Employee Engagement Employee Retention

The lowdown on employee satisfaction surveys (and the questions you should be asking!)

employee satisfaction

Let’s talk honestly about employee satisfaction in South Africa for a minute because it’s not looking all that rosy you guys. Stuff’s been going down

Executive mayor Stevens Mokgalapa recently came under fire after it came to light that employee satisfaction levels among City of Tshwane municipal workers dropped from 60.72 index points in 2011 to 56.12 index points in 2018/19 according to a survey conducted by the Bureau of Market Research under Unisa. Yikes.  

And that’s not all...

Cape Town, a city that is used to receiving awards like the 'World’s Leading Festival and Events Destination’ and 'Top City in Africa and the Middle East' was recently named the most burnt out city in the world, and we’re not referring to temperature - we’re talking a lack of good, old-fashioned employee satisfaction and engagement coupled with other important lifestyle factors like the affordability of childcare, gender equality, the acceptance of LGBTQIA+ individuals, etc. 

The Mother City clocked in with pretty shocking rankings that included 0 for youth unemployment, city innovation at 0.96, quality of health care at 0 and general happiness at 0.98. Eish you guys, eina.

No matter how you slice it, this is not good.

While most of these indicators are not exactly things the average HR Director or Ops Manager can control, it does speak to a pretty unhappy workforce. 

Which bring us to the humble employee satisfaction survey.

If there is one relatively low-key HR tool that should never be underestimated, it’s the survey. It allows businesses to measure the collective emotional ‘temperature’ of their workforce and make adjustments to ensure optimal satisfaction, engagement and productivity. After all, if you don’t know what your employees’ pain points are, you won’t be able to address it. 

Keen to make the most of your in-house employee experience surveys in 2020 and beyond? Here are a few questions you should be asking: 


1. Do you find our company culture positive? 

Interpersonal relationships, culture, and work environment play a vital role in the overall happiness and satisfaction of employees. You may want to break questions like these down into subsections that delve into various aspects of your company culture if you want more detailed feedback. 


2. Would you say your work is meaningful? 

One of the major indicators of whether an employee is likely to stick around to become a valuable member of your team in the long run is whether they feel that their work is meaningful. Meaningful work = engaged employees, particularly when it comes to Millennials. 

READ MORE: 10 ways to improve employee satisfaction


3. Do you feel you have room to grow and develop? 

Check in to find out whether your employees feel that your company offers adequate opportunities for promotions and career development. Employee satisfaction levels are far more likely to be on the positive end of the spectrum if your workforce feels that they are being given the opportunity to further themselves. 


4. Is your contribution valued? 

Recognition and reward forms a very important part of any employee engagement strategy in 2020 and beyond. Use your employee satisfaction survey to get a baseline for the perceived levels of recognition within your enterprise. 

READ MORE: 5 key ways to measure employee satisfaction


5. Are you provided with the tools to do your job well? 

The employee experience stats at your business are far more likely to be positive if your work force are provided with the tools and tech they need to get their jobs done to the best of their abilities. Find out if your guys and girls are adequately equipped. 


6. Would you say you are kept in the loop? 

Determine whether your employees are being kept abreast of any important news that affects their jobs and security within the company. When workers are kept out of the loop they are very seldom fully engaged. 


7. Have you ever felt unsure about your responsibilities? 

Employee motivation can be adversely affected when your team feels unsure about their responsibilities. Ensure that every member of your workforce has a clear job description so they know what is expected of them and how they slot into the whole. 

READ MORE: Improving employee satisfaction is great for your business! Here's 4 reasons why

8. Do you feel like part of the team? 

When employees feel connected to their co-workers a strong sense of camaraderie underpins everything they do. This is a satisfaction booster of note. 


9. Would you say some of your skills go untapped? 

One thing that will always influence employee satisfaction positively is providing employees with the opportunity to use untapped skills in a way that will pave the way for future growth and development within the company. 


10. Do you ever feel like management is not transparent enough? 

If your workforce feels that they are not receiving transparent feedback from the upper echelons, things can turn sour fairly quickly. Make sure to keep tabs on this. 

So, in short, you want to structure your employee satisfaction survey to provide your employees’ perspective on: 


  1. Overall company culture
  2. Job satisfaction
  3. Opportunities for growth
  4. Recognition and reward
  5. Resource management
  6. Feedback systems
  7. Job descriptions
  8. Team spirit and cohesion
  9. Future aspirations
  10. Management transparency

There you have it - ten important questions you need to ask in order to gauge whether your employees are happy at your place of work. To find out more about the art of employee satisfaction surveys and how to lay the groundwork for some seriously epic job satisfaction levels at your company, check back soon - we’ll be sharing more expert insight into all things employee engagement here in the coming weeks and months. 

In the meantime, if you’re keen to take a look at a platform that allows you to send out simple, effective pulse surveys on the fly, and will allow you to boost satisfaction levels while you’re at it, we’d recommend that you take a look at our SaaS-based employee recognition platform. We're offering FREE 30-day trials to get you started 👇

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