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Employee satisfaction, How do you measure and improve it?

Employee satisfaction is critical to a company’s success. It affects employee retention, productivity, company culture, employer brand and innovation. But how do you measure and improve employee satisfaction? In this article, we explore the definition of employee satisfaction, why it’s important and methods for measuring it, such as surveys and interviews. We also share best practices, such as continuous measurement, use of evidence-based questionnaires and manager involvement. Find out how to improve employee satisfaction and download the Learned engagement model with 18 themes and 90 best practices.

 

What is the definition of employee satisfaction?

Employee satisfaction refers to the extent to which employees are satisfied and content with their jobs and the work environment. This can be influenced by various factors such as salary, work hours, workload, work atmosphere, relationships with supervisors and colleagues, opportunities for professional growth and development, recognition and appreciation, and work-life balance.

 

Why is employee satisfaction important?

  1. Employee retention: It can be challenging for companies to retain employees if they are dissatisfied in their current positions. Employees who find joy in their work are less likely to seek other opportunities.
  2. Increased productivity: It goes without saying that employees who are dissatisfied are unlikely to perform at their full potential. In contrast, happy employees tend to be more productive than their dissatisfied colleagues.
  3. Promote a positive company culture: Employees who are dissatisfied with their work may over time adopt a negative attitude, creating a toxic work environment. On the other hand, satisfied employees tend to be more enthusiastic and willing to work together.
  4. Strengthening an attractive corporate image: Promoting high employee satisfaction contributes to a positive corporate image and strengthens your employer brand. Spreading positive experiences can give your company a significant advantage in the battle to recruit top talent.
  5. Encourage innovation: Satisfied employees tend to be more engaged and motivated to be proactive, generate new ideas and contribute to innovative solutions. This increases a company’s capacity to innovate, which can provide a significant competitive advantage in the long run.

 

How do you find out if your employees are satisfied?

Measuring employee satisfaction can be done in a variety of ways. Here are a few methods that companies often use:

  1. Employee satisfaction surveys: This is one of the most common methods. These surveys can include questions about various aspects of work, such as salary, work hours, workload, job satisfaction, relationship with managers and colleagues, opportunities for professional growth and development, recognition and appreciation, and work-life balance.
  2. Individual or group interviews: Conversations with employees, whether individually or in groups, can provide useful insights about their satisfaction. These conversations can be formal, such as during performance reviews, or informal, such as during coffee breaks.
  3. Exit interviews: When employees leave an organization, exit interviews can provide valuable information about the reasons for their departure and their overall satisfaction during their employment.

 

Tips for conducting a survey to measure employee satisfaction

Through employee satisfaction surveys, you can gain insight into your team members’ opinions on various aspects of their work. Whether it’s an annual survey that focuses on benefits, or a survey conducted every two weeks to measure employee engagement, by surveying your employees frequently, you’ll keep up with their satisfaction levels. Here are some tips for measuring employee satisfaction. Want to know more about this? Then read Learned’s take on modern employee satisfaction surveys. 

 

Here are five tips to effectively measure employee satisfaction
  1. Measure continuously: Instead of measuring annually, conduct regular surveys. Ongoing feedback can help you identify trends and address problems before they escalate.
  2. Use evidence-based questionnaires: Using questionnaires designed and validated by researchers ensures more reliable results. These questionnaires often have a better question structure and have been thoroughly tested. For example, use the Learned employee satisfaction model with 90 questions.
  3. Anonymous surveys: Make sure surveys are anonymous and use tools that ensure this anonymity. This can encourage employees to be more honest and open in their answers. Read more about the disadvantages of free tools such as Google forms regarding anonymity here. 
  4. Track results and take action: Measuring employee satisfaction is useless if no action is taken based on the results. Analyze the results, identify areas for improvement and develop an action plan.
  5. Involve your managers: Managers play a crucial role in promoting employee satisfaction. Make sure they are involved in the process, from understanding the importance of employee satisfaction to acting on survey results.

 

Alternative to a comprehensive employee satisfaction survey: eNPS

eNPS, or Employee Net Promoter Score, is a method companies use to measure employee loyalty and satisfaction. It is based on the Net Promoter Score (NPS), a commonly used metric in customer satisfaction surveys.

