15 Essential Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions for Your 2020 Questionnaire


Employee satisfaction can positively alter the course of the success of your company. But it can be challenging to measure in quantifiable terms. In this definitive guide to employee satisfaction surveys, we tell you the 15 questions you cant ignore for the 2020 survey.

Its no secret that companies that report a high level of employee satisfaction enjoy better productivity and a sustainable business roadmap. But how do you measure satisfaction in the workplace, given that it isnt a quantifiable metric like sales or revenue growth? And, how do you understand if your workforces satisfaction levels are improving year on year?

Thats where employee satisfaction surveys come in. These surveys can be defined as questionnaires (either digital or manual but they should be digital, its almost 2020) that help you collect data on employee satisfaction. You can identify trends and benchmark them against internal standards as well as external, industry-specific numbers.

There are 15 questions that belong on your employee satisfaction survey for 2020 but first, lets look at why these surveys should be a staple at your company.

Learn More: What Is an Employee Engagement Survey? Definition, Process, Vendors, and ExamplesOpens a new window

Table of Contents

What Does an Employee Satisfaction Survey Mean for Your Company?

There have been several studies linking employee satisfaction to business productivity and growth. Not only does it impact an employees likelihood of staying on at their current job, but it also improves their well-being and happiness levels.

Here are a few metrics that demonstrate exactly why you need a job satisfaction survey1:

  • 51% of U.S. workers say that their job gives them a sense of identity a sizable 47% say that a job is just something that they do for a living. If your company is where people come merely to make a living, you may be at risk of voluntary employee attrition.
  • Only a quarter of employees who quit a company are driven by their compensation. What about the other 75%? An employee satisfaction survey can help you find out.
  • Engaged teams are found to be 21% more profitable than disengaged ones. While employee satisfaction and employee engagementOpens a new window arent synonymous, they are definitely related and need careful monitoring.
  • Finally, U.S. companies are spending $1 billion every year on turnover. Timely job satisfaction surveys can help you reduce this to a great extent.

Without regular surveys/questionnaires, it is impossible to gather data on job satisfaction. You might be relying on anecdotal evidence but this is largely inaccurate and cannot power decision-making. Thats why we recommend switching to a formalized employee satisfaction survey in 2020 with 15 must-have questions in your survey.

Learn More: Employee Engagement vs. Job Satisfaction: Key Differences and MetricsOpens a new window

Does Your Employee Satisfaction Survey Include these 15 Vital Questions?

While theres no hard-and-fast rule, no more than 40 questions would make an ideal employee satisfaction survey, especially if its an annual/biannual survey. This means that even if an employee spends 30 seconds on each element, it will take 20 minutes of their time at the most. Pulse surveys, on the other hand, are far shorter, with three to ten questions asked at short intervals.

Today, we look at the key elements that you should cover in your annual employee satisfaction survey for 2020. As the future of work comes closer, it is crucial to keep sight of what it takes to keep the changing measures of employee satisfaction in mind.

While compensation is the one factor that remains a priority, the workforce is increasingly placing focus on other factors, such as flexibility, quality of employee benefits, and career development. Keeping this in mind, here are some essential questions that should make it into your 2020 employee satisfaction survey.

1. How would you rate your work-life balance?

Work-life balance is an essential determiner of job satisfactionOpens a new window , especially for young professionals. 83% of millennials actively evaluate work-life balance before joining a new job, and employees also favor work-life balance over money. This means that if youre not performing well on this metric, a wave of attrition Opens a new window might be right around the corner.

Dont frame this one as an open question. Allow employees to rate this question on a scale of one to five one being non-existent and five being very comfortable. There should be clearly outlined descriptions for each value. You need quantifiable data about where you stand on the work-life balance spectrum.

2. Are you happy with the opportunities for personal and professional growth available in the company?

In many ways, employee career development is even better than employee benefits, as it increases a persons overall employability. There are two sides to this question. First, employees should be optimistic about moving up the ladder in their current department. Second, they should be getting enough training for non-linear growth.

