly and are considered “light touch” assessments, providing a snapshot of employee satisfaction at a given point in time. Also known as a ‘pulse survey‘.

On the other hand, employee engagement surveys are your typical annual employee survey. They have a broader scope. They delve into factors that drive employee motivation, commitment, and emotional connection to their work and the organisation. Engagement surveys explore aspects such as alignment with company values, opportunities for growth, and employee involvement.

These surveys are often conducted less frequently, as they require more in-depth analysis to gain a comprehensive understanding of the organisation’s overall employee engagement levels.


Why are Employee Satisfaction Surveys Important?

A recent YouGov survey revealed that 45% of UK workers ‘like’ their job, but only 17% ‘love’ their job. Combined, this totals 62% of the workforce who are at least satisfied with their role.

At first glance, this sounds like a good enough proportion of the workforce. However, this leaves a whopping 38% of people who are dissatisfied with their job. Employee satisfaction surveys play a key role in converting those who aren’t satisfied, whilst keeping those who are, happy.

Let’s look at some of the specific reasons why employee surveys should be common practice in your organisation:

Identifies Areas for Improvement

By collecting feedback from employees about their experiences and perceptions, organisations can pinpoint specific areas that require attention. Whether it’s addressing issues related to work environment or communication the insights gained from satisfaction surveys enable employers to make informed decisions and implement targeted strategies for enhancing employee satisfaction and overall work experience.

Enhances Communication and Trust

Conducting satisfaction surveys demonstrates that the organisation values employee feedback and fosters an open and transparent culture. When employees see their opinions being heard and acted upon, it enhances trust and strengthens the employer employee relationship. This, in turn, leads to higher job satisfaction.

Boosts Retention

When employees feel happy in their jobs, they will want to stay put. By actively seeking feedback through satisfaction surveys, organisations can demonstrate their commitment to understanding and addressing employee needs and, as a result, reduce the chance of employees deciding to move on and boost retention.

Supports Decision-Making

Surveys provide data-driven insights that can inform decision-making processes. By collecting and analysing employee feedback, organisations can make important changes to policies, benefits, training programmes, and other initiatives aimed at improving employee satisfaction.

Improves Performance

Employee satisfaction and overall performance come hand in hand. Satisfied employees are more productive as they enjoy what they are doing on a day-to-day basis. By understanding the factors that drive satisfaction, organisations can make strategic changes to enhance employee performance.

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What Should an Employee Satisfaction Survey Cover?

What areas should be covered in an employee satisfaction survey? Let’s take a look:

  1. Work Environment

Assessing factors such as physical comfort, cleanliness, safety, and resources available to perform the job.

  1. Job Responsibilities

Evaluating employees’ level of clarity and understanding of their roles and responsibilities, as well as their perceived workload and job challenges.

  1. Supervision and Management

Gathering feedback on employees’ satisfaction with their immediate supervisors, their communication style, feedback and recognition practices, and overall leadership effectiveness.

  1. Compensation and Benefits

Exploring employees’ perceptions of their salary, current benefits package, bonuses, and opportunities for growth and career development.

  1. Work-Life Balance

Examining employees’ ability to balance their work commitments with personal life, including flexible work arrangements, annual leave policies, and support for personal wellbeing.

  1. Team Dynamics and Collaboration

Assessing the quality of teamwork and collaboration among colleagues.

  1. Communication and Feedback

Gathering feedback on the effectiveness and frequency of communication channels, as well as opportunities for employees to provide feedback and suggestions.

HR team discussing the feedback from employee satisfaction surveys

Preparing for the survey

Before conducting an employee satisfaction survey, it is crucial to properly prepare to ensure that the survey is as effective as possible and provides maximum insight into employee satisfaction.

1. Decide on the Collection Method

There are various options available, such as online surveys, paper-based surveys, or even interviews. Online surveys are often the preferred option as, from an administrative perspective, they are much more straightforward. It’s also easier to manage data and protect the anonymity of those responding to the survey.

Organisations should bear in mind the capabilities of their workforce – for instance, is the team computer literate?

1. Determine the Frequency

Ideally, employee satisfaction surveys should be conducted regularly to track changes and trends over time. There’s no one size fits all approach here, but bi-monthly or quarterly surveys can provide a good balance between regular feedback and avoiding survey fatigue. However, the frequency can vary depending on specific needs and resources.

Identify Areas of Focus

On top of that, consider the areas you want to learn more about as an organisation. Identify the key aspects of the work environment, management, communication, compensation, or any other relevant factors where you believe feedback would be valuable. By clearly defining the survey’s focus areas, it will help ensure that the questions are meaningful to your organisation.

Consider Anonymity

Again, there are no firm rules about surveys and anonymity – there are actually pros and cons to both. Anonymous surveys can generate more honest feedback. However, it can limit you as an organisation in terms of how you address specific feedback, when you don’t know who it came from.

Going for a balance of both is usually a strong approach. Assure employees that their responses will be kept confidential and that their identities will not be revealed. This will mean that you can access who said what, but it also allows you to pinpoint any particular pockets of dissatisfaction in the organisation.

Alternatively, you could anonymise the surveys in terms of employee names but require details on their department. This would mean employees cannot be identified, but the organisation can narrow down which area the issue originated from.

