Have you ever thought about how you feel at work? Probably, since we all spend a big chunk of our time on the job. It is amazing how diverse the experience can be at different places, companies, points in our life – that’s because our employee satisfaction depends on a plethora of factors, many of which we tend to overlook.
All you really think about is that you either feel good or not. And that is a wonderful thing; if the brain analyzed everything surrounding us, we would not be able to function properly.
However, job contentment scores are incredibly important for businesses. So, from a manager/business owner’s standpoint, it will be valuable to take a deeper look into it and find out what exactly drives employee satisfaction.
Let’s start from the very beginning – what is employee satisfaction really?
It is a measurement used by HR teams to refer to how happy an employee is with their job, including the workplace, collective and experience at work as a whole. Usually measured with anonymous surveys, it is utilized in order to evaluate corporate culture and make adjustments where needed. Though, to make effective alterations the feedback needs to be precise – following that thread of thought backwards, an efficient survey would need to include questions that get straight to the point.
Not just ‘are you satisfied?’, we need to know more. Well, as mentioned above, people rarely sit down and think about the exact reason why they dislike something. HR specialists need to help them figure this out – and studies in the area already have the answers for us!
Employee Satisfaction Factors
According to the 2-Factor Theory by Frederick Herzberg, there are two main groups of components that will influence how employees feel at work: external and internal ones. Under the external heading reside management, working conditions, pay, and safety, while the internal or ‘motivational’ factors are believed to be recognition, accountability, performance level and development opportunities.
Now, what sets them apart is that when external (hygiene) factors are positively assessed by employees, they do not contribute to boosting employee satisfaction. But the lack of them can increase dissatisfaction. In other words, they need to be maintained at an adequate level, but improving them beyond that would not result in further boosting contentment rates. On the opposite hand, the improvement of internal components does have a positive impact on satisfaction scores.
Having this theory in mind, we ought to measure all elements to have a good understanding of current workplace culture and its effect on colleagues. HR professionals should make sure the external factors are stable while playing with internal ones to increase satisfaction levels. Here is a graph to make everything a bit clearer:
When it comes to putting these factors in a hierarchy by importance, we might be faced with an issue – this all depends on the job role. Not to worry though, here are the most valued job features sorted by sector:
Hygiene is more valued in:
- Commercial fishing
- Power Plant Operations
- Food Processing
- Police and Criminal Investigation
- Power Distribution
While Motivators are more important in:
- Health Services
- Information Security
- Real Estate
- Creative Businesses
A basic rule of thumb to stick to blue-collar workers are more concerned with hygiene when it comes to enjoying what they do, whereas white-collar workers prefer that motivators are attended to. Still, those are big groups of sub-factors – which ones take the cake? According to an evaluation study, the most crucial aspects rated by employees were namely:
- The atmosphere at work (external)
- Stability of employment (internal)
- Good relationships with coworkers (both)
- Good relationships with superiors (both)
Creating an Employee Satisfaction Survey and the 20 Best Questions to Include
Here’s a stable foundation to build a unique satisfaction survey on! Of course, consider the line of work you are in and think of the most important specifics in the sector to enquire about. The most common practice used to be sending out an annual survey over email, however, companies have started to adapt to working remotely now – which means maintaining a positive workplace culture is essential to upkeep efficiency.
Satisfaction reports cannot wait, and regular short questionnaires are slowly becoming the norm. It is up to you how long you make the feedback form, but we would advise that about 10 questions every 1-3 months would be ideal. Whether you would like to focus on external/internal factors or do a few queries for each, will depend on the way you want to process the data – basically what you think will be easier to analyze. It goes without saying the surveys should be anonymous, so do not take advantage of software that can record data about your respondents with the premise you won’t use it.
Make it clear in the email you send out that the questionnaire is completely anonymous, to ensure coworkers will be as honest as possible without holding back.
Another great tip for constructing the best survey is to keep things simple. No business jargon or long points are needed – short and sweet is the way to go. Complicated questions can be overwhelming, while too many of them will likely result in respondents clicking off before finishing the whole thing. It is better to be consistent throughout the year, rather than slap 50 questions on a form and send it out in December.
It’s not a requirement and there is no deadline – your goal should be to collect good data and catch on to positive and negative trends within the company while they are happening. If you are using software that allows it, add a Likert scale or a slider to get a more nuanced view of the data. Open-ended questions are not particularly what you want to emphasize on, however, do always include an option for comment, ensuring that colleagues can voice their opinion on all topics.
