How do your employees feel about working for your company? How do you know?
We spend a lot of time worrying about our customers and what they think of our company. We often forget that we are also selling our company to our employees and potential hires.
Losing employees is bad for business, just like losing customers. When you lose employees due to a bad work environment, your company pays big time. According to this article from Zane benefits, the average costs to replace an employee are:
- 16 percent of annual salary for high-turnover, low-paying jobs (earning under $30,000 a year). For example, the cost to replace a $10/hour retail employee would be $3,328.
- 20 percent of annual salary for midrange positions (earning $30,000 to $50,000 a year). For example, the cost to replace a $40k manager would be $8,000.
- Up to 213 percent of annual salary for highly educated executive positions. For example, the cost to replace a $100k CEO is $213,000.
That's a huge hit that your business takes every time your employees walk out the door, and the more frequently it occurs, the more your other employees will start to question why they are sticking around.
A solution to high employee turnover is an employee satisfaction survey. Sending out a survey to your employees is a quick, consistent and effective way to catch any red flags before your employee gives their two week notice. Like a customer satisfaction survey, the goal of an employee satisfaction survey is to reduce employee churn by giving your employees a platform to express their frustration and give constructive feedback that you can use to improve the overall experience.
Surveys are such an effective form of knowledge acquisition for a few key reasons.
Number one, they are easy. Easy for you as the distributor to create and send (especially with automated features like the ones you'll find on MyFeelBack), and easy for your employees to fill out. People have been filling out surveys their entire life, and so they are within most people's comfort level.
Number two, they are measurable. You can send out the same survey over time in order to create a database that measures your employee satisfaction progress. Surveys make that qualitative data- like how the office environment "feels" into quantitative data that you can act on and understand.
Number three, they can be anonymous. Making your surveys confidential and anonymous allows your employees the freedom and comfort to really say what they are thinking and feeling. This type of anonymity simply isn't possible with end of the year reviews, employee satisfaction interviews, etc.
When should you survey your employees?
Developing a database of employee knowledge is useful and you shouldn't wait to get started, so pretty much any moment can be a good opportunity to send out a survey.
However, here are a few specific times that it would be especially smart to survey your customers, and maybe even necessary.
When you're making changes around the office, there is no better sign of how well the system is working than to sincerely ask your employees. Oftentimes, as upper management, we don't get the opportunity to really feel out how our changes trickle down and affect the day to day workings of the office. So if you want to know how a change you made is affecting your office, ask your employees.
When someone leaves the company
Surveying your employees after someone leaves the company is a good idea because you want to know if the negative reason that caused one person to leave (if it was a negative reason at all) has spread to the rest of the group. Employees leaving can have a very negative effect on employee morale, so there is no better time to send out a survey to check in and make sure everyone is OK, and to let them know you care.
When sales are low
I know it may seem like worrying about your employee morale when business is bad is giving you too much on your plate, but employees can be gold mines for information and ideas on how to get your company out of a rut. Offering an employee satisfactions survey when things are bad, and including questions such as, "What's something you would do with the company if you were in charge?" is a great way to take advantage of the insight of your employees.
Employees don't just have valuable insight on the way your team interacts with each other: they also have insight on your company's management, and it is worth your time to pay attention to what they have to say.
Acting on your feedback
Just like with a customer satisfaction survey, your employee satisfaction survey is only as strong as your response to it. If you send out surveys allowing your employees to express their frustrations, challenges, and thoughts on the company, and then you do nothing about it, your employees are going to feel like you don't care about their concerns, like you wasted your time, and like your survey is meaningless.
Acting on your survey responses is the most important aspect of employee satisfaction, and here are a few tips on how to do it:
Let them know you heard them
Sending out an email or making a quick announcement summarizing the responses you got (Ex: I understand that many of you feel there is an issue with our late policy, and I will be taking the following steps to address it.) is a great way to let people know that you read the survey and are taking it seriously. This little effort can go a long way after your employees have poured their hearts out to you to give you feedback.
Make an action plan
Consult with the HR department and upper management with a list of the employee concerns and then come up with an action plan on how to solve them one-by-one. Work with a team to make sure your ideas are realistic and affordable. Don't promise everyone 1 month of vacation a year if you can't afford to do it. Make consistent, reliable, small steps to solve problems, and your employees will appreciate your genuine effort.
Never, ever punish an employee for their feedback
We strongly suggest that surveys should be anonymous, but either way, it is essential that you never punish an employee for their feedback. This will undermine your entire system and make your employees lose trust in you.
Employee feedback is an essential part of any HR department's employee satisfaction system, and it's easy to gather with the use of surveys. Don't be afraid to ask your employee's opinions, trust us, they won't be all bad.