What’s Missing in Your Employee Satisfaction Survey?

Payroll is (probably) your biggest expense. Employees that aren’t engaged cost US businesses over $500 billion a year, according to a recent Gallup report.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that the best way to measure employee engagement is through an independent employee satisfaction survey. Though not all surveys are created equal. Whether you’re doing a survey in-house, outsourcing, or not doing one yet (don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone) we have a list of crucial components (WITH GIFS!) that many people miss.


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Everyone knows that anonymity is the foundation of any employee satisfaction survey, but are you doing enough to really ensure that your employees’ privacy is protected? Anonymity is in the eye of the beholder. If your employees don’t feel their answers are private – even if you’re taking the right steps to ensure it – you’re not going to get honest, accurate data. The best way to put your employees’ minds at ease is to outsource your survey process, but even if you decide not to outsource, make sure you explain in detail how respondents’ privacy will be protected.


This seems obvious, right? But are you using the right benchmarks? Internal year-over-year benchmarks are definitely useful (which is why I’m positive you’re already using them), but have you benchmarked your survey against other organizations in your field?
Industry data can give you excellent context for your data. Perhaps you’re worried about a metric that was lower than you expected. Industry data might show that metric is above average for firms in your line of business. The more data you have around your survey, the clearer your situation becomes.

Demographic Data

This can be tricky if you do your survey in-house, but there’s no doubt that demographic data can give you a leg up in understanding why your employees feel the way they do. Ideally, you can provide data to a third-party researcher and they can overlay the demographic data onto your survey, providing crosstabs for all sorts of categories including salary, years of service, department, position, and any other sociographic data you might find helpful.

A Plan

Don’t ask a question you don’t want to know the answer to. If you’re not ready to put a plan into action to solve a problem and communicate that plan to employees in a timely manner, you’re only going to frustrate your employees by getting their feedback on an issue.
Once a survey is complete and the results have been reviewed, quickly put a plan in place to address the largest concerns. Make sure your employees have an overview of the problem, the plan to fix it, and a timeline for execution. Just knowing that their concerns are heard, and that management wants to address them will improve morale and engagement before the problem has even been solved.

You’re Giving Your Employees a Voice

At the end of the day, an employee satisfaction survey is for your employees. Too many companies see their employee satisfaction survey as an exclusively informational tool, but if you effectively communicate the goals, findings, and resulting action plans, that survey alone can be an opportunity to boost morale, engage employees with the success of the company, and create a culture of communication that flows both up and down.
Let them know that their concerns are being heard, that upper-management is listening and working to address friction points, and their candor is making the company better. After all, your employees are your most important asset.