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Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Questions, Tips, Benefits

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11 min read
employee sat at her desk completing a survey for employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is crucial to your business. If you’ve got a happy team of individuals that are content with their jobs and their work environment, they’ll be more productive – in fact, one study found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees.

So how can you measure employee satisfaction and figure out where you need to improve your benefits package to increase employee satisfaction? The answer lies in employee satisfaction surveys.

Employee satisfaction surveys help you measure your team’s satisfaction and identify points where your organisation needs to improve. They can be vital to reducing labour turnover and increasing retention, so if you’re not sending out employee satisfaction surveys, you need to start now.

Let’s dive into what employee satisfaction surveys are, the benefits of using them and some of the top questions you should be asking your teams.

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What Are Employee Satisfaction Surveys?

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Sometimes known as employee engagement surveys, employee satisfaction surveys give you actionable data on how you can improve employee satisfaction and experience within your company.

The purpose of an employee satisfaction survey is to give you insight into how you can improve your processes to keep your employees happy. You’ll also gain knowledge of how well new initiatives are working to improve employee satisfaction, and whether they need further work to make employees feel valued.

If you analyse the satisfaction survey data correctly, you can create a positive work environment, increase employee morale and create a better workplace culture in ways that your team actually wants, ultimately improving employee retention.

Employee Satisfaction Survey Types

There are three different types of employee satisfaction surveys that you can present to your team. Each helps you to gather employee feedback in different ways:

  • Standard survey: Sets of questions arranged into categories regarding the company and the team that the individual works in
  • 360-degree: A whole-company satisfaction survey that is more general, giving you a view of the company as a whole rather than of specific teams or managers
  • Pulse survey: A way to quickly gauge how employees feel about your organisation and what morale is like

You may need to test out each method of conducting employee satisfaction surveys to see which one works best for your business.

To get the most out of your employee satisfaction survey, you want to ask a variety of questions that give your team members the option to answer in different ways. You can format your questions in lots of different ways, including:

  • Yes/no answers
  • Multiple choice
  • Dropdowns
  • Sliding scales: e.g. asking someone to rate something between ‘highly unlikely’ and ‘highly likely’
  • Rating scales: e.g. asking individuals to rate something between 1-5 or 1-10

Mixing up the way that team members answer the survey questions will help reduce survey fatigue, where respondents lose interest in your surveys because the questions are too repetitive. Other causes of survey fatigue are including too many questions and asking your team to complete too many surveys over a short period of time.

So now we know what employee satisfaction surveys are, but why are they worth carrying out?

Why Conduct Employee Satisfaction Surveys?

There are lots of benefits to carrying out an employee satisfaction survey in your organisation. Let’s take a look at the most important ones to show you why it’s worth carrying out your own survey in your business.

Gives you a better understanding of your team

hr manager sat down with an employee discussing employee feedback

HR professionals and other members of the management team in large businesses can often find it difficult to get a sense of how their teams are doing on a daily basis. That being said, leaders in small to medium-sized businesses might find it hard to understand their people too, so regular satisfaction surveys can help you get an insight into how your team is feeling.

One way to interpret employee surveys that can help you understand your team is sentiment analysis. This involves analysing your team’s written responses and determining whether the sentiment is positive, negative or neutral.

Often what may sound like a positive statement on the face of it may actually have negative undertones, and it’s important that you can spot this when it happens. Look into improving your emotional intelligence if you find this particularly difficult.

Gives your staff a chance to be heard

Lots of employees are scared to express negative views to the leadership team. One study found that 50% of employees keep quiet about issues they have at work. But encouraging everyone to complete a survey that has anonymous responses gives individuals a chance to be heard without fear of impacting their career development, being publicly reprimanded or even losing their job.

An employee satisfaction survey is a platform to give teams so they can speak up safely, and this helps staff feel valued. 74% of employees feel more engaged at work when their voice is heard, and when they’re more engaged, they’ll be more effective at their jobs.

Predicts and reduces employee turnover

Employee satisfaction surveys are a fantastic way to reduce your turnover as you’ll find out the biggest issues your team is facing. Once you know what they are, you can work to eliminate them to prevent your staff from leaving.

Since it can cost up to £12,000 to hire a new member of staff on an average salary, it’s well worth holding onto the team you’ve got. Once you know what’s affecting your team the most, put steps into place to reduce that stressor or problem to hold onto your valued team members.

These employee surveys will also help you to predict your labour turnover. Not only will you be able to see what might trigger the next exit of staff, but you’ll also be able to interpret the survey data to ascertain whether teams are around for the long term or whether they want to leave in the next few months.

Helps you track your organisation’s growth

An employee satisfaction survey can help you see whether your business is heading in the right direction.

