10 key questions for gauging employee satisfaction

A hefty paycheck is not enough these days to retain talent. Regular surveys provide valuable feedback for enhancing workplace culture, career growth opportunities and other key factors.

Employee satisfaction is crucial, but the path to improving it isn’t always straightforward.

Factors such as motivation, career growth, compensation and team morale influence how satisfied your employees feel.

A crucial factor in improving employee satisfaction—and thus productivity—is to continually gauge satisfaction levels. Nine out of 10 (89%) HR leaders agree that ongoing peer feedback and check-ins are essential for successful outcomes. A  targeted survey helps you collect such feedback—and the results can be surprising.

For example, most employers think a salary increase is the best way to satisfy employees, but 84% of working professionals in the UK believe that enjoying their jobs is a better measure of career success.

Another survey, by Udemy, found that 42% of millennial employees consider learning and development as the most important benefit when deciding where to work.

Follow these guidelines to ensure your survey is efficient and effective:

  • Keep it anonymous.Your employees should know they won’t face repercussions for giving honest feedback.
  • Send it out regularly. As your work environment and employees change, so do their satisfaction levels. Stay atop what your employees want.
  • Make it short. When conducting your survey, ask only for information you can use to drive meaningful change.

Here are 10 key survey questions. Because your survey should be short, try out different questions at various times to see which are most valuable.

1. How defined are your responsibilities at work?

Employees who understand their roles and responsibilities are more likely to be satisfied, because they have clear metrics for gauging success.

2. How meaningful is the work you do?

The more significant people find their jobs, the more satisfied they’ll be with the work they do.

Nine out of 10 workers would trade 23% of their earnings—an average of $21,000 a year—for more meaningful work. Not to mention that employees who feel that they do meaningful work stay longer at a company and even work longer hours.

3. How satisfied are you with the salary you receive?

People do want to be compensated appropriately; 55% of full-time employees rank fair compensation as the first or second most valuable employer attribute.

4. How often do we provide you with opportunities to get promoted?

According to a Gallup survey, one common reason employees leave an organization is a lack of career growth opportunities.

Employees who feel stuck in a dead-end job see their satisfaction levels wane. Gauging how employees rate their promotion opportunities will convey how satisfied they are.

5. How likely are you to recommend our company as a good place to work?

One great way to gauge staff satisfaction is to ask them a Net Promoter Score (NPS) question. If employees are satisfied with their workplace culture, they’re more likely to ask others to join.

6. How connected do you feel to members of your team?

The work environment is social by default. When your employees feel connected with their colleagues, they tend to be more motivated and record higher satisfaction levels.

That’s in part why employees at small organizations feel far more engaged than their corporate counterparts: The workplace is more intimate.

7. How often do you receive recognition for your work?

There’s a correlation between recognition and job satisfaction—and, accordingly, effort.

Kudos and congratulations work; 85% of HR leaders say an employee recognition program boosts organizational culture, and 27% of employees cite lack of recognition as a reason for leaving their jobs.

8. How large is the opportunity to learn and develop your skills at work?

Per the Udemy study, people are increasingly seeking jobs that can make them better at what they do and not simply those offering a high salary.

Offering career training and development would keep 86% of millennials from leaving.

9. If you were to quit your job tomorrow, what would your reason be for leaving?

This practice, now found in most business circles, is the premortem. It’s the counterpart to a postmortem, in which a team works backward after the fact to identify project failures and successes, as well as their respective causes. Asking your employee the above question makes them think about key issues that might otherwise go unnoticed and prompt them to leave.

10. Are there any changes you can suggest that would improve your job satisfaction levels?

Finally, ask your employees directly. Collecting and acting on these suggestions show your employees that you care about their input. A Salesforce report found employees who feel their voice is heard are nearly five times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.

A version of this post first appeared on the Get Feedback blog.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash


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