It makes sense that assessing employee satisfaction can tell you, well, if your employees are satisfied. But did you know that’s just the start?
Keeping a few fingers on the pulse of employee engagement can help you see whether you’re staying true to your company purpose, when you need to hire new talent, and when to get rid of some bad apples.
Think of it like the blood pressure of your company; employee satisfaction is an important health metric that, along with other criteria, can tell you whether you need to eat more greens or stick with your current program. The doctor is in—we’re sharing strategies for measuring employee satisfaction, interpreting the results, and most importantly, making changes.
Surveys: they’re like mindreading machines
Anonymous employee satisfaction surveys are probably the most popular way to assess employee satisfaction at all levels, andresearch shows that they really work. Online surveys can be cheap and simple for all the DIY-loving companies out there and for organizations that want outside help, there are plenty of off-the-shelf programs to purchase or companies to partner with for employee surveying.
Be sure to do an employee satisfaction survey at least once per year that features a mix of multiple-choice, rating, and free form response questions. We’ll get you started with a few zingers:
Do you feel connected to your coworkers?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you at work?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your work-life balance?
What makes you feel recognized at work?
Do you feel connected to our company purpose in your role?
If you were to leave this company tomorrow, what would the biggest reason be?
You might be surprised by how real people can get in anonymous comments, sharing things that they would otherwise be too hesitant to say. So be prepared for some great transparency!
Start surveying early. Earlier than you think you need to. Like, during the new hire onboarding process. Consider doing a non-anonymous survey of the new hire during their first week to get an engagement baseline for incoming employees, so you can compare that number against employees who are 1, 2, 5, 10 years in.
Are team members becoming more or less engaged as time goes on? Are middle managers more or less satisfied than C-suite employees? Starting early will get you to that level of insight.
In addition to establishing a baseline read on your new people, surveying during onboarding also presents a great opportunity to record the new hire’s opinion about the onboarding process. With the Talmundo app, you canautomate asking for new hire feedback—the software automatically reminds onboardees to share their thoughts and sends insights directly to HR.
Make insights work for you
Once you have the survey data in hand, it’s time to find ways to put it to work for your company. Facebook, for instance, has found that “simply asking our people how long they intend to stay is more than twice as accurate at foretelling their future turnover than machine-learning forecasts by an industry leader in predictive analytics,” according to Harvard Business Review.
They also found that employees who don’t fill out the company’s two annual surveys are more than twice as likely to leave within six months. How powerful would your HR team—and your company—be with these kinds of insights at your fingertips?
After surveying, dedicate the time to crunching data.
Look for trends within your entire organization and among smaller groups like the marketing department or sales department, or even smaller teams within those broader departments. (Note: if you’d like to analyze this type of data, you will need to ask employees to specify which team they are on while clarifying that they don’t need to provide further identifying information.)
Compare results to past surveys to identify trendlines over time.
Hone in on links. Are poor managers or toxic employees poisoning teams? Are certain managers or departments thriving, and can they share positive strategies with others?
Compare against industry benchmarks whenever possible. Is your organization beating the competition? Hot tip: This can provide a competitive edge when recruiting.
Identify your key performance indicators – For example, you may see that the employees who answer 1 through 6 to the question “On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your work-life balance?” leave your company at a higher rate than those who answer 7 through 10.
Armed with these insights, you can pinpoint where you’re rocking it and, putting it positively, where there's room for improvement.
For those areas with room for improvement…
Time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Improving employee satisfaction means acting on feedback gained through employee satisfaction surveys—otherwise, what’s the point?
If you found that employees consistently rate their work-life balance poorly, consider hosting a “community forum” to gather suggestions for improvement. If team members are engaged during the onboarding stage but consistently become less satisfied at time goes on, consider lengthening the onboarding process.
The good news: just doing an employee survey can put you on the path toward improvement. Research shows that asking questions can influence behavior; Harvard Business Review explains that asking people whether they’d like to volunteer with the American Cancer Society for a few hours can increase volunteering rates from 4% to 31%.
Still, sometimes it’s just not possible to make the changes that your employees ask for. Who’s got the money for an employee swimming pool filled with champagne?