Experienced marketing professional

No one wants to work for “that company” – you know, a place similar to “Initech” in the movie Office Space? With the global economy still on the road to recovery, employee strikes are not an uncommon occurrence. Some could argue “if you don’t like your job, don’t work there”, but let me offer a different approach.

Harvey Mackay, bestselling author and chairman of the MackayMitchell Envelope Corporation is quoted saying, “Employee loyalty begins with employer loyalty. Your employees should know that if they do the job they were hired to do with a reasonable amount of competence and efficiency, you will support them.” If you’re in a management or supervisory position, it really is in your company’s best interest to conduct regular employee satisfaction surveys, specifically for the following reasons:

1. It can increase productivity.

Just the hint of conducting a satisfaction survey in your company can increase employee motivation. Giving your employees time to voice concerns they’ve been having, and more importantly, acting quickly on those concerns can have huge beneficial effects on employee motivation and dedication. If done incorrectly, this approach can easily backfire, though. I used to work as a shift manager at a pizza restaurant back when I was in high school. Upper management had conducted an employee satisfaction survey, and really put an emphasis on open-ended questions. I remember thinking, “Hey, this is fantastic! Now we can voice a few concerns we’ve all been having.” Among all of the recommendations, virtually none were implemented. It was like our voice was ignored. Things were actually worse due to management’s ostensible concern for employees.

2. It saves time and money.

Face it: hiring a new employee is expensive. Between the money and time involved with recruitment, training and workplace integration, what may be seen as an immediate hire quickly turns into a laborious, costly undertaking. You definitley want to work on retaining your existing employees.  A study of 610 CEOs conducted by the Studer Group found that “typical, mid-level managers require 6.2 months to reach their break-even point.” Also, when an employee makes a mistake, they now have gained the experience relating to it. Hiring someone new who is unfamiliar with the details of your company might end up making the same mistake.

3. It can uncover issues not readily apparent.

There may be times when issues in the workplace may be swept under the rug or quickly forgotten for fear of harsh retribution. Conducting anonymous surveys can help gain honest, truthful feedback about how employees feel about their positions, upper management and the company as a whole. Certain lingering issues may be harmful enough to cause certain employees to seek alternative means of employment, thus raising the turnover rate.

Positive relationships are always beneficial, and the full success of a company can only be measured when you include the loyalty of its employees. Asking your employees what they need, listening to them and taking direct action are easy steps an employer can implement to gain motivation and productivity in the workplace. For more information about this topic, including employee satisfaction survey templates to utilize, check out QuestionPro.com.

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4 comments

    I can’t disagree with anything in this article, except the title. Satisfaction survey?

    Yeh, we’re pretty satisfied – we get paid lots, management leave us alone, we have flexitime so most of us get Fridays off, no-one bothers much if you come in late, and if you have a hangover you can have a sickie. Sure we’re satisfied.

    There are companies like this. And organisations in the public sector. Think of “Parks and Recreation”.
    So I prefer an employee survey with an agenda, not to measure satisfaction, but to understand the values and behaviours of the organisation, and whether they are aligned with the strategic goals. I want to know if employees’ skills are being properly utilised, if the promotion process is fair, and how people feel about change. Does the company do what it says it will do? Do businesses processes work? Does anyone understand the finances? Does the workforce have confidence in the top management? Does the organisation have ethics, integrity and honesty? Does anyone trust what it says? Or is it all just lip service to a politically correct bullshit agenda?

    In some organisations dissatisfaction can be positive. It can indicate a hunger for change, a desire to do better, get promoted and earn more.

    So my advice is be thorough, be rigorous, ask the difficult questions – the ones where management will not like the answers. And then use the data to engineer a process of change which will transform the organisation into a world-beater.

    My company, Benchpoint, which has just started using QuestionPro, has been doing this for years. We have a product called “Management Probe” which gets down and dirty, straight to the nitty gritty. It works.

    References http://www.benchpoint.com
    Management Probe: http://benchpoint.com/?page_id=2

    Richard,

    Thanks for the reply, you brought up some excellent points. I especially like your recommendation to “ask the difficult questions” – as I’ve always said, the times when you’re given advice or answers you don’t like is when you should be paying the most attention.

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