Your team’s answers will show you whether your leaders are empowering individuals in the right way and whether your staff are getting the training they want and need. Since 58% of workers say they’re likely to leave their job if they’re not getting the right development opportunities, you need to make sure you’re watching out for this.

Your satisfaction survey will help you to get a feel for what your company culture is like. Is it one that encourages innovation and creativity? Perhaps it’s showing that it’s a bit stagnant. Whatever the survey results reveal, you can use that data to make changes where they’re needed. You can also compare different departments to see whether there are any differences in how different teams feel about their management team and the company’s culture.

Boosts employee engagement

engaged employees sat next to each other at a table smiling

Overall, employee satisfaction surveys boost employee engagement because they feel valued and heard. But you do need to act on the survey results to see the benefits.

Surveys give you insight into what you need to add to your employee benefits package to increase morale and job satisfaction among your teams. You’ll also be able to tell which initiatives are working and which aren’t, allowing you to pivot and make changes quickly before anything has a negative impact.

A Gallup study showed that organisations with highly engaged employees reduce their turnover by 18% and increase profitability by 23% – so it’s vital that you keep your teams engaged by acting on the feedback you receive.

Example Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions

So what questions should you be asking in your employee satisfaction survey to get the greatest insight into team morale and your company culture?

We’ve broken down our example employee satisfaction survey questions into categories so you can choose the best ones for your business:

Job satisfaction

  • Do you feel your work is meaningful and valued?
  • Do you know what you need to do to meet your goals and objectives?
  • Are you given enough freedom to decide how to do your work?
  • Is your workload reasonable?
  • Do you have the tools you need to do your job well?
  • How well do you feel your job description matches your responsibilities?

Company culture

  • Do you feel valued within the company?
  • Are you proud to work for our company?
  • Do you think the company is open to change?
  • Do you feel connected to your colleagues?
  • How well does the company communicate important information?
  • Are you satisfied working for the company?
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Professional growth

  • Do you get the development opportunities that you want?
  • Do you feel there is room for you to grow at the company?
  • Do you think the company offers enough opportunities for career development and promotions?
  • Do you see yourself advancing your career at the company?

Manager relationships

  • Does your line manager value your opinions?
  • Do you feel like your efforts are appreciated by the leadership team?
  • Does management seem invested in the team’s success?
  • Do you get useful feedback from your line manager?

Benefits and compensation

  • How well are you paid for the work you do?
  • How competitive do you think your benefits programme is?
  • Do you think there is enough mental health support at the company?
  • How likely are you to get leave when you need it?
  • What would you like to change about your current benefits package?

Work-life balance

  • How would you rate your work-life balance?
  • How stressed do you feel on a typical workday?
  • Does the company provide you with enough annual leave?
  • Do you have to work in the evenings or at the weekend to finish your tasks?

Remember that you can use different answer types to help you get the information you want from your employee satisfaction survey. For example, you could use a yes/no answer for ‘Do you have to work in the evenings or at the weekend to finish your tasks?’, but you could also use a sliding scale to ascertain whether your teams sometimes, often or never have to work late to finish their jobs.

How to Improve Employee Satisfaction Survey Results

a laptop on a desk showing survey results in a pie chart and bar graph

While you of course want to see your employee satisfaction survey results improve, the main thing you want to focus on is actually improving your team’s satisfaction! Once you’ve acted on the survey data you’ve collected, you should see your staff’s satisfaction improve.

Measuring employee satisfaction can be tricky when you’ve got lots of open-ended answers, ratings or yes/no answers to interpret. But there are two key KPIs you can use you help you measure improvement in employee satisfaction: eNPS and ESI.

Employee net promoter score (eNPS)

The employee net promoter score, or eNPS, gives you an easy way to identify how many engaged employees you have in your organisation. Originally, net promoter scores were used as a measure of customer loyalty, but businesses soon realised they could use it to measure how many ambassadors they have for their company.

To calculate your organisation’s eNPS, include this question in your employee satisfaction survey:

How likely are you to recommend our company as a place to work?

Give your team members the opportunity to answer on a scale of 1-10.

Once you’ve got the results, you can categorise each individual as:

  • Detractors (scores between 0-6)
  • Passives (scores between 7-8)
  • Promoters (scores between 9-10)

Then use simple subtraction to come up with your eNPS:

eNPS = % of promoters – % of detractors

If the majority of your team members are detractors and/or neutrals, you know you’ve got a bit of work to do to improve employee engagement. If you’ve got lots of promoters, great work! But remember not to rest on your laurels and still look at ways to improve your company’s culture.

