Make employee satisfaction surveys that actually tell you something

From assessing your corporate culture to understanding your staff’s commitment to goals, employee satisfaction surveys can reveal a lot. If your company’s employee surveys never seem to produce the results you’re looking for, chances are you’re not the only one who’s becoming disillusioned. If you’re ready for a complete employee satisfaction survey makeover, find out how to give evaluations that tell you what you want to know.

How to create an effective employee satisfaction survey

To get the information you want from an employee satisfaction survey, you have to rethink the way you’re creating and administering it. Follow these guidelines for giving your next employee survey.

  • Know your goals: Giving an employee satisfaction survey should never just be an item you need to check off your to-do list. Instead, you should prepare and administer it with specific goals in mind. Before you send it to your team, know what information you want to collect, how you’re going to track answers, and how you’re going to follow up.
  • Keep it anonymous: It should come as no surprise to learn that your team probably won’t offer completely honest answers if they know you can track the responses back to the individual employee. Make your survey completely anonymous, and refrain from asking for any identifying information.
  • Give your employees all the time they need: Asking employees to submit a survey at the next staff meeting or in an unreasonably short amount of time is likely to result in rushed answers that don’t reveal the whole story. Instead, give them plenty of time, whether it’s a week or a month, to ensure they have time to think their answers over.
  • Keep it short: Some of your employees will undoubtedly have a lot to say about the company, their role, and the corporate culture. Others may have strong feelings but fewer essay-length answers to share. While it’s smart to leave space for additional comments, never overwhelm your team with an endless survey. Instead, keep it as short as possible, taking care to ask only the questions you truly want answered.
  • Make it count: Few employees will want to spend time on a task that doesn’t produce visible results. When you give the survey, tell your team you’re planning to take action based on some of the results. When you do make changes down the road, emphasize the survey’s role in shaping those new policies or incentives.

10 questions to ask on an employee satisfaction survey

Forget about asking outdated questions that don’t really tell you anything. Instead, ask your employees these 10 questions and pay close attention to the results.

  • Do you understand the company’s mission and goals? As a business owner, you know the company’s mission and goals like the back of your hand. Do your employees know or care what they are? Ask this question to hear your team’s viewpoint, and take their answers to heart. If their responses are way off, it might be time to rethink how you’re accomplishing strategic goals.
  • Can you see how your work contributes to the company’s mission? This is an open-ended way to find out how fulfilling your employees find their work. Their responses will reveal whether they see the bigger picture and if they feel like they’re part of the larger team.
  • Do you think management effectively communicates with staff? No matter the size of your company, you need effective communication channels. This question will reveal how transparent your employees believe the company to be, and it could also help you identify problems in your communication chain.
  • Do you have the resources and equipment you need to do your job well? This is a great way to get employees to open up about roadblocks and problems that stop them from doing their best. You can even make this question broader to find out if team leaders have the staff they need to succeed.
  • Does your team inspire you to do your best on the job? Positive corporate culture depends on teamwork. This question will prompt employees to think about how well they work with colleagues and whether teams could benefit from either strategic reconfiguring or better motivation.
  • Does the company give you opportunities to grow and advance? Few employees will want to work for your company if you offer dead-end jobs. However, just because you offer opportunities to advance doesn’t mean your employees know how to take advantage. These responses will reveal whether your efforts are working.
  • Do you receive enough recognition for your work? From congratulatory emails to monetary bonuses, everyone wants a little recognition for going above and beyond. Find out if you’re offering enough incentive to your employees.
  • Does your job contribute to your health and wellness in a positive way? As a small-business owner, you want your team to work hard, but you don’t want to overwork anyone. Asking this question will help you determine whether you’re stressing your employees out to a dangerous level before it’s too late.
  • Does your work allow you to maintain a healthy work-life balance? Every employee deserves a fulfilling job and a happy life. These responses will reveal whether employees feel like they can pursue both successfully.
  • Would you apply for your job all over again? Replacing employees can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming, so employee retention should always be one of your key goals. Asking this can help you determine if you’ve met or exceeded your team’s expectations, and it may also offer you insight into specific reasons for job satisfaction or disappointment.

Successful employee satisfaction ideas

After you’ve given the survey and assessed the answers, it’s time to put your team’s responses into action. These five employee satisfaction ideas are ideal for retaining staff members and ensuring your team does its best.

1. Transparency

No matter how many closed-door decisions your management team makes, you have to communicate strategy, policies, and goals to your team. If your employee surveys reveal you’re falling behind on the communication front, take steps to improve transparency and change the methods you use for sharing big news or major strategy changes. Increasing transparency might take a little more work on your part, but putting in the time will help your employees feel like they’re part of the team.

2. Work-life balance

Workaholic employees might sound appealing, but most people need a balance between work and life to keep up the momentum necessary to build a successful career. Use your survey results to determine whether you need to offer employees more flex time, creative ways to earn more time off, or flexible work hours. Doing this may take some adjustment, but you’ll end up with happier and better-adjusted employees.

3. Remote working opportunities

Whether you’re headquartered in a dedicated building or your team works from a shared office space, everyone can benefit from remote working opportunities. Give your team the chance to find a local co-working space or even work from a home office to increase your team’s flexibility. If your employees already rely on chat apps, videoconferencing, and email, letting them work remotely could be the easiest decision you make.

4. Training and education

If you have a great team, you’re going to want to help them hone their skills, develop their talents, and get ahead in the industry. Providing your employees with on-the-job training and opportunities for relevant education can even benefit your company directly, since your employees will be more knowledgeable and capable than ever before. Since training and education will also help your team learn and grow, you’ll create a winning situation.

5. Health and wellness initiatives

Gym time and healthy lunch breaks might take away from time at the office, but encouraging health and wellness initiatives is likely to make your team feel better in general and improve their performance on the job. Use the survey to assess how healthy your employees feel and what could boost their wellness at work. Then launch initiatives like discounted gym memberships, facilities for biking to work, or more nutritious options in the company cafeteria to help your team feel and do their best.

Employee satisfaction surveys can tell you a lot, as long as you know what to ask, how to administer them, and how to follow up. Keep these guidelines in mind as you strive to improve your staff’s happiness on the job.

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