Remember, retaining an employee who has received in-house training can help you save significantly in recruitment costs and the stress of looking for employees to close the widening skills gap.

Ask for a yes or no response to this question. It should be straightforward, and if you have more nos than yeses, its time to rework the professional development opportunities you provide.

3. Do you have all the tools you need for optimal productivity at work?

Organizations often fail to get this right. A recent report found that 76% of the 1,000+ surveyed U.S. employees would be more productive if they have the right digital tools,2 but many companies struggle with the fear factor when it comes to new technology investments. Will employees use it? Will the investment fail? Will everyone adapt to the new technology easily? Who will train them to use the new technology?

Employees can answer these questions in their surveys. A negative response to this question is a significant indicator of the lacking technology investments at work.

This should be framed as a simple yes or no question with no room for a maybe or almost. Keeping it simple will help respondents to figure out exactly how they feel and share measurable information.

4. Do you know what exactly your job responsibilities are?

In dynamic workplaces, it can often be difficult to pinpoint the exact nature of ones designation/job role. Many employees end up doing different work from what they were first promised. Several adhoc tasks are also added to their role depending on the situation for instance, another employee in a similar role leaving the job. This can cause a bit of confusion and can disorient them, especially new recruits who are still green between the ears.

This question, too, should be a yes or no question. If a majority of employees answer no, you may want to begin by revisiting the job descriptions shared with potential candidates and the actual role they are expected to perform.

5. Would you say that the distribution of tasks across individuals and teams is fair?

This is a common problem for large organizations, where responsibilities and ownership for outcomes arent distributed evenly across different teams. For example, your sales executives might be doing a lot of the grunt work, while marketing primarily sits idle.

On an individual level, employees might feel that they are overburdened. Conversely, they have too few responsibilities and are feeling left out. An employee satisfaction survey will detect these intricacies.

6. How frequently does your manager recognize your achievements and efforts?

Recognition is a powerful motivator of the workforce, and it can be a powerful driver of employee satisfaction as well.

To obtain meaningful responses to this question, you should define clear options such as every day, every week, for every achievement, rarely, and never. These definitive words and phrases will help employees analyze the culture of their immediate workplace and specify the frequency of recognition they receive.

Based on the results, you can take course corrective measures for particular employee groups and teams, offering managers guidance on the best practices for rewards and recognition.

7. When was the last time your manager asked for your feedback?

Questions like this are instrumental in assessing employee satisfaction. They help you analyze the level and quality of communication between managers and their teams, how involved employees are in the decisions managers make, and how this interaction affects employee satisfaction.

You can make this simpler by specifying options such as last week, last month, and I dont remember. Employees should be able to voice their opinion and provide their feedback to their managers without formalized surveys or questionnaires and this can significantly dent job satisfaction.

8. How often do you hear from your CEO? Do you feel connected to them?

This question might sound slightly extreme, but a sense of interconnectedness and collaboration that cuts across hierarchical barriers can be hard to achieve. Typically, most of your workforce should feel engaged with senior management and C-level leadership, hearing from them through direct communication channels such as Slack or company emails, or newsletters. In essence, employees must have transparency about the goings-on of the company.

If you find that less than 10% feels connected to the CEO, it may signal a pressing concern. It means that on-ground employees arent on the same page as their strategic leaders and are deriving very little value out of their jobs.

9. How frequently do you feel stressed out at work?

Stress is now unavoidable in workplaces across industries and geographies. Its such a pervasive issue that companies are now turning to artificial intelligence (AI) for stress management.

It is natural for employees to feel stressed out by their tasks occasionally and feel a sense of pressure. However, this cannot go beyond a certain threshold, and there should always be a support system that helps to manage stress. Offer responses like two to three times a week, “once a week,” “once a month,” and “rarely” to collect actionable data.

10. Do you feel like youre living up to your full potential in this job?

This is another yes or no question, one that should be present in every job satisfaction survey. A state where an individual isnt employed to use their maximum potential is termed as underemployment. These individuals are likely to experience poor job satisfaction and may always be on the lookout for greener pastures.

