Writing a great employee satisfaction survey comes down to knowing what you want to know. This may seem rather simple at first, however, it can sometimes be difficult. Employers often don’t know what to ask.

Employee satisfaction versus employee engagement

First off, if you are writing an employee satisfaction survey, you will inevitably end up dealing with employee engagement as well.  Although these are actually quite different subjects in terms of the statistics gathered, there are some similarities and these similarities can get confusing. The reason is that happy employees are naturally engaged, but the measure of employee engagement doesn’t necessarily reflect satisfaction. Nor does satisfaction always reflect engagement.

DIY or getting in the professionals

It is important to start with valid statistics. It can sometimes be useful to start with a statistically validated template and build your survey from there, since statistical rigor is required. However, this isn’t always enough and it may be a good idea to ask for help from a professional organisation with experience in creating surveys.

Whether you decide to hire professionals or do it yourself, the process is the same. It begins by determining the issues you want information about and breaking each issue down into one or more concrete questions. Try to keep concepts as straightforward as possible. Avoid abstract ideas, and break complex questions down into two or more simpler questions.

Constructing your questions

Next, decide on your response labels. For example, you might use a five point scale to measure satisfaction, ranging from “very dissatisfied” to “very satisfied”, or use Ezisay’s unique and exclusive Emoticon Relationship Score (ERS) questions. You can measure agreement in a similar manner.

While you can have different labels in different sections of the survey, it’s important to use whatever labels you choose consistently. Don’t make changes unless you have to and make sure that any changes are easy to recognise.

By now, you’ll have a number of survey questions and bullet points that you can turn into questions. Now it’s time to convert those remaining points into questions and determine how long your survey is. It will probably be too long. So, you will need to do some trimming.  

Use your judgement

The trick is to understand what questions are most likely to give the information you need. It’s a matter of judgement. But, if you have a clear understanding of what you need to know, then it’s only a matter of editing to prune the excess. Remember that you’ll get more useful information from a few concise and well formed questions than you will from a large number of wide ranging questions that may very well bore employees and lead to survey abandonment. Keep your survey simple and to the point.