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Creating Online Employee/Staff Satisfaction Surveys

In this module, we will be covering the creation of online employee/staff satisfaction surveys. Virtually every organization conducts surveys to assess employee satisfaction. Initially, companies conducted these surveys because they believed employee satisfaction was important to retention, productivity, and absenteeism. Satisfied employees were assumed to be punctual, highly productive and loyal to the company. These employees were also assumed to remain with the company for years.

However, research in the 1980s showed that employee satisfaction was directly related to customer satisfaction. Satisfied employees performed their duties and responsibilities to a high standard. They were also effective in problem solving. Satisfied employees were also more likely to produce high quality products and services. Finally, satisfied employees were more likely to provide excellent quality customer service. This high quality service translated to high customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Given the importance of employee satisfaction, companies regularly ask themselves the question: how satisfied are our employees? The question may seem easy but it can be complex and requires careful consideration.

1.1.Individual differences in employee satisfaction

Company managers understand that employee job satisfaction can change. An employee may show high levels of satisfaction with their job as a sales representative within the first 2-3 years on the job. However, their job satisfaction may decrease every year after that for a number of reasons. One of these reasons is a feeling that they cannot advance in their jobs. Another source of dissatisfaction may be lack of acknowledgment by management.

When designing and analyzing employee satisfaction survey, it is important to pay attention to differences in job satisfaction between groups of employees. For example, overall satisfaction of new employees (less than 2 years) and those who have been with the company for over 5 years. Differences in job satisfaction could be due to:
  • Consistency across jobs - A skilled welder may show high levels of satisfaction at his job. When this welder is promoted to the position of trainer, their satisfaction may begin to decrease. The reason could be that that employee is no longer dedicating time to the skilled worker he took pride in. A position as a trainer may also bring frustrations and new skill sets that the welder must learn.

  • Consistency across time – Job satisfaction may increase or decrease across time. An intern may find their job stressful and report low levels of satisfaction. Once this intern becomes an employee, gaining skill and confidence, job satisfaction increases. When employees face increasing responsibilities or vague duties, their satisfaction rates will change over time.

Companies combine employee satisfaction information with employer-led evaluation to determine training needs and advancement. Employees who express dissatisfaction with their training and who can gain new skills are offered training opportunities by the company.

1.2.Measuring Employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction means different things for different workers. For example, a manager at a production facility may find equipment safety to be important to his job satisfaction. An elementary school teacher may find extra time to prepare daily lessons to be important to her job satisfaction. When a company decides to survey employee satisfaction, it has to take into account what matters for its employees. There are, of course, some common job satisfaction factors among all employees such as:

  • Relationships – These include relationships between the employee and other employees, managers, subordinates, and clients.

  • Compensation – This includes benefits, pay, training, and advancement in positions.

  • Physical/environment – This includes such factors as the safety of the environment, comfort, access, parking, commute, and workspace.

  • Job-specific – These factors include such things as the daily demands of the position, the ability to work independently, low workplace stress, and challenge. Other factors are the ability to gain pride in one’s work and to communicate freely within the organization.

Most organizations will ask their employees to comment on one or more of these satisfaction factors. Managers at a company may check with employees frequently to find out if the environment has changed to the worst. This is especially the case when a company goes through changes such as staff layoffs or mergers. In these instances, employees are likely to experience changes in their roles and responsibilities that affect their satisfaction with the job. Since companies realize how important it is to have satisfied employees, they will place importance on checking in with them. Surveys, however, are not just done for their own sakes but to find ways to improve a company’s functioning.

1.3.Importance of Employee Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is an important component of a successful company. Employee satisfaction is important to company profitability, competition, and customer satisfaction. Due to these, it is crucial that managers are aware of what makes their employees satisfied. As seen in Figure 1, employee satisfaction is correlated to a number of organizational factors as follows:

  • Absenteeism – The more satisfied employees are, the lower their absenteeism. This has large implications for a company’s operations and productivity. It is also important for morale and good teamwork.

  • Turnover – The more satisfied employees are, the less likely they are to leave the company. Organizations invest both time and money to train and incorporate new employees when they are newly hired. The investment is also most apparent in specialized and highly skilled positions. When an employee leaves, they take that skill and experience with them. However, if they are satisfied with the company, they are less likely to leave.

  • Teamwork – The more satisfied employees are, the more likely they are to engage in effective teamwork and productive collaboration. When a company environment makes employees satisfied, they are more likely to adopt teamwork.

  • Organizational citizenship – Satisfied employees are more likely to participate in company activities and show organizational citizenship. They are also more likely to show loyalty and feel like important members of the company.

  • Commitment – The more satisfied employees are in a company, the more likely they are to commit to their duties. They are also more likely to commit to team work, training, and adaptation to change. Of all the positive correlations, commitment is the highest factor related to employee satisfaction.

  • Performance – Highly satisfied employees are more likely to be high performers. This means that they are more productive and the quality of their products is high.

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