To gain further insight into the inner workings of employees’ happiness triggers, here come the 25 questions you must sprinkle out in your employee satisfaction surveys… Yes, that is about half the questions you need in a year, you are certainly welcome. 😉
25 Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions
- Do you feel comfortable in your workspace?
- Do you have the resources and tools needed to do your job well?
- Does your team feel like a safe space to share thoughts and ideas?
- Do employees in the company get rewarded appropriately for good work?
- Are you treated respectfully as an individual at work?
- Do you feel your job is stable?
- Is your team leader/manager invested in your success?
- Do you feel comfortable sharing with your manager?
- Does your job use your skills and abilities effectively?
- Do you ever feel worried about losing your job/being moved to a different department?
- What is your mood today?
- Are there opportunities present for you to learn and develop new skills?
- Do you feel valued within the company?
- Do you feel like you can go to a teammate if you do not have the answer to a question?
- Do you feel your personal health is safe while at work?
- Is the work you do engage enough?
- Do you often feel intellectually rewarded after finishing a project?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
- Is monetary compensation sufficient for the effort you put in?
- Are employees in the company held accountable for their behaviour?
- How easy is it to get promoted?
- Do you have any colleagues that have turned into friends?
- Does your manager let you know when there are development opportunities?
- What is something in the business that needs to be changed?
- If you were to quit your job tomorrow, what would the reasoning be?
Such a long list of things to consider! Do we really need to? Employee satisfaction sounds like so time-consuming to understand, measure, and also control… But it is essential, let us show you why.
Why it is important
Happy colleagues come off as upbeat and helpful when working in a customer-facing role. If employee satisfaction levels are high, employees become more engaged with the company’s goals and achievements, they start to identify with the business and treat it as their own. Which inevitably leads to a top-notch customer experience, pleasant work culture and customer loyalty.
Forbes has even cited employee engagement to be the wonder drug for customer satisfaction.
In fact, studies have found that employee satisfaction indirectly relates to profitability and that this relationship is mediated by no other than customer satisfaction. It sounds a bit counterproductive at first, but if you want to increase profit, you should focus on your human resources, rather than production and revenues.
When employees feel appreciated and are treated right, that is when the returns will surprise you delightfully. Moreover, since happy employees are less prone to turnover, the customer will always see familiar places and feel part of the family as well!
Ahh yes, you did not miss that, did you? If you have read our latest article on Talent Mobility, you would be familiar with how costly it is to replace a productive employee who’s recently left the company. We’ll give you an idea if you’re not sure – the numbers can quickly get astronomical… About 33% of a worker’s annual salary. And that is not all – on average, workers go through 12 jobs in their lifetime. It is being hypothesized that as baby boomers are quickly exiting the workforce, this number can increase. Can we do something about it?
Yes, and here come the happy statistics: according to Gallup, businesses with high employee satisfaction are 76% more successful in lowering turnover! Don’t need to train new staff every 3-4 years, employee retention is the way to go. That sounds amazing, right? It has been suggested that thinking about quitting one’s job is the most probable outcome of dissatisfaction at the workplace since employees start to engage in withdrawal behaviours with the discontent increasing.
As already stated, costs resulting from workers leaving their roles can be terrifying and an easy way to slip into debt, followed by crashing one’s business to the ground. Since this can be avoided by attending to your colleagues’ needs, we cannot see a better reason to become more aware of employee satisfaction in the future.
Actually… There is another really good one.
Pleased employees have been found to be 20% percentage more productive than their unhappy counterparts. It is remarkable how the way we work and our motivation truly depend on workplace ethics and interpersonal relationships. This phenomenon has been dubbed ‘The Happiness Advantage’ by Harvard Researcher and best-selling author Shawn Achor. In his book on the topic, he showcases that happy employees are way more productive, creative, effortless communicators, and efficient with their tasks.
There is likewise lots of scientific research done on this topic and the conclusion is always favourable for companies. For example, employee satisfaction proved to be related to an increase in stock prices for Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work for”. Their cost rose 14% per year from 1998 to 2005, whereas for businesses not on the list the increase was just 6%. So, do you want high achievers who are always motivated to do better? There is no trick or hiring technique to ensure you’ve got them; instead put the already existing workforce at the top of your priority list, because happiness is key!
In conclusion, it turns out that employee satisfaction is crucial for workplace wellbeing, makes a lot of business sense, and it is not that hard to look after, or improve. When it comes to benefits, we have only mentioned 3, but bear in mind that everything within a company is strongly related and just a few deep advancements can dictate the success of your business. Now that you know all about the building blocks behind employee satisfaction, you will be able to better understand the moving mechanisms under workplace culture… and maybe change gears so that the work experience flows as smoothly as possible. Good luck!