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Measuring Employee Satisfaction: How to Do It (and How It Helps)

By Jessica Elliott Reviewed By Mike Lucas
By Jessica Elliott
By Jessica Elliott Reviewed By Mike Lucas

Job satisfaction is about more than fairly paid employees. It gives workers a sense of achievement and peace of mind. 

High employee satisfaction rates offer many benefits to companies, customers and staff. But you can’t improve what you don’t track. Learn why measuring employee satisfaction is vital and explore 9 ways to assess satisfaction in your workplace. 

4 Key Drivers of Employee Satisfaction

Although compensation and benefits matter, these are less important than other key drivers of employee satisfaction. 

According to a poll by The Conference Board, wages rank “10th out of 23 drivers of satisfaction,” with the top drivers being potential for future growth, communication channels and recognition. 

Likewise, a Glassdoor survey highlights 3 factors “as the top predictors of overall employee satisfaction: The culture and values of the organizations, the quality of senior leadership and access to career opportunities.” 

1. Company Culture and Values

Your corporate culture plays a vital role in employee satisfaction. A well-formed culture encourages mutual respect, supports two-way feedback and connects workers to the company mission. 

According to TINYpulse’s “Employee Retention Report,” employees who say “there’s a low level of respect between colleagues are 26% more likely to quit their jobs.” 

Plus, “Employees who believe their company has a higher purpose than just profits are 27% more likely to stay at their companies in the near future.”

A supportive corporate culture means: 

  • Employees feel valued and respected by leadership and peers
  • The company’s mission is baked into everyday job duties
  • Staff are comfortable giving feedback to co-workers and management
  • The work environment reflects fair and inclusive policies 

2. Senior Leadership

According to human resources services company Randstad, “60% of respondents say they have left a job or would leave over a bad boss.” Additionally, TINYpulse notes that employees “who rate their supervisor’s performance poorly are 4 times as likely to be job hunting.”

Regular communication, empathy and transparency from leaders increase feelings of employee satisfaction. 

3. Career Opportunities

Uncertain futures are unsettling and can lead to feelings of job insecurity. In contrast, 1-to-1 meetings exploring career pathing and upskilling opportunities raise satisfaction levels. 

Randstad states, “69% would be more satisfied if their employers better utilized their skills and abilities.” 

In addition, TINYpulse notes that employees “who don’t feel supported in their professional goals are 3 times more likely to be looking for a new job.”  

Clear and consistent communication regarding promotions or cross-training options boosts worker satisfaction. 

4. Recognition

Recognition by peers and leadership is crucial to employee satisfaction and retention. 

According to TINYpulse, 21.5% of employees who “don’t feel recognized when they do great work have interviewed for a job in the last three months, compared to just 12.4% that do feel recognized.”

Employers should build acknowledgment into their culture with frequent, specific and memorable acts of recognition.

Four employees jump for joy.

Benefits of High Employee Satisfaction Ratings

A workplace with a high number of satisfied employees sees improvements in nearly every area of the business. 

TINYpulse notes, “41% of companies with active peer-to-peer programs experience a positive increase in customer satisfaction.” 

Furthermore, happy employees “are less likely to leave their organizations, even when offered a 10% raise in salary elsewhere.” 

Other benefits of high employee satisfaction ratings include: 

  • Reduced voluntary attrition
  • Increased employee job candidate referrals
  • Improved productivity levels
  • Better employer reviews leading to reputation improvements
  • A positive perception of workplace culture

9 Ways to Measure Employee Satisfaction

Regardless of how well you think you know your employees, getting actual insights are better than assumptions. 

Indeed, TINYpulse finds 1 in 3 employees felt “they were well recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty and 33% of employees feel undervalued at work.”

A measure of job satisfaction instrument, such as a survey or employee net promoter score (eNPS), can help you discover the differences between what you think and how employees feel. 

Learn how to measure employee satisfaction using the following 9 tactics. 

1. Employee Net Promoter Score

Bain & Co. devised the eNPS based on their original customer net promoter score (NPS). Typically, employers ask workers a single question: 

“On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely is it you would recommend this company as a place to work?”

However, Bain points out that “eNPS is an emerging science” and mentions many businesses use a variable of a second question: “How likely would you be to recommend this company’s products or services to a friend or colleague?” 

Employees rate on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest positive score and 0 equaling the lowest rating. 

From there, employers put the scores into categories: 

  • Promoters: 9-10
  • Neutral: 7-8
  • Detractors: 0-6

This shows you the percentage of employees in each category. Next, use this formula to find your eNPS: 

% of Promoters – % of Detractors = eNPS score

While any figure over 0 is good, companies usually aim for ratings between 10 to 30.

2. Employee Satisfaction Index

The employee satisfaction index (ESI) presents workers with 3 questions, and the job satisfaction scale for employees ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 the highest. 

Like the eNPS, employers use the ESI by comparing scores over time, and many incorporate ESI questions as part of a larger employee satisfaction survey. 

