What Are the Benefits of an Employee Satisfaction Survey?

Employee satisfaction surveys are integral to employee engagement surveys, but what differentiates the two types? The answer lies in the unique way satisfaction drives engagement.

Ever since the phrase “the customer is always right” was popularized by retailers like Selfridge’s and Wanamaker’s in the early 20th Century, customer satisfaction has been placed on a pedestal. However, as we move further into the 21st Century, businesses are placing more and more of an onus on employee satisfaction instead. Enter: the employee satisfaction survey

The 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer found that 37% of the 34,000 people surveyed ranked employees as the most important ingredient to long-term company success, compared with 38% who said customers. Customer satisfaction will always be important, but a business is driven forward internally by its employees. That’s why actionable employee satisfaction surveys are essential.

What is an Employee Satisfaction Survey?

Employee satisfaction surveys are a series of questions that provide insights into how people experience their work environment, and how positively they feel about the company’s bigger picture. The main topic of conversation at Workday is bettering employee engagement, and employee satisfaction question sets are a pivotal part of that process. 

A well-designed employee engagement survey gives an accurate glimpse into the overarching mood and morale in your company. This allows you to pinpoint any issues and make the necessary adjustments to keep your employees happy. That doesn’t mean sacrificing a focus on customers though: our clients report a 4% jump in customer satisfaction for every one-point rise in their Workday Peakon Employee Voice engagement scores.

Employee Satisfaction vs. Employee Engagement

There’s a big difference between employee satisfaction surveys and broader employee engagement surveys.

An employee can be happy at work without being engaged with your company’s mission and values, or believing in your diversity initiatives. A satisfaction survey is very focused, measuring only how happy an employee is at work. An engagement survey looks at how invested an employee is in the company, factoring in the whole span of their day-to-day working life. 

Having employees who feel satisfied and happy with their work is important, but it should be considered in the wider framework of their overall engagement. Engaged workers are generally more valuable, showing higher levels of dedication to your organisation. If you’re looking to identify the drivers of employee satisfaction, then measuring employee engagement is the way to go.

What Does “Employee Satisfaction” Mean?

Employee satisfaction specifically refers to how happy an employee is with different aspects of their job. It could cover a wide range of areas, such as:

  • Workload
  • Remuneration
  • Management
  • Career development

What drives employee satisfaction will differ depending on the employee in question. Understanding personal preferences—as well as generational and occupational ones—while considering how to create satisfaction across the board is important to any modern workplace. 

Engagement surveys are a great opportunity for your employees to express how they feel.

What are the Benefits of an Employee Satisfaction Survey? 

Employee engagement surveys with a focus on employee satisfaction question sets are an important early step in forming a fuller understanding of your team, and can play a big part in how you run your business day-to-day. A well-thought-out employee satisfaction survey can tackle a variety of areas, including:

  • Employee retention
  • Career development
  • Training
  • Company culture

While satisfied employees don’t translate to higher performance levels with the same consistency that engaged employees do, a targeted satisfaction survey is an effective way to better understand the factors dictating the levels of employee satisfaction.

Why is Employee Satisfaction Important?

High satisfaction rates among your employees have a positive impact on the wider business. When creating an employee satisfaction survey, consider the three main benefits of having employees that are happy to come to work.

Improve Customer Satisfaction

Happy employees equal happy customers. If you have a dissatisfied employee in a customer-facing role, it’s only natural that this will have a negative impact on the quality of your customer service offering.

Recommended action: Tackle the biggest areas of concern for your employees in customer-facing roles first. Every bad user experience has a negative impact on the company brand, so acting quickly here is key.

Retain Talent 

If you’re using employee input to shape your business processes, those same employees are far more likely to stick around and want to perform for you each day. This Total Economic Impact™ Study, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Workday, estimated that voluntary staff turnover was reduced by 10% after three years with Workday. 

Recommended action: Make sure your employees are fully aware of how you’re acting on their feedback. Knowing that you’re taking direct steps to improve their experience at work will have a positive impact on overall employee morale. 

Encourage Honest Feedback

Employees often feel that they cannot voice their concerns, whether it’s because they don’t know who to turn to, or for fear of the repercussions. Engagement surveys are a great opportunity for your employees to express how they feel. However, there are two key conditions to receiving honest feedback.

Employees need to be reassured that:

  1. Their honest opinion is valued
  2. The information they provide is confidential (more on this below)

Recommended action: Emphasize to your employees that all feedback is welcome, whether positive or negative. Also reassure employees that their responses are confidential, so that they feel comfortable expressing themselves honestly.

This Total Economic Impact™ Study, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of  Workday estimated that voluntary staff turnover was reduced by 10% after three years with Workday. 

Do Employee Satisfaction Surveys Work?

Yes, when structured in a way that offers you authentic and valuable insights that can be used to assess your day-to-day operations. When equipped with meaningful employee satisfaction survey questions, your wider employee engagement survey can make a huge difference to just about every area of your business.

Should Employee Satisfaction Surveys be Confidential? 

To encourage employees to provide open and honest feedback, they need to be reassured that their responses won’t be used against them. That’s why we put such an emphasis on protecting employee privacy at Workday.

With confidential surveys, responses are not linked to the employee. With confidential surveys, an employee’s responses are associated with their file, but confidentiality measures are put in place to prevent any manager or leader linking an employee with their responses.

How Do You Create a Good Employee Satisfaction Survey?

Your employee engagement survey should align with your company’s mission and have a clear goal that employees can identify with. There are three other core factors that lead to an effective questionaire.

  • Concise language that avoids business jargon
  • Clear rollout strategy for question sets
  • Questions that will provide actionable takeaways

Also, in order to ensure high levels of engagement:

  • Don’t go overboard in length (this shouldn’t be an exam!)
  • Send shorters surveys out more frequently; either weekly, bi-weekly or monthly

Creating an Employee Engagement Strategy

As offices begin to shift toward working from home or hybrid models, many of us will understandably be struggling with a disconnect from the workplace. In turn, that disconnect can lead to reduced employee satisfaction. Business leaders must now shoulder that responsibility, ensuring policies are in place to look out for their teams as times get tough. 

As part of a fuller employee engagement strategy, employee satisfaction surveys can offer a priceless insight into what policies will best provide your employees the best possible environment over the next stage of their career. For a clearer indication of how Workday Peakon Employee Voice can meet your employee engagement needs, try a demo.

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