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Employee satisfaction index (ESI)

Another good KPI to track is the employee satisfaction index, or ESI. This measures job satisfaction among your team members. This KPI focuses on your team’s sense of fulfilment and happiness in their role rather than their commitment to your organisation.

Calculating the ESI is slightly more complex as you’ll need to ask more questions and do an equation to get the result.

Include the following questions in your employee survey and ask them to rate them between 1-10:

  • How would you rate your job satisfaction?
  • How well does your job meet your expectations?
  • How close is your job to your ideal role?

Once you’ve got the results, you’ll need to calculate the mean value of each question and then add them together.

Then use the following equation to calculate your company’s ESI:

ESI = (((question mean value/3)-1)/9) x 100

You’ll get a number between 1-100. A higher score means your team has higher job satisfaction.

Use these two scores alongside your analysis of the rest of the survey data to get an idea of your organisation’s overall satisfaction.

So, now you know how satisfied your employees are, how do you go about improving it? There are 4 strategies you should focus on first:

Make career advancement and development a priority

One of the most important things to a lot of employees is that they feel like they can advance their careers in their workplace. In fact, Forbes found that over 55% of employees feel that career growth is more important than compensation.

So if you’re not offering enough chances for learning and development in your company, you need to start working on it now. Instilling a learning culture in your organisation is crucial to your company’s success; firms with a strong learning culture are 46% more likely to be first to market, have 37% higher productivity and are 92% more likely to innovate.

All this is down to employees feeling more valued and engaged with your company since you care enough to nurture and develop them.

Assess your team’s salaries

When was the last time you checked your team’s salaries against market rates?

If it was over a year ago, you need to check them now. While career development is important to lots of team members, if their salaries are too low they will find a higher-paid job elsewhere.

Assess your team’s salaries across the board, then consider whether you need to give everyone a pay rise or close the gap between some departments’ salaries.

Make recognition and rewards part of your culture

a group of people sat around a table holding their drinks up in celebration

Recognition and rewards should be a main part of your company’s culture. Recognising your team members when they’ve done great work or gone beyond what’s expected of them is vital to increasing employee satisfaction.

Celebrate work anniversaries and recognise good work on your company messaging platform to help team members feel valued. Consider building a peer-to-peer recognition programme to give individuals the opportunity to nominate their colleagues when they’ve done good work.

Offer flexible working

Flexible working is one of the most sought-after benefits employees look for in a company. 92% of millennials claim that workplace flexibility is a top priority when they’re job hunting – so if you’re not offering flexible working, employees will find it somewhere else.

Flexible working can come in lots of forms. While most employees want to work from home, that might not be possible in some organisations. But it doesn’t mean you can’t offer other measures.

You could give individuals the opportunity to work compressed hours to have a four-day week, set core hours so they can start earlier or later or give them fully-flexible working hours to give them a better work-life balance. Gartner’s 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey found that 43% of people said flexible working hours helped them be more productive, so as well as happier teams, you could have better-working ones too.

Employee Satisfaction Surveys Best Practices

a woman sitting at her table at home with her laptop and tablet with a sofa behind her

If you’ve never done one before, your first employee satisfaction survey might feel very new and unfamiliar to lots of your team members. But once you implement at least an annual employee survey, your employees will soon be comfortable with offering feedback and telling you what you need to do to improve your company’s culture.

Here are our top best practices for implementing great employee satisfaction surveys:

  • Assure confidentiality: Staff might be worried about giving honest feedback if they think their survey could be identified. Assure everyone that they are anonymous responses and no one will know which employee survey was theirs.
  • Be honest about how their feedback will be used: Lay out a policy or timeline that shows how you will use your team’s feedback and when they can expect to see changes based on the survey’s results.
  • Offer contact details for staff to get in touch: Some individuals might have questions about how the survey is run, or they might have concerns about confidentiality that they want to discuss with you. Advertise the contact details of HR managers or senior leaders involved in the survey so employees feel supported.
  • Communicate the results: If teams never hear about the results of the employee survey, they’re unlikely to fill in the next one since it’ll feel like their feedback didn’t go anywhere. Tell staff the results of the employee satisfaction survey then tell them what you’re going to do with those results to improve.
  • Create benchmarks: Once you’ve done your first annual survey, you’ll be able to set benchmarks for employee engagement and satisfaction. Do research on other businesses like yours to determine what your eNPS and ESI should be and set benchmarks and reasonable targets to improve your scores.

Using Factorial to Accurately Measure Employee Engagement

The eNPS is a great way to track your satisfied employees as it’s a measurable way of seeing the impact of the strategies you’ve put in place to improve engagement.

Automate and centralise your eNPS with Factorial so you can regularly monitor employee satisfaction and engagement.

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