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The difference between an employee satisfaction survey and an employee engagement survey

How do you know whether undertaking an employee satisfaction survey or employee engagement survey is right for your organisation? Below is an introduction to the differences between the two, a list of 12 questions you should consider when planning an employee satisfaction survey, and best practice tips to help you get started.

Employee satisfaction

An employee satisfaction survey measures how happy an employee is. Employees can be satisfied with their job, organisation and workplace without ever being engaged in their work and therefore not impacting the customer experience. An employee satisfaction survey is therefore a range of questions regarding satisfaction with work and working conditions; these may include things such as:

  • pay and reward structures
  • how employees are managed
  • working conditions, and
  • the job itself.

Measuring employee satisfaction is really about measuring an individual’s perceptions of these parameters compared to their own expectations.

Employee engagement

An employee engagement survey measures an individual’s engagement to an organisation at an emotional, behavioural and cognitive level. Employee engagement surveys identify and measure drivers of engagement; that is, items which can be targeted for the most significant change to staff engagement levels.

Engaged employees are passionate and alive with the desire to do well. They are engaged with the corporate objectives and overall vision of the organisation.

Engaged employees work harder, stay longer and show increased discretionary effort. It is this increased employee engagement which leads to increased organisational performance as engaged employees show greater levels of productivity, customer service and so improving the customer experience. Customers who have a positive experience become repeat customers and/or advocates for the organisation leading to increased profitability.

staff with laptops, notebooks


12 questions you should ask in your next employee satisfaction survey

A great employee satisfaction survey will strike a balance between asking too few questions resulting in a lack of actionable insight, and asking too many questions that become tiresome to answer and therefore ineffective. It is best to be focused and clear, whilst remembering that the survey data will ultimately be used for driving change in your organisation.

Here are 12 great questions to ask in your next employee satisfaction survey:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied and happy do you feel in your role?
  2. Do you find your work meaningful?
  3. How aligned are you with the purpose and mission of the company?
  4. Do you like the company culture?
  5. Do you like the culture in your team, and connect with your teammates?
  6. Have you been given the tools and technologies you need to do your job well?
  7. Do you feel that your contributions are valued?
  8. Are roles and responsibilities clearly defined within the team?
  9. Do you feel that work is evenly distributed amongst your team?
  10. Do you find that the company offers adequate opportunities for promotions and career development
  11. Do your managers support you to do your job well? Are they transparent and value your feedback?
  12. Are we open to change as an organisation?

How to conduct employee satisfaction surveys – 5 best practice tips

  1. Use simple language
  2. Highlight that you value employee anonymity
  3. Conduct frequent surveys at least annually, and at other times of year
  4. Ask questions that are consistent over multiple surveys to track results
  5. Do not ask too many questions

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