Employee Satisfaction Surveys: Can New Surveys Help Plan Sponsors Meet their Employee's Needs?

The latest statistics show about 1/3rd of U.S. employees don’t feel engaged with their work. This dissatisfaction costs the U.S. economy up to $600 billion in lost productivity

Jokes about disliking your job probably go back so far as to be painted on cave walls. Drew Carey famously said “Oh, you hate your job? Why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called everybody, and they meet at the bar." All joking aside, the number of employees who disengage from their jobs is on the rise. The latest statistics show about 1/3rd of U.S. employees don’t feel engaged with their work. This dissatisfaction costs the U.S. economy up to $600 billion in lost productivity. Boosting employee engagement can sometimes come from new leadership or management. But it can also come without such a massive shake up. Your management can change their tune without throwing the band off the stage. Before you go swapping your LudaCris for Taylor Swift, consider a softer step. How so? New employee satisfaction surveys may help direct management towards re-engaging those employees.

Not all employees hate their jobs because of their functions: for some, its workplace related. Employees who grumble about fielding phone calls don’t belong in customer service – that’s a clear issue with function. Employees, on the other hand, who feel like they don’t have options for growing in their field, can’t understand their payroll deductions, or struggle with core hours (“face time” hours) may have an issue with fit. Finding out who is dissatisfied based on their function versus who is dissatisfied based on their fit can be tricky business. Employee surveys can help find trends in the culture of a workplace and what might be driving employee dissatisfaction. If it’s a trend, something that many employees experience across divisions, it might show up in a survey more than in individual reviews or conversations.

New software helps employers and plan sponsors have more visibility into their employee’s needs and where those employees feel stuck. This software, through feedback channels, helps employers hear from employees not only on benefits, but also on competitive challenges and trends.

Employee surveys are possibly even older than Drew Carey’s joke, having cropped up in the 1920s following wartime focus on morale boosting measures. Now surveys focus more on anonymity and customization.  Some surveys are as simple as a worksheet that focuses on a task or event or more complicated as a pulse survey to address feedback in real time. Other surveys focus on health and wellness, and adding savings and retirement to those areas may help employees feel easier about discussing money and financial matters – things that may feel taboo to talk about. Usually, HR departments use employee surveys as part of performance review systems.  This may lead employees to link surveys too a stressful event or worrisome outcome. Instead, working through corporate wellness initiatives may help de-link a survey from performance review time. And, adding retirement readiness surveys may help employees see savings as part of overall wellness.  However they are used, surveys can help get more information across the entire company, especially in companies with multiple offices or with remote employees. Some employee survey software can cost as little as $7 a month, which makes it even easier to implement.

Employees also like surveys as they find it helps create transparency.  For many employees their grumbling about the culture of a workplace may be that they don’t feel engaged with the mission of the company. They may have once had passion for the product or service, but the management has failed at communicating how specific plans changed or why some programs ended. Those bigger issues concerning mission can also show up on employee surveys. And by highlighting areas of improvement for management and leadership, the shake up in management might be one where management changes its tune, rather than changing the band members.

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