Many businesses have a mechanism in place to regularly track customer satisfaction but employee satisfaction is generally measured less frequently – why is this?
I find the dynamic between customers and employees to be a fascinating one, especially where the connection is made. If customers of a business are satisfied, then is this satisfaction reflected amongst employees? And conversely, if customers are dissatisfied then how are employees feeling?
In either scenario, a business has the benefit of being able to engage directly with its employees to gather feedback about what is working well and what can be improved (employees offer a unique and special perspective into the day-to-day workings of a business).
There are many ways that this feedback can be collected and the employee survey is an important tool that any business can utilise. It goes beyond collecting feedback from selected representatives and allows for each employee to have own their unique say (anonymously).
Where many businesses have a constant read on customer satisfaction, I would argue that having a companion measure of employee satisfaction is every bit as important. This can be managed as a short regular pulse survey in just 2 to 3 questions amongst a subset of employees, and supported by a more in-depth survey that takes place less frequently (i.e. on an annual basis) allowing for action plans to be put in place and for regular feedback from employees about progress against these to be collected.
If a business experiences a real-time decrease in customer satisfaction, then a regular employee survey allows for the employees’ perspective to be measured immediately as opposed to this being measured in retrospect. Adding at least one verbatim question allows employees to relay first hand their own day-to-day experiences.
It is important that a business embraces the findings from their employee survey, this becomes even more important when the results are not as positive as expected. The results need to be communicated and acted upon in order to allow for any issues to be directly addressed, with the benefit of potentially increasing customer satisfaction as a by-product of this process.
The role that a market research agency can play in this process (beyond standard survey design and management) should not be underestimated, some key areas include:
It is hugely rewarding as a market researcher to observe this process in action, especially where a client has been tracking employee research for a number of years, this allows us to see how impactful the research has been for both employees as well as the potential impact on customers.
Technology is advancing and the employee survey is now increasingly digital in nature which has led to higher participation levels due to the overall ease of completing the survey and a more engaging interface to use for completion.
At Harris Interactive, a new and exciting platform called Employee Power has recently been launched automating many parts of the employee survey process. What I find particularly helpful about this platform is that it allows for the reporting stage to be seamlessly managed, as opposed to data needing to be charted, the platform automatically generates the reports and identifies the priority action areas which nominated business users can then use to set action plans against by logging in and reviewing the results. More information about Employee Power can be found on the following page – http://harris-interactive.co.uk/solutions/employee-research/
It is very interesting to continue to see how the role of the employee survey evolves as part of the wider market research toolkit and how technology evolves at the same time to support this.
As a closing point, I wonder if the employee survey and customer satisfaction survey will soon reach a point where they become one of the same by taking place on an ongoing basis and being reported on together?