The eNPS is typically measured with a single question, “How likely would you be to recommend our organization to a friend or colleague as a great place to work?” Employees are asked to give their answer on a scale from 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely).

Based on their score, employees are then divided into three categories:

  1. Promoters (score 9-10): These are loyal employees who are very likely to share their positive work experiences and recommend your organization
  2. Passives (score 7-8): These are satisfied but not enthusiastic employees who may be susceptible to competitive offers.
  3. Critics (score 0-6): These are dissatisfied employees who can share their negative experiences and potentially damage your organization’s reputation.

The eNPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of critics from the percentage of promoters. The score can range from -100 (all employees are critics) to +100 (all employees are promoters). A positive eNPS is generally considered good and a score above 20 is considered excellent. 

It is important to remember that the eNPS provides an overall picture of employee satisfaction, but does not offer detailed insights. For a more complete picture of employee satisfaction, it is useful to combine the eNPS with other metrics and feedback methods.

 

Best practices to improve employee satisfaction?

Improving employee satisfaction is a crucial part of a successful business. However, before you begin implementing measures to increase satisfaction, it is important to have a thorough understanding of the current state of satisfaction within your organization. By starting with a thorough survey, such as an employee satisfaction survey, you will gather valuable data that you can use to base your plans on.So it depends on the results of your employee satisfaction survey what actions you will need to take. 

In the Learned engagement model, we have defined several best practices for each of the 18 themes. So if your organization can develop on one of the themes, you can immediately see what you can do to get started. For example, one of the themes is: 

 

Opportunities for Growth and Development:

Opportunities for growth and development refer to the extent to which an organization provides its employees with opportunities to gain new skills, knowledge and experiences that enable them to progress and advance their careers. 

Here are 5 practical tips to improve opportunities for growth and development:
  1. Encourage internal mobility: Offer employees the opportunity to switch between departments or teams within the organization to gain new experiences and skills. This can help employees feel valued and invested, and can also help fill skills gaps within the organization. To implement this tip, HR managers can create a system for tracking internal job openings and encourage managers to consider internal candidates for open positions. Internal mobility can increase employee engagement and reduce employee turnover (Schwartz et al., 2019).

2. Offer training and development programs: Offer employees the opportunity to attend training and development programs to learn new skills and improve existing skills. This can help employees become more confident in their abilities and increase their job satisfaction. To implement this tip, HR managers can work with managers to identify areas where employees could benefit from training, and provide access to relevant courses or programs. Previous research has shown that employees who participate in training and development programs report higher levels of job satisfaction and are more likely to stay with their employer (Baldwin & Ford, 1988).

3. Offer coaching and mentoring: Offer coaching and mentoring programs to help employees develop specific skills or prepare for new positions. This can help employees feel supported and valued, and can also help build a strong talent pipeline within the organization. To implement this tip, HR managers can provide training and guidance to managers on how to be effective coaches and mentors, and can also offer formal coaching or mentoring programs. Previous research has shown that employees who receive coaching and mentoring report greater job satisfaction and are more likely to stay with their employer (Feldman & Lankau, 2005).

4. Encourage continuous learning: create a culture of continuous learning by encouraging employees to share knowledge and skills with each other and providing opportunities for informal learning, such as lunch and learn or peer-to-peer training sessions. This can help foster a sense of community within the organization and foster a growth mindset among employees. To implement this tip, HR managers can create a platform for employees to share their knowledge and skills, and they can also provide employees with resources to access learning opportunities. Previous research has shown that creating a culture of continuous learning can increase employee engagement and job satisfaction (e.g., Hsu et al., 2019).

5. Provide regular feedback and recognition to employees on their progress toward their goals: this can help keep employees motivated and engaged and also give them a sense of accomplishment. To implement this tip, HR managers can train managers on how to provide effective feedback and recognition, as well as set up a system for tracking and documenting employees’ progress toward their goals. Previous research has shown that regular feedback and recognition can increase employee motivation, job satisfaction and performance (e.g., Sturman, 2003).

 

The Learned model for employee satisfaction  

Download the Learned engagement model with 18 themes, 90 questions and 90 best practices here and get started improving your employee satisfaction.