The Importance of Employee Satisfaction and Exit Surveys

In a competitive world with the need for businesses to be more productive and streamlined an organization can often find itself with a workforce working under pressure suffering from low moral and experiencing a high staff turnover. The benefits of an organization having a highly motivated workforce can be considerable and the two goals of having employees that are both motivated and productive should not be regarded as being mutually exclusive to one another.

If problems are left unresolved then companies run the risk of alienating their employees and events can then cause employee frustrations to boil over resulting in managers finding themselves on the back foot, faced with problems that cannot be ignored.

Ideally employers would take time to understand the needs of their employees and learn from their experiences of working on the front line, but employers are often themselves tied up day to day fighting their own fires.

Online surveys provide employers with an affordable and efficient method to automate the process of collating the information and storing it in a format that allows for real-time analysis there by helping the management towards the goals of achieving staff satisfaction and high productivity.

Unproductive & dissatisfied

There are many reasons why employees may be dissatisfied with their job and more often than not staff frustration is channelled into a demand for higher salaries and less hours. Managers who tackle these issues head on, making it all about salary and hours, will often find themselves dealing with the symptoms and not the root cause. 

It’s not just about the money

The following are barriers to achieving productivity, none of which are likely to be resolved by increasing salaries or reducing hours:-

  • Inadequate training
  • Out of touch management
  • Out of date working methods
  • Lack of proper tools and equipment

Numerous studies have shown that salaries are rarely the most important priority for employees and providing an employer is paying a fair rate they would be fundamentally wrong to think that paying higher salaries is a panacea to all employee problems.

Take the case of a single mother who is juggling a full time job with the need to look after three children. Out of frustration she may demand more money so that she feels that she is able to cope where a better solution, for both her and the company, may be more flexible working hours. 

Communication is what it is all about

It is in the interests of all organizations to encourage good communication. Without good communication between personnel and management, or where management wait until problems are raised, management may assume that they have a content workforce when in actual fact the opposite is true. It can take only one aggrieved employee with one small problem for an entire workforce to develop a destructive ‘them and us’ attitude. 

Improving communication

Ideally management would hold one to one meetings with each employee but in practice this would only seem practical for very small businesses.

Regular meetings between management and worker representatives are good in theory but can degenerate into talking shops and slowly lose their purpose as the participants from both sides become familiar with one another and the meetings run the risk of being hijacked by the more extreme personalities.

Suggestion boxes can be useful but can be viewed as token efforts by management as they wait for personnel to highlight a problem. Newsletters can provide a positive contribution, but their primary function is to inform and not discuss employee issues. 

Maintaining the initiative

Conducting employee satisfaction surveys on a regular basis you are able to ask each employee specific questions and present a pro-active management initiative where the whole workforce can be canvassed on various issues. Surveys are able to provide a level playing field between the quieter and more vocal employees.

Being prepared to consulate with employees should not be seen as a sign of weakness, a confident manager will take counsel from all quarters before making a decision. By retaining the initiative and conducting a survey the employer is able to tackle problems from a position of strength as opposed to waiting for problems to arise and develop out of proportion.

If small problems are left unresolved the employees mood can change from positive to negative over night should a minor problem breaks the camel’s back. 

Easy and quick

For the majority of organizations online surveys represent a proactive and low cost solution. For the majority of organizations where most of the personnel have desktop computers, they are quick to design and deploy direct to the individual.

In situations where not all of the personal have access to a computer there are options available to implement the online survey solution such as providing a shared computer, have an operator input their responses or as a last resort, a hardcopy survey. 

Job satisfaction

There are a number of elements that combined will provide an employee with job satisfaction, from company ethics, working environment, methodology and ethos to having good and effective management. Job satisfaction brings benefits through improved productivity and motivation from a workforce that feels that they are treated as individuals and not a commodity item. 

Educate and inform

An online survey can also be used to educate and pass on to the workforce important information, the ‘message’ is consistently delivered and does not suffer from the Chinese whisper phenomenon where a message can be distorted as it is handed down.

An online survey can explain a difficult situation and get valuable feedback from the employees as to the best solution. It is rare in this situation that the workforce would appear negative; it is more likely they will feel informed and empowered and that might be enough to turn a potentially negative problem into a positive challenge that unites the workforce. 

Exit surveys

Exit surveys are a good way for management to ensure that when people leave the organisation they are leaving for the right reasons and not due to reasons that if appreciated earlier could have been addressed and resolved. If a problem has been identified it may be too late to prevent an individual from leaving but if addressed it could prevent other key personnel leaving for the same reasons. 

Analysing the results

Having consulted with the workforce using an online survey the results are available for instant analysis. Common and specific problems can be identified and the senior management informed who then will have the chance to address the issues that have been raised. 

Summary

Used regularly online surveys represent a simple and productive method of taking the pulse of an organisation and an easy way to establish a two way communication channel between employer and employee with the results providing management with vital, accurate and significant information.

For a Sample Employee Satisfaction Survey:- Employee Satisfaction Survey Template

For a sample Employee Exit survey:- Employee Exit Survey Template