It’s not insider-info to know that when your employees are satisfied at work, they’re more likely to contribute, be engaged, and be far more productive. Every successful company in operation today has satisfied and motivated employees as their foundation, so gauging your employee’s satisfaction is a massive priority.
The harsh reality is, many people hate their job. Maybe it’s an issue with management; perhaps they don’t get on with their colleagues. Some feel they’re expendable, while others think they don’t get noticed for their hard work. Others feel underpaid or don’t buy into their employer’s way of doing things or how the staff is treated.
Are your staff satisfied in the workplace? Are their jobs manageable? Do they feel management is doing the right thing?
Low job satisfaction can harm your bottom line:
- Unsatisfied employees are unproductive employees
- Dissatisfaction is the number one contributor to low retention rates
- Bad attitudes can directly affect your customers
- Dissatisfied employees can turn toxic, harming morale
- If your payroll is full of disgruntled employees, how are you ever going to attract new talent?
The simplest and most cost-effective way to find all of this out is with an employee satisfaction survey done at regular intervals depending on your company’s size. These can be sent electronically and done anonymously, so you ensure those being surveyed are unafraid to share their thoughts without the fear of penalties.
The process isn’t about data collection; it’s about finding real, actionable insights. Let’s look at ten questions you need to be asking to create a more harmonious working environment.
1. Are you happy with your co-workers?
Often, your co-workers can make or break a job. Even when times are tough and things get very demanding, if the people around you are there to support you, it becomes that much easier. It’s impossible for most to feel satisfied with their jobs without any friends in the workplace.
The question should be not about the employee, but those around them. Do they feel happy with their fellow staff? Are they forging deeper relationships? Do they communicate outside of the office? All of these things are important to know.
2. Do your managers value your input?
Even if the employee in question isn't in senior management, it shouldn't invalidate their ideas. It's not helpful to work under someone who doesn't ask for your opinion or never wants your thoughts on the table. If an employee isn't asked how they feel about an idea or given time to add some of their own, they're bound to be dissatisfied.
So, use your survey to check that managers ask workers for their insights. A customer service agent, for instance, will know more about the VoIP system they use every day than anyone else.
3. Does management communicate news and change effectively?
The average employee spends at least 40 hours a week in the office (although our current circumstances have changed that a bit).
Whether staff is working in-house or remotely, they need to be clued in on significant developments. If something is occurring that will affect employees down the line, whether that be management, logistic, or technological changes - employees need to be notified. Otherwise, you get into circumstances where staff give out the wrong local phone numbers to customers. Or fail to sell a product's newest feature.
This is your chance to find out if these communications are working or not.
4. How open do you think our business is to change?
How employees perceive your willingness to make changes is vital information. Whether on a managerial, process, or technological level - a business has to adapt. And employees need to know that they're open to doing so.
If things are taking too long, mistakes are being made, and the staff isn't happy, there needs to be a change. And, if team members know this alteration won't be met with resistance, they'll feel all the better for it.
5. Do you find your job meaningful?
Admittedly, quite an abstract question, but an important one nevertheless. A millennial workforce values a job's impact as highly as they value the pay that goes with it. So it's essential to ask your workforce whether or not they think the work they do makes an impact instead of being just a way to pay the bills.
6. Do you feel your roles and responsibilities are what you signed up for?
Often, people begin their job doing one thing, and then as time goes on, they're doing many things. This naturally comes from growth in a role, but there are times where people feel stretched. If they began work as one thing, and are now another, this can become a massive problem.
Many people may feel they're being asked to do things that don't fall under their remit. In most contracts, employers state that the employee may be asked to do some things outside their usual role. But, if these things are the rule and not the exception, you're laying the groundwork for extreme dissatisfaction.
7. Do you have the right equipment to do your job?
Work sucks when you have to rely on outdated equipment, legacy software, and creaking computers requiring constant IT attention. The same goes for working from home, are your staff satisfied with their remote work tools? People's lives are easier when the tech around them work, no matter the department. Do you need to invest in things like an all in one desktop app? Does your intranet have all the right resources? Do you need to install a proper call forwarding service so those working remotely can do their jobs uninterrupted? This is your chance to find all that out and more.
8. Is there room for career progression within our organization?
Most people go into a job, hoping that this is just the first step on the ladder and not a fixed position. Career growth is incredibly significant to an ambitious workforce, if it isn’t, you’ve got an unambitious one!
A salesperson should aim to be a sales manager. A customer service rep should want to be a client manager. A designer should want to manage their team. You must gauge your team’s belief that they’ve got space to progress within your company, if not, you may have a severe problem on your hands.
This doesn’t mean instant promotions in the fear your talent might walk away; it’s about looking at employees on a case by case basis and determining whether they deserve an increase in both salary and responsibilities.
Additional reading: Why is employee development important and how to create an employee development plan?
9. Do you think we have a good company culture?
Factors related to employee satisfaction outside of financial gain are interpersonal relationships, the vibe inside the office, and the feeling one gets when telling others who they work for.
These feelings come as a result of a company’s culture. It’s an inward and outward representation of what it means to be an employee. Culture isn’t something you can artificially create, nor does it manifest overnight. It’s a continually evolving process that grows based on experience.
10. Are you paid enough?
Most people are going to say no. Ask yourself, are you paid enough? Your insights here come from not who says no, but how many people say yes. Set yourself a realistic target in terms of percentage, and if you're miles away from it, then this needs urgent addressing.
We've talked about culture and technology and ambition, but ultimately, money talks. It's worth examining others in your industry and seeing who's paying what for which position. Your aim should be to better it.
Sam O'Brien is the Senior Website Optimisation & User Experience Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a Global VoIP, video conferencing, and call center software provider. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.
Relevant: How to measure and improve the employee experience