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The effectiveness of job satisfaction surveys—and lessons for companies

by | Jun 1, 2024 | Public Relations

Research on the worker’s experience can be traced back to the 1930s, during the times of the Great Depression. The economic turmoil caused a noticeable shift in the workers’ attitudes towards work, and organizational behavior scientists put a magnifying glass on the situation. 

Nowadays, job satisfaction surveys are common, initiated not by scientists, but by employers themselves. Usually, the purpose of such surveys is to measure the morale of your workers. Throughout the years, more metrics have been added and a myriad of factors are now measured: work-life balance, job security, leadership, work relationships etc. 

Regarding PR, having high job satisfaction is an important benchmark for companies, as this can always be used for leverage during a PR disaster. Employees are more likely to advocate for the company and having a reputation for maintaining high levels of job satisfaction is more likely to mitigate the negative public’s perception.

One of such instances is Zappos, an online clothing retailer, renowned for its commitment to transparency. In 2012, they suffered a large data breach, where customer’s personal information was leaked to third parties. Despite everything, they managed to swiftly address the situation. With the help of engaged employees, they made sure to inform their customers about the loss of data and the next steps to take to prevent other breaches from happening.  

The question remains then: How effective are job surveys in solving the company’s issues?  

The problem

Assessing job satisfaction can be difficult. Despite providing valuable insights into the inner mechanisms of the company, employees have low confidence in the effectiveness of such surveys in solving the disclosed issues.  

Many of the problems are related to the design of the survey and how it’s distributed. The organizational behavior psychology book, Essentials of Job Attitudes and Other Workplace Psychological Constructs mentions these problems:  

  • Surveys given annually tend to be long and fatigue-inducing. Employees often feel that their feedback gets lost in the vastness of the survey and doesn’t translate into real actions from management.  
  • Over-reliance on quantitative data, neglecting the nuances and qualitative aspects of employee experiences. The lack of personal touch and deeper qualitative insights leaves employees feeling unheard and undervalued.  
  • Surveys can be too frequent, leading to survey fatigue among employees and diminishing response rates. 

Others point out the limited scope of the questionnaires. Some job satisfaction surveys may have a narrow focus, only addressing specific aspects of the work environment or employee experience. The lack of breadth can overlook important factors contributing to overall job satisfaction, such as career development opportunities and organizational culture. 

Some survey designers have addressed this by opting to measure employee engagement instead. Research shows that employee engagement is closely linked to key performance indicators such as productivity, profitability, customer satisfaction, and employee retention. Engaged employees are more committed, motivated, and willing to go the extra mile for the organization. 

What are the possible solutions to ensure the effectiveness of surveying your employees? 

The solution

To achieve better results, companies need to adopt a more holistic approach that addresses the limitations of traditional survey methods. 

Using more qualitative methods. Drop the surveys and go for a couple of interviews. While requiring a bit more effort, the insights revealed will be also more relevant and insightful. It allows for a deeper understanding of employee experiences and concerns. Sentiment analysis tools can parse through qualitative data and identify underlying trends and sentiments among employees. 

Ensure anonymity. Guarantee your employees confidentiality regarding their answers. This will increase the response rate and the feedback will be more genuine.  

Furthermore, companies should focus on managing the workload levels of employees to prevent burnout and dissatisfaction. This can involve implementing flexible work arrangements, providing adequate resources and support, and fostering a culture of work-life balance. 

Conclusion

Making sure your employees are satisfied is an underrated feat for your company’s PR. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. At the end of the day, the surveys are just a tool to find gaps in work satisfaction. What’s important is how those findings are later implemented to secure worker’s engagement. Making sure your employees are engaged and having good public statistics can always be used for leverage during a PR crisis. 

Mikas Lukoševičius
Fresh in the B2B marketing leagues, Mikas is a marketing manager at Teamhood. He’s passionate about content writing, SEO and exploring the current commerce trends. Due to his range of topics of interest, Mikas effortlessly brings fresh perspectives to your project management needs.

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