Employee Satisfaction: The Very Basics

September 18, 2019 by Josh Hrala

Employee engagement is a hot button issue right now that has become all the more popular thanks to the tight labor market, which has made it paramount that employers do all that they can to retain staff members and attract top tier talent to fill positions. To do this, though, you need to understand how measuring employee satisfaction plays a huge role in engagement and beyond.

Despite all of its benefits, measuring employee satisfaction often goes overlooked in talks about employee engagement, which is strange because, in order for an employee to be fully engaged, they need to also feel satisfaction from their roles.

Today, we will take a look at how measuring employee satisfaction can give you a boost and what you should look for during the process.

Let’s get started.

Measuring Employee Satisfaction: The Basics

Like any employee engagement strategy, we recommend that you start with surveys that will help you paint an accurate picture of every worker in your organization.

This seems like a daunting task, but if you divide the work up with the help of your managers, you should be able to perform an absolute ton of surveys and interviews without one department being bogged down for too long.

employee satisfaction

We’ve talked about what to do with this employee survey data in the past, though it makes sense to reiterate it here. Basically, you want to understand what motivates your employees, how engaged they are in their roles, and what plans you can put in place on an individual level to ensure that they stick around and – most importantly – thrive in your organization.

The key here is the personalized approach. Each employee is different and requires different things. Someone in, say, marketing may love sales but they never get the opportunity to work closely with the sales team. This person probably is just working in marketing until something else opens up or until a sales role falls on their lap.

This means that this individual is, technically, disengaged from their role. They are doing it primarily to pay the bills, not because they truly love it. This problem is very common, but if you notice this in employees, you can easily make a program to have them work closer with sales or even transition them to the sales department. It all depends on what satisfies the employee, which means every single person will be different.

This is what measuring employee satisfaction is all about, though it obviously takes a lot of time and effort to fully understand what satisfies each employee.

Measuring Employee Satisfaction: It’s Tied to Engagement

You can probably see what we’re getting at here. By measuring employee satisfaction you’re basically measuring engagement. You cannot have a dissatisfied employee who is fully engaged. It just doesn’t work that way.

Organizations love to talk about how engaged their employees are, but many don’t realize that the majority of workers across the country and even across the globe are not satisfied in their roles. Sure, they may perform their roles well and show up on time, but do they really, really care about the company’s mission or success besides the fact that the company pays them a salary?

employee satisfaction

In short, employers need to understand how measuring employee satisfaction on a regular basis can increase fulfillment and, therefore, engagement. All three of these buzzwords are intimately intertwined and cannot exist without each other.

This is largely why employee engagement is starting to be called employee fulfillment. If an employee is fulfilled by their work, they will always perform better, stick around longer, and care more.

What to Look for When Measuring Employee Satisfaction

So, after all of that, what do you need to look for when measuring employee satisfaction? Are there any simply stats you need to know about?

Honestly, this sort of thing depends greatly on what type of organization you have and how your culture works. For some organizations, employee satisfaction may be easily seen or felt because the teams involved are all super close with one another.

A great manager will notice changes in their employee’s behavior that can signal when they are starting to become dissatisfied with their work. This is when a meeting should be held between the manager and the employee to figure out what is going on and what path can be taken to fix it.

You’d be surprised how effective this strategy is. However, it relies on the fact that you have great managers and they, too, are satisfied in their role.

It can become very complicated when a manager, especially one with a large team, becomes dissatisfied and disengaged from their work because it can cause everyone underneath them feel the same way. This creates a runaway problem that upper management has to pay close attention to.

Besides having your managers specifically look out for satisfaction and report back to you, you should also regularly check in with employees using surveys or other touch points.

employee satisfaction

It can be easy to neglect surveys and employee sanctification because – let’s face it – there’s always too much work to be done. Nowadays, though, with the tight labor market, it’s becoming increasingly clear that managers and upper management cannot let this happen.

Depending on your culture, find ways to check in with employees and make sure that they are fulfilled in their roles. If they aren’t, see if there are any changes you can make.

For example, if someone on your staff really loves art and is hyper creative, you should check to see if they can use those skills on any upcoming projects. It may even save you time and money finding a freelancer.

Measuring Employee Satisfaction: The Key Takeaways

The key to measuring employee satisfaction is to ensure that you are checking in with employees as much as you can while also relying on your managers to pay attention to how workers are working and feeling.

Once you have identified possible areas of improvement, make sure you tailor plans to individuals. Blanket fixes typically do not work on these solutions and often times feels forced or hollow.

In the end, measuring employee satisfaction can go a long way in helping you retain and attract talent because it helps engage employees on a more personal level and help them find the fulfillment we all want out of our careers.

Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

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