Last week I was very critical of exit interviews; I believe for good reason, however, I love the idea of Employee Satisfaction Surveys, which are a way to ascertain how well the company (employers) and the employees are doing….from many vantage points.
To me, the satisfaction surveys are a combination of a performance review along with a ‘what do you think of the company’ questionnaire. I think these are best presented in the form of a questionnaire with a random sampling of employees to be interviewed by a member of a department (preferably Human Resources) that is different than the one in which the employee is a member.
According to a 2014 survey of US households by the Conference Board, job dissatisfaction is widespread among workers of all ages and across all income brackets. The study found that only 47% of those surveyed say they are satisfied with their jobs. This survey covered overall job satisfaction but psychologists, sociologists and the powers that ‘be’ in the Human Resources’ world look at both intrinsic job satisfaction (when workers consider the kind of work that they do and the tasks that make up their job) and extrinsic job satisfaction (when workers consider the conditions of work, such as their pay, coworkers and supervisor(s)).
I personally and professionally feel that Job Satisfaction Surveys done every two (2) years (if a start-up or new business within a five (5) year period, then every year) are far better than doing any kind of ‘Exit Interview’, which puts the employee and many times, the company representative, in an uncomfortable situation.
Now, one of the main rules for doing an Employee Satisfaction Survey is that all information (NO MATTER HOW FLAMMABLE) is maintained in the strictest confidence. I had a very unfortunate experience while doing work for an Accounting Consulting Company in the greater Philadelphia area about 10 years ago….the very progressive company was being sold to a rather large investor and right around the time the sale went through, the company sent out an Employee Satisfaction Survey while at an offsite company gathering. The survey was 2-3 pages in length with a few questions about personal job satisfaction but the gist of the questionnaire was primarily corporate satisfaction (the company had recently been involved in an EEOC action by a former employee and the primary person the complaint was leveled against was still in high management within the company). It turns out that someone else in the company was having ‘issues’ with this particular manager/owner/principal and answered one of the questions in the affirmative regarding sexual harassment and harassment in general. Instead of the comments being handled appropriately and confidentially, the other principal/manager/owner chose to bring it to the HR Department’s attention since he ‘recognized’ the writing of the individual on the questionnaire…he felt the accusation was too ‘flammable’ to keep in confidence…..
Aren’t all of you readers out there ‘glad’ that I’ve had such interesting and challenging experiences with former business owners? Regardless, the employee was nearly devastated that they were ‘called on the carpet’ for making these ‘slanderous’ observations….the employee was reprimanded by the existing ownership as well as the new owner…to the extent that the employee was invited out to lunch by the new owners and ‘threatened’ with their job if they did not stop ‘observing’ the harassing behavior…yes, this is true and if anyone contacts me with questions about the name of the company and the name of the principal/owner/manager, I will gladly comply with the information (as well as any other information anyone would like to know about any of my former employers….protection is afforded me….when an employer is doing something dishonest, illegal, immoral, illicit, unethical, then an employee has a right to make the information known)
To make a long story much shorter….the battered employee left the company of their own volition, the company lost (or settled, I should say) the EEOC action that was charged against the company and the primary manager/principal/owner that was doing all the harassing was eventually asked to leave for it turned out that those employees that complained about him….were correct to complain. The last that I heard was that the owner/principal/manager that did not maintain the confidence of the employee that wrote the negative information on the Job Satisfaction Survey repurchased his company, without, of course, the harasser at the helm with him. Regardless, in my humble opinion, they were both pretty unscrupulous individuals to work for and I’m glad that I received another offer….
So, again, please maintain confidence with any information that is derived from Job Satisfaction Surveys….
There are a number of theories regarding job satisfaction…there have been surveys put together by Psychologists since the early 1930’s….all wanting to know what can be done to make employees ‘happy’ or ‘content’ at work. There is not one strategy for employee contentment as we now know….and when I refer to a Job Satisfaction Survey, I’m referring to one that gets to the ‘core’ of a particular business and how the employees are or can be better treated or more understood not the ‘academic’ surveys that feel as if one is taking the LSAT’s.
Remember, my philosophy is a happy employee makes a more productive work environment….however, a business can do everything in its power to insure the correct work environment and there will always be someone (or possibly a good deal) that eludes the efforts. The point is to make the effort to a have a contented workforce and the effort will be repaid many times around.
If you have any questions or would like more information regarding Employee Job Satisfaction Surveys, please contact Rosanne Turczyn-Bennett at 484-798-1236 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.