If someone asked you if your employees felt happy, supported, and welcome at your company, what would you say? How would you know that your answer was accurate? Employee satisfaction and diversity surveys can shed light on how well you’re doing as a boss, and reveal some issues that may be hidden to management. It’s also a great reflection of your values as a purpose-driven company–doing the work to continually improve and make your business a great place for all employees.
In this post, we dive into how these surveys are designed, what information they can provide, and how you can set one up yourself.
What are employee satisfaction and diversity surveys?
An employee satisfaction survey is a common tool that companies use to take detailed inventory of various aspects of workers’ experiences on the job.
Likewise, an employee diversity survey offers insight into the general makeup of a business’s personnel, and whether or not various groups feel supported and represented. It explores whether people perceive the workplace is fair and everyone feels included.
The purpose of these surveys is to collect actionable data to improve employee well-being and performance. They often include a mix of multiple choice questions, short response answers, and scaled ratings. Used in tandem, employee satisfaction and diversity surveys can reveal areas where staff is struggling, and if issues of diversity and inclusion may be part of the cause.
Why do companies use them?
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, about 80% of companies now conduct job engagement surveys. These surveys allow companies to collect important data that they may not otherwise have access to. Even in the most supportive environments, employees are often reluctant to reveal their true feelings about their work. It could be anything from an individual employee’s personality to fears of retribution.
Because employee satisfaction and diversity surveys are anonymous, employees have the opportunity to be a bit more candid and honest. The answers go beyond what would be collected from a focus group or one-on-one conversation, giving managers a chance to hear what employees really think.
Are there benefits to asking employees how they feel?
When you learn what employees really think about your company, it opens the door to improvement and positions yourself as a great place to work. These questions are not just looking for a simple “good” or “bad.” If an employee reveals they are unsatisfied at work or don’t feel adequately represented and supported, you should take the opportunity to learn more. Perhaps a group feels outcast from the workplace culture due to unequal accommodations. Or maybe out-of-date scheduling practices are causing difficulties with work-life-balance. In both these examples, solutions are easily identifiable.
Having an understanding of the emotional landscape of your workplace can boost productivity, retention, engagement, and overall employee well-being. Afterall, happy employees are more willing to put in effort, work as a team, and stick with your company for the long term. What’s more, you earn a reputation for being responsive and well-functioning, which attracts a serious and motivated workforce.
When employees are happy, treated equitably, and have fair and safe work conditions, business just runs better.
What should you ask on these surveys?
The questions depend entirely on your goals. Employee satisfaction surveys aimed at determining work-life balance may include things like:
- How often do you feel stressed at work?
- How often do you stay at work late?
- Do you often feel angry or frustrated on the job?
Surveys aimed at overall satisfaction may include questions like:
- When was the last time you received positive feedback from your manager?
- Do you know what is expected of you at work?
- Is there at least one person at work that you can trust?
Employee diversity surveys can usually be broken down into one of two categories. The first collects demographic data, such as race, gender, sex, country of origin, veteran status, disability status, or language, just to name a few. This will provide a snapshot of who makes up your workplace and help identify potential accommodations and considerations to be implemented.
Diversity surveys that go a bit deeper aim to get at how those groups of employees actually feel at work. These are similar to satisfaction surveys, but have a narrower focus. Questions may include:
- Do you feel like you belong at your company?
- Do you feel that you can voice a contrary opinion without fear of consequences?
- Are promotion decisions fair at your company?
- Are miscellaneous administrative tasks divided equitably at your company?
What to do with survey results
Now that you have feedback from your team, it’s time to implement changes based on what you’ve learned. Take positive feedback to build upon your successes. If people like that you host days of service or allow work from home, ensure these continue, are supported, or even expanded.
If there are areas for improvement, make sure to take action. Here are some ways you can improve on employee satisfaction:
- Address instances of discrimination and harassment immediately. It should go without saying that this is a corrosive element in a work environment–not to mention a legal liability.
- Consider starting a DEI program that includes stakeholders at every level.
- When dissatisfaction with policies arise, take a critical look at whether they should be changed and what that change would look like.
- Work with human resources on creating programs to show employees your appreciation. No HR? Build a committee to do this task.
- Review your values as a business and weave these values into employee appreciation. If it’s important to your company to give back to the community, survey employees about what causes are important to them. Then, work to add them to your community engagement programs.
How MAYO built our surveys
When we decided to pursue B Corp Certification, it got us thinking about the kind of company we wanted to be, including how we treat employees. This includes understanding what employees really think and if we are doing our best to be a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.
When we put together our employee satisfaction survey, here are some questions we included:
- How much do your opinions about work matter to your coworkers?
- How often do the tasks assigned to you by your boss help you grow professionally?
- Are you satisfied with your job?
Once we collected this information from employees, we also:
- Gathered employee attrition rate and compared it to industry benchmarks
- Reviewed answers and satisfaction scores to measure overall employee satisfaction.
- Compared employee satisfaction to industry benchmarks.
- Annually review surveys and methods for filing complaints to see if there could be improvement.
After assessing the data, we found that MAYO employees are 90% satisfied and engaged. Not bad numbers! The goal of these scores, even when results are good, is to create a positive work environment where everyone feels valued.
“Although yes, B Corp has been the driver of us creating these surveys, they do have a meaning to MAYO,” said Jacqui Lewis, Director of Marketing Strategy at MAYO. “It’s important for us to gauge employee’s experiences so we can create a more fulfilling environment for everyone.”