Satisfied employees are happier, more productive, more enjoyable to work with, and more likely to contribute innovative ideas. They’re also more likely to stay with the company longer, decreasing turnover rates and strengthening teams.
This guide covers the factors that influence job satisfaction and offers the best questions for gauging employees’ feelings about their workplace. There’s also a template to help you survey employees and get a better understanding of your team’s well-being and what steps you can take to improve it.
Satisfied employees are happy employees. As you continue to increase your staffs’ job satisfaction rates, they’ll feel empowered, collaborate with teammates, take ownership of projects, and are more likely to recommend your company to their networks.
Happiness often refers to experiencing joy, feeling less stressed, and feeling unburdened by co-workers or the work environment. While job satisfaction does not mean “always being happy,” employers and managers should strive to increase employee happiness where it is possible.
A truly satisfied employee experiences holistic contentment at work. They feel like they have autonomy, authority, their coworkers and managers are trustworthy and competent, and they are being compensated fairly.
This level of job satisfaction leads to an increase in productivity as employees continue to champion their teammates' work, their own creativity and push to drive more success and increased productivity.
Satisfied employees stay with companies longer, and employers with higher rates of employee satisfaction see far less rates of turnover. This means more institutional knowledge stays with the company, training and hiring demands remain low, and the potential for continuous improvements within company culture also increases.
You’ll appreciate the power of using job satisfaction surveys to help drive meaningful change in the workplace. Below are three of the key reasons we think your company will benefit most.
By surveying your employees about their overall job satisfaction, you’ll be getting the answer straight from the source. This means you won’t make wrong assumptions about what you think is important to your employees.
While you might understand some of what your employees value in the workplace, a survey can help fill any missing gaps where you’re failing to meet employee expectations.
Perhaps your employees desire higher wages, a retirement account, meaningful health insurance plans, or more professional development opportunities. If any of these job satisfaction factors continuously come up in your surveys, you’ll have a true sense of where you need to make improvements.
Surveys, when executed effectively, provide anonymity to staff and thus open up the door for increased transparency. Without fear of being identified, you’ll allow for more honest feedback which will give you the opportunity to improve employee satisfaction much more quickly.
It’s important to note that employee satisfaction and employee engagement are not the same things despite both playing a key role in the health of a company and the well-being of its staff members.
Employee satisfaction refers to the way employees feel as a result of everyday job conditions such as the work environment, benefits, and compensation packages.
In contrast, employee engagement often refers to the relationships, connectedness, and fulfillment of the overall workplace culture. It’s a nuanced difference as both tend to influence each other.
Recommended Reading: Employee Engagement Survey Questions [+ Free Template]
Often, it’s not just one factor that affects an employee’s satisfaction, but several. These can include (but are not limited to):
Opportunities to learn new skills
Trust in management
Connections with colleagues
The job’s relevance to their career path
The following questions are excellent for pinpointing which job factors matter most to your people. The answers can shed light on where the company is doing well in regards to taking care of its people and where there’s room for improvement.
A simple and objective way to measure employees’ responses is to let them answer on a scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. You should also keep the survey anonymous so employees feel comfortable sharing honestly. Here are eight great questions to ask:
Employees that find meaning in their work experience higher levels of motivation and satisfaction over the long haul. If they’re passionate about what they do, they’re less likely to sweat the small stuff.
If employees feel that they have too much work and not enough time, they may become so overwhelmed that they lose motivation entirely. How your people answer this question will let you know if you need to rethink or redistribute the workload.
Employees who feel their best skills aren’t being used are likely experiencing some job dissatisfaction. Also, it’s more efficient to divide tasks amongst employees based on their individual strengths and interests.
If the company offers plenty of opportunities that align with employees’ career goals, they’re more likely to be satisfied, be passionate about their work, and put their best foot forward every day.
In order to achieve their career goals, employees likely have new skills to acquire. Aside from that, they may also enjoy the intellectual stimulation that comes with taking on new challenges and dynamic tasks.
Everyone likes feeling acknowledged for the work they do and the ideas they contribute to the team. Taking time to recognize and praise employees’ hard work increases their satisfaction and ensures their continued engagement.
Feeling a sense of connection with coworkers and supervisors is an integral part of an enjoyable work environment. If employees feel disconnected, consider hosting social or team building events to create common ground.
It could be the case that there are job satisfaction factors that you or other members of management haven’t considered. It’s helpful to end the survey by giving employees an opportunity to speak freely.
Do you see yourself at this company in 5 years?
Do you enjoy interacting with your teammates?
How often do you find yourself without all of the information you need to best complete a project?
Do you feel like you can go to someone on your team when you don’t know the answer to a question?
If you experience something unusual or something sensitive in the workplace, do you know who to report it to?
How often do you feel that you go above and beyond for work tasks?
Is your manager giving you good feedback (criticism and praise)?
Does your workload allow you to experience a work-life balance?
Do you think your manager values a work-life balance?
It’s often the case that simple solutions make the biggest impact. Here are some easy ways to start:
Reward values like transparency, trust, and respect between employees and management.
When you see an employee showing these traits, immediately offer a word of praise or note of acknowledgment.
Allow some flexibility with work hours or schedule to create a better work-life balance.
Promote events and provide opportunities for colleagues to strengthen relationships, like staff retreats or happy hours.
Acknowledge your employees’ insights and efforts, which is as easy as sending an email thanking them or highlighting their work in a staff meeting or company-wide newsletter.
Offer more opportunities for promotions, career advancement, and professional development.
A simple survey is all it takes to start assessing and improving your employees’ satisfaction. Consider distributing a survey such as this one at the start of the fiscal year or the next time you conduct performance reviews. The answers can serve as a baseline for building the best possible workplace.
Below are several articles to help you increase employee satisfaction levels at your company and some free resources we think you’ll enjoy.
Impactful Employee Recognition Programs [+ Recognition Letter]