Knowing Your Employees — The Importance of Employee Surveys

This article appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

As an employer, you face two serious challenges in managing your talent:

  1. Keeping employees from leaving for “greener pastures”
  2. Countering the impact of a disengaged workforce — those who are “quiet quitting” or “acting their wage”

The impact of these challenges typically doesn’t become apparent until it is too late — the employee quits, or they have been unproductive since their last performance review.

Quitting, both active and quiet, can indicate low engagement and morale. But what can you do?

Are Your Employees Satisfied?

One of the easiest and often neglected things you can do is to ask your employees. Understanding what is important to them and where they are satisfied will help you address the issues that impact engagement most. A simple employee satisfaction survey will help you know where to start.

A successful employee survey should measure three things:

  • Employee Satisfaction with Key Motivators
  • The Importance of the Motivators to the Employee
  • Whether the Company is Living Up to Its Aspirational Culture
Employee Satisfaction with Motivators

In its annual global engagement survey, the Sigred Group asks about 12 key motivators, including recognition, responsibilities, growth opportunities, compensation, and being a valued member of the team. Understanding your employees’ satisfaction with these motivators helps you identify where you need to focus.

Importance of the Motivators to the Employee

With scarce resources (time and money), you cannot improve everything all at once. Knowing what is most important to your employees is vital to focusing your efforts where they will have the greatest benefit. The Sigred Group engagement survey asks employees about the importance of each motivator. Spend your time and energy on improving the meaningful motivators for your employees, not those that aren’t.

Are You Living Up to Your Aspirational Culture?

Most employers have a corporate culture that they are living (or believe they are living). It is essential to ask your employees whether they feel the same way. Management typically has a higher opinion of living the culture than employees do. Asking your employees how they view the culture will help you continue to improve it.

What to Watch Out For

Employee satisfaction and culture surveys can be simple and easy to implement. Most employers can set up a survey on their own. For help, talentstrategy offers a how-to guide. Still, there are a couple of pitfalls to watch out for when conducting a survey. First, it must be anonymous (and the employees must believe it). Without anonymity, it will be harder to get honest results. Second, you must commit to presenting the results (good or bad) and taking action to improve them. This can be uncomfortable for managers, but it is critical to building goodwill and increasing retention.

Employee surveys can be a powerful tool to combat the challenges of today’s talent war. Understanding and addressing the satisfaction of your employees will help you retain them and keep them engaged while improving your standing as an employer of choice in your community.

About the Author

Mike DergisMike Dergis is a Partner with Sigred Group. He has over 25 years of experience in operational management, executive recruiting, organizational development and international strategy consulting. He may be reached

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