Employee job satisfaction is important. Employees who are satisfied, meaning they like their jobs