How to Develop the Right Questions

One of the main aspects of creating an effective employee satisfaction survey is developing the right set of questions that capture the information you need. By investing time and effort in developing well-crafted questions, you increase the chances of gathering accurate and meaningful data to guide your organisation. Here are some steps to help you develop impactful employee satisfaction survey questions:

  1. Determine the Type of Questions 

Consider the types of questions that will best suit your objectives. There are generally two types of questions: closed-ended (which provide a predefined answer) and open-ended (which allows free-form responses). Open-ended questions allow employees to provide more detailed feedback, while closed-ended questions help facilitate data analysis and comparison.

  1. Use Clear and Unambiguous Language

Craft questions using clear and straightforward language to make sure everyone knows exactly what it is you’re asking. Avoid jargon or technical terms that may confuse employees. Keep the questions concise and to the point to maintain clarity.

  1. Avoid Leading or Biased Questions

Ensure that your questions are neutral and unbiased to obtain unbiased responses. Avoid leading questions that steer employees towards a particular answer. Instead, strive for balanced and objective wording to elicit honest and genuine feedback.

  1. Cover Relevant Topics

Identify the key areas you want to assess in your survey and ensure that your questions cover these topics comprehensively. Consider aspects such as job satisfaction, communication, personal growth and professional development. Including a mix of broad and specific questions will provide a comprehensive view of employee satisfaction.

  1. Consider the Order and Flow 

Organise your questions in a logical way. Begin with introductory questions that set the context and ease employees into the survey. Being aware of the employee experience will ensure the survey is smooth and intuitive.

Satisfaction Survey Questions

But what are the essential employee satisfaction survey questions every great survey should ask? Here are just a few examples that organisations should include in employee satisfaction surveys:

  1. Pay Related
  • Are you satisfied with your current salary?
  • Do you believe your salary is competitive within the industry?
  • Are there any concerns you have regarding your pay or benefits?
  1. Role Related
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your current job?
  • Do you feel that your job responsibilities align with your initial expectations?
  • Are you provided with enough opportunities for professional growth and development?
  • Are you clear about your performance expectations and goals?
  1. Working Conditions Related
  • How would you rate the overall work environment?
  • Are the resources and tools provided to you adequate for carrying out your tasks efficiently?
  • Do you feel your workload is manageable?
  1. Management Related
  • Do you believe your supervisors provide effective guidance and support?
  • Are you satisfied with the communication channels and feedback mechanisms within your team?
  1. Work-Life Balance Related
  • Do you feel that you have a healthy work-life balance?
  • Are flexible work arrangements available and encouraged?
  • Do you have the necessary support to manage personal and professional commitments?
  1. Feedback and Suggestions
  • Do you have any feedback or suggestions for improving the workplace?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share regarding your experience with the company?

hr managers meeting to discuss feedback from employee satisfaction surveys

What Should Organisations Do With the Data?

According to research by Quantum Workplace, around 45% of organisations fail to take any action or make improvements based on the data collected from employee surveys.

Once the employee satisfaction survey has been conducted and the responses have been collected, it’s then important to analyse the data and take any necessary action. Sitting on the data and filing it away could actually lead to employees becoming dissatisfied.

So, let’s take a look at what to do once the responses are in:

Analyse the Data

Start by organising and analysing the survey data. This involves identifying patterns, trends, and areas of concern. Pay attention to both individual question responses and the overall satisfaction levels. It can also be really useful to utilise data visualisation techniques such as charts or graphs to help interpret the findings effectively.

Identify Priority Areas

Based on the analysis, identify priority areas for improvement. Look for recurring themes, issues, or areas where employee satisfaction is particularly low. It could be related to specific departments, processes, or aspects of the work environment. By prioritising these areas, organisations can focus their efforts on addressing the most critical concerns.

Make a Plan of Action

Once priority areas have been identified, develop action plans to address them. Involve relevant stakeholders, such as managers and department heads, to brainstorm and propose potential solutions. Set clear objectives, strategies, and timelines for implementing the necessary changes.

Communicate the Findings

Transparently communicate the survey results to employees. Share the overall findings and the action plans being implemented to address the identified issues. This demonstrates that employee feedback has been taken seriously and shows a commitment to positive change. Openly communicating the results also encourages ongoing dialogue and collaboration with employees, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Implement the Action Plan and Follow-up

Execute any action plans in line with what was communicated to the workforce. Regularly communicate progress and updates to employees to keep them informed. Monitor the impact of the implemented changes and gather feedback to assess their effectiveness. Consider conducting follow-up surveys to measure employee satisfaction and evaluate if the implemented strategies have positively influenced employee satisfaction levels.

Continuous Improvement

Employee satisfaction is an ongoing process, and it is essential to continuously assess and improve upon the work environment and employee experiences. Regular satisfaction surveys will track progress over time, identify emerging issues, and gauge the effectiveness of implemented changes. By continuously seeking feedback and taking action, organisations can foster a culture of continuous improvement and enhance employee satisfaction in the long run.

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Amy is a knowledgeable People professional with over a decade of experience across a variety of private and public sector organisations. With a particular interest in employee engagement, Amy is an advocate for employee-centric approaches in all areas of HR which is reflected in her writing. Before a career in HR, Amy read English and Creative Writing at university and later studied for her CIPD, HR Management.

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