If too many employees report underemployment, you could be missing the alignment of available talent to job roles. This is a significant action point for HR and hiring managers. While yes and no responses will help to assess how many people feel underemployed, follow-up questions will help to find out where the company or role is lacking.

11. Was your last appraisal in line with your expectations?

Its vital to ask pragmatic questions like this one in your employee satisfaction survey. Promotions and financial growth are a vital part of any employee’s career trajectory if these needs aren’t met, they aren’t likely to stick around for long.

Of course, mere performance reviews and your company’s appraisal policies may not always meet employee expectations. However, dissatisfaction numbers in this area should be kept as low as possible, with a majority of employees achieving or exceeding their targets in the workplace.

12. If you could add another benefit to your compensation package, what would it be?

Here come the open-ended questions where you ask employees to share their opinions and insights freely. This question will reveal gaps in your benefits plan and show you how to improve job satisfaction by offering as far as possible the benefits that employees desire.

Another benefit of asking this is that it assists future investments in employee benefits. Why not directly ask your employees to choose from a bouquet of benefit options that youre currently considering?

13. Would you say that you are happy working for this company?

Such questions invite introspection from your employees. Often, we do not consider whether we are happy at work and continue to put in the hours while our job satisfaction levels steadily decline. After a point, however, this reaches a tipping point where the employee decides to quit.

A job satisfaction survey should urge employees to self-assess their happiness levels and point out any problem areas. Remember to make this an open question, allowing employees to respond and explain however they want to.

14. If you could change one thing about your workplace, what would it be?

It is unlikely that employees will be fully satisfied with their workplace. However, the answer to this question will indicate potential areas for improvements and investment in 2020.

You could keep this either as an open question or specify options if you have a hypothesis in mind. For example, if you think that long hours are becoming a problem for the workforce, test out how your employees feel about it with an employee satisfaction survey.

15. How likely are you to recommend your workplace to a friend or a family member?

This element is critical to any satisfaction survey, whether youre targeting an employee or a customer. The result will give you theOpens a new window noopener” title=”Opens a new window” target=”_blank” href=”http://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/employee-engagement/employee-net-promoter-score-a-good-measure-of-engagement/” rel=”nofollow noopener” title=”Opens a new window” target=”_blank”> employee net promoter scoreOpens a new window (Opens a new window NPSOpens a new window )Opens a new window . This is a measure of employee loyalty and their role as an employer brand advocate.

Again, this question should come with quantifiable answers, preferably on a scale of one to five. If your ENPS is below the industry standard of 1030, the chances are that employees are sticking around only for compensation benefits and may jump ship as soon as they find better compensation and better workplace culture.

Best Practices on the Way Forward

These 15 questions cover the core elements of any job satisfaction survey but keep a few best practices in mind when rolling it out to your employees.

  1. Ensure that the data is anonymized so that employees feel comfortable being honest.
  2. You can also repeat a question over multiple employee satisfaction surveys, helping you to identify trends in employee satisfaction over a set time period.
  3. Always remember to mention something to the effect of “choose the option closest to how you feel” your workforce comprises a diverse pool of individuals, and no answer will accurately capture their view. This disclaimer will improve participation rates and prevent employees from skipping the more difficult questions.
  4. Invest in an employee engagement platform or a survey tool to administer an employee satisfaction survey. This will make it easier for employees to respond and for you to collect data and make sense of it.

With job satisfaction becoming such a key area for organizations, a job satisfaction survey is a handy tool to improve company culture and retain high-quality talent. By selecting the right elements and phrasing them in a clear, non-ambiguous format you can monitor and maintain satisfaction levels at an optimum.

Do you anticipate any challenges in conducting employee satisfaction surveys in 2020? If so, what are they? Let us know FacebookOpens a new window , LinkedInOpens a new window , or TwitterOpens a new window !

1Job Satisfaction Statistics: Keep Your Workers Happy and Your Business HealthyOpens a new window

2Digital Transformation: should employees feel like they are an afterthought?Opens a new window