The 3 questions consist of: 

  1. How satisfied are you with your current workplace? 
  2. How well does your current workplace meet your expectations?
  3. How close is your current workplace to the ideal one?

3. Employee Satisfaction Survey

An employee satisfaction survey is a mix of questions. Some are multiple choice, whereas others are open-ended. 

Although there isn’t a predetermined rating scale for the employee satisfaction survey, employers can ask role-specific questions to truly gauge employee satisfaction. 

You can create an employee satisfaction survey using various tools, such as SurveyMonkey, TINYpulse or Google Forms. 

Questions may differ monthly and cover topics, such as:

  • Company culture
  • Career development
  • Engagement 
  • Teamwork
  • Relationships with co-workers
  • Financial benefits
  • Work environment 
  • Perceptions of leadership
  • Diversity and inclusion

4. 1-to-1 Conversations

Regular communication is crucial to your company culture, as it increases engagement and satisfaction levels. But, meeting once a year for a performance review isn’t enough. 

Instead, employers should ensure managers schedule meetings with team members weekly, monthly or quarterly. 

1-to-1 conversations should involve giving feedback to employees and listening, with both parties comfortable asking and answering questions. 

A private discussion is an excellent time to talk about: 

  • Your employee’s well-being
  • Career development or goal progress
  • Potential barriers to growth
  • Access to resources

An employee stands before an employer at a desk who holds a scorecard that reads “9.9.”

5. Employee Performance Assessments

During your quarterly or annual review, it’s always a great idea to ask your team members how they feel about their assessment and overall workplace.

Consider questions related to performance goals and job satisfaction, such as:

  • What job duties or tasks are your favorites? 
  • Which ones would you prefer to do less of? 
  • What motivates you to complete your work? 
  • Does leadership communicate well with everyone? 

 6. Workplace Key Performance Metrics

Depending on the job position, there are various metrics you could use to identify satisfied employees. For instance, customer-facing roles may benefit from assessing client satisfaction or reviewing sentiment during client-employee conversations. 

Employee engagement metrics, such as how frequently workers log into various team software, may also give you further information to use alongside an employee satisfaction survey or eNPS. 

Key performance metrics (KPIs), such as absenteeism and employee turnover rate, also can help leaders when measuring employee satisfaction.  

7. Job Descriptive Index

Bowling Green State University owns the job descriptive index (JDI) and related scales, and it’s available as a free download. The JDI asks one question per category, and respondents enter Y (yes), N (no) or ? (undecided) by each of the adjectives. 

There are 72 adjectives on the regular version and 32 on the shortened index. The 6 categories are: 

  1. People on your present job
  2. Job in general
  3. Work on the current job
  4. Pay
  5. Opportunities for promotion
  6. Supervision

The custom JDI scale assigns a value to each adjective based on how well it describes a satisfying job. Then employers tally up the figures to get a final score. 

8. Job Satisfaction Survey

Although the job satisfaction survey (JSS) doesn’t give a definitive answer to employee satisfaction, it’s used to determine worker attitudes. 

It provides staff with 6 choices, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree, and covers 9 facets, including: 

  1. Pay
  2. Promotion
  3. Supervision
  4. Fringe benefits
  5. Contingent rewards (performance-based rewards)
  6. Operating procedures (required rules and procedures)
  7. Coworkers
  8. Nature of work
  9. Communication 

The JSS is slightly more complex to score than the eNPS, and you can download documents on scoring and interpretation on Paul Spector’s website. 

9. In-App Polls and Surveys

Collaboration software helps business leaders measure employee satisfaction in real-time. Both Google Workspace and Microsoft Teams support survey-building using the Forms tool. 

Leaders can create recurring surveys scheduled to post at various times automatically. Plus, you can tailor surveys or polls to specific teams or as part of a company-wide effort. 

Many platforms also support add-ins or widgets, such as Polly or SurveyMonkey. The convenient nature of in-app polls and surveys can increase participation and engagement. Furthermore, leaders can use the questions to spark positive discussions. 

Develop an Employee Satisfaction Survey Process

Employee satisfaction is a common performance measure, and there are many ways to assess it. But, the idea is to engage workers, not annoy them with countless surveys or prodding questions. 

Therefore, the job satisfaction instrument used should be fitting for your team and create a pleasant experience. 

Moreover, it’s essential to be transparent about how you use the data and show employees that their voice matters by showcasing improvements made based on survey responses.

Lastly, for best results, employers should schedule regular surveys to see how employees and perceptions change over time. 

Next Steps After Measuring Employee Satisfaction

Creating an employee satisfaction survey process and collecting data are only the first steps. After assessing employee satisfaction, it’s time to take action. 

Use your methods effectively by analyzing results quickly, sharing them with staff and committing to improvements.

Jessica Elliott Contributing Writer at Fast Capital 360
Jessica is a business-to-business content strategist and consultant with 24 years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry. She writes about technology, marketing and finance.
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