A Complete Guide to the Employee Satisfaction Survey

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published July 13, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To understand the success of any project, initiative, or workplace, it's important to perform evaluations. Surveys are a powerful analyzing solution for making conclusions, measuring success, and determining areas of improvement. Understanding the usefulness of surveys for measuring employee satisfaction can help you improve employee retention and offer opportunities for enhanced satisfaction. In this article, we define an employee satisfaction survey, explore the benefits of performing one, explain the best practices for conducting a survey, and provide example survey questions.

What is an employee satisfaction survey?

An employee satisfaction survey is a tool that employers use to garner feedback on the workplace, the employee experience, and general job satisfaction rates. Employers can distribute a survey to their employees to understand the organization's strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement. Performing a survey can help employees feel more valued, motivating them to keep working hard and contribute to the company's success. These surveys are commonly anonymous to provide team members with an opportunity to offer feedback in private.

Surveys range in length, frequency, topic coverage, and level of feedback requested. For example, it may be a simple survey asking employees to measure their satisfaction with certain topics, such as the office environment, company culture, workload, or career development opportunities. Alternatively, the survey might incorporate additional questions requiring more in-depth answers, such as yes or no questions, or those requiring long-form answers.

Related: What Is Employee Satisfaction? (With Steps to Improve It)

Benefits of performing a satisfaction survey

Satisfaction surveys are an important feedback tool that can help organizations structure their workplace to offer a nurturing and enjoyable environment for their employees. Here are some benefits of performing a survey evaluating employee satisfaction:

Increases business productivity

Taking the steps to evaluate employee satisfaction, considering the answers, and making meaningful changes can improve employee attitudes towards their employer. When an employee feels valued and considered, it typically increases their overall happiness with their job, which causes an increase in productivity. Ensuring employees are content with their role within the company and can envision how they might grow within an organization provides encouragement to try harder and succeed within their role. This also motivates employees to do more and show more loyalty to the organizations for which they work.

Related: 14 Best Productivity Tools to Boost Workplace Productivity

Improves employee retention

When employers take initiative to evaluate employee satisfaction and use their findings to improve the working conditions and overall job happiness, employees are likely to feel appreciated and committed to the organization. Higher job satisfaction directly relates to an increase in employee retention, as individuals are usually less likely to seek alternate employment if they are happy in their current position. Employers benefit from this decrease in employee turnover by reaping the rewards of a trained, knowledgeable, and dedicated team.

Related: 20 Strategies for Employee Retention in the Workplace

Enhances opportunities for improvement

Taking the initiative to seek feedback and insights from employees can enhance an organization's opportunities for improvement. As surveys provide an anonymous opportunity for employees to offer their constructive criticism and truthful feedback, it's a valuable tool for making significant organizational changes. It's important for companies to not just perform the survey, but carefully consider the answers they receive and the areas where they can make improvements. Implementing real changes reinforces the idea that an organization is genuinely interested in employee opinions and happiness.

Improves understanding of training requirements

When employees receive proper and thorough training to perform their tasks with confidence, job satisfaction increases. Human resources teams may use a survey to understand the confidence employees feel and assess whether more or different training programs are required. Providing effective training, onboarding programs, and professional development opportunities can lead to increased satisfaction, and surveys can help determine areas of improvement within these categories. For example, survey responses of managers may indicate that a leadership training program might benefit employees after a promotion to this level within the organization.

Related: How to Begin Your Career in Human Resources

Provides immediate insights

Conducting an employee survey offers immediate insights into the current state of the company's satisfaction levels. Human resource managers can use this tool to improve the decisions regarding organizational structure, team growth or reduction opportunities, and general employee management. Conducting regular surveys allows organizations to track the evolution of their employee satisfaction and to evaluate how changes have contributed to a positive or negative effect. This type of historical tracking can help business leaders evaluate trends and use these insights to further improve satisfaction rates.

Related: Questionnaire vs. Survey (Key Differences and Types)

Best practices for conducting a survey

Here are some best practices for conducting a survey to analyze and measure employee satisfaction:

Determine your audience

Before developing your survey, it's important to identify the group of employees from which you plan to collect answers. You may choose to develop different surveys for each department of an organization, depending on the nature of the roles and how widely they vary. Engage with all stakeholders who may be involved in the analysis and review process to help ensure the survey includes the questions they're most interested in having employees answer.

Consider the length

You can determine the ideal length of the survey by considering the goals, focus, audience, and frequency of the survey. If this is an annual survey, you can ask more comprehensive questions than if you were to distribute the survey on a monthly or quarterly basis. Balance the needs of the survey against the time you're asking employees to take to complete it. Carefully assess each question to determine if you're prepared to make changes based on the responses and whether the business can benefit from knowing the answer.

Related: 13 Best Online Survey Tools (Plus How to Choose One)

Edit each question

It's important to ensure every question included in the survey is easy to understand and that respondents can answer in the format provided. For example, if asking what other team members the employee collaborates with the most, it's unsuitable to provide a yes or no response. It's essential for questions to have a singular meaning that all respondents can understand and interpret in the same way. Here are some general guidelines for wording questions to receive effective answers:

  • Use simple and direct language.

  • Opt for specific questions rather than ones that promote general open-ended answers.

  • Avoid using leading or loaded questions that might influence answers.

  • Use words that don't generate a strong emotional response.

  • Avoid using jargon that isn't part of the audience's regular dialogue.

Related: How to Create a Survey Design with Design Features

Develop a strong survey structure

It's important to think strategically when creating a survey to help ensure you're effectively utilizing this diagnostic tool. Here are the sections you can divide your questions into for a purposeful survey:

  • Engagement measurement: This section may include questions relating to company culture, work enthusiasm, loyalty, intent to stay, and general satisfaction. It's common to use a response scale of various states of satisfaction to facilitate answers for this section, although it varies widely depending on the organization and industry.

  • Initiative measurement: This survey section focuses on measuring the initiatives that promote engagement, such as company knowledge sharing, team member cooperation, and rewards for engagement. The answers to this section can inform the activities that a company improves upon, reduces, or increases to facilitate optimal engagement.

  • Employee feedback: The final section of a well-structured survey typically involves the use of open-ended questions to provide a space for employees to provide feedback and insights. This important section offers the opportunity for structured or general input, which may result in answers on topics that the survey development team didn't consider when creating the questions.

Example questions to include in a satisfaction survey

Here are some example questions you can consider when creating a satisfaction survey to distribute to employee groups:

  • Are you confident in your supervisor's ability to support you in your position?

  • Do you feel a sense of personal accomplishment in your current role?

  • Do you receive encouragement from management to develop your skills through internal or external training programs?

  • Do you feel you've received sufficient training to perform the duties of your job?

  • How confident are you that management takes action based on the results of the survey?

  • Do you believe there's an opportunity for you to grow within the company?

  • Do you struggle to get the information required for you to perform your job?

  • How satisfied are you with the recognition you receive for the work you do?

  • Do you feel valued by your manager or supervisor?

  • Does your team respect your personal or family time?

  • Do you feel you have enough time to complete the tasks assigned to you?

  • Do you think the company enforces a fair promotions policy?

  • How satisfied are you in your job?

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