In today's world, understanding an employee's satisfaction with their work is as important as ever. Not only does employee satisfaction impact performance - to cite the old (but very true) axiom that "a happy employee is a productive employee" - but it also affects retention.
So what can be done to obtain the proverbial "employee pulse"? Or, more precisely, what can be done to obtain a more accurate understanding of the employee pulse? Talking with them on a regular basis is not enough. Why? Well, it's likely that employees will put on a happy face for their immediate supervisors, an effect that could snowball up to the highest levels of management. Fear of retribution and an unwanted reputation of being "so very unhappy" or "unproductive" tend to keep smiles planted firmly on the faces of employees, especially when being asked to sound off on their level of satisfaction in a face-to-face environment.
Employees are the bloodstream and life of a company, and just like your body's bloodstream, they need to be kept healthy. If enough trouble exists, it could weaken the health of the organization. Of course, the best solution is to prevent this from occurring in the first place. Keeping the bloodstream analogy in place, the best way to prevent a problem is to keep a close eye on the situation and make sure that any sickness is kept at bay. But just like in real life, it is impractical to have to watch this on a daily basis, whereas the occasional blood test or routine check-up should suffice in making sure that things are as they should be.
Enter the employee satisfaction survey, the workforce equivalent of the routine check-up on the "life-blood" employee base.
Aside from the benefits inherent in any survey - which include the ability to collect information on a quantitative level, allowing for year-to-year or department-to-department measurements - one of the most important aspects of a soundly developed employee satisfaction survey is anonymity. What an employee may not dare to say in person regarding their levels of contentment (or lack thereof), they can do so freely knowing that their responses will not be tied to them directly. This is often the best way to obtain an accurate understanding of employees and determine whether or not they are happy with their jobs.
One must also consider the various aspects that influence an employee's satisfaction when developing such a survey. The most common aspects typically include workload, compensation, and employee-manager relationship-related questions. However, have you considered the work environment, or the actual brick-and-mortar surroundings that house employees for a good amount of their day? Do they feel safe in their current location? Do they have the tools, training, and support to do their jobs effectively? Do they understand the company's "big picture" and ideals, and do they think the company lives up to its own standards? Do they even feel that the results of the survey itself will be acted upon, or is it just there for show?
Knowing this information will certainly help your organization make better decisions regarding driving employee enjoyment and retention.
There is much to consider when developing an employee satisfaction survey, but taking the time to do so will help you obtain a much better sense of the "employee pulse." With that information in hand, one can see exactly which aspects are healthy and which aspects are in dire need of attention. Keeping employees satisfied on all levels related to their job can be tricky, but knowing where they stand and how they feel can be even more complicated. Using employee satisfaction surveys to gather that knowledge is a tremendous step forward in ensuring that your company maintains its good health.
For more information regarding TMP Worldwide's Employee Satisfaction and other survey offerings, contact firstname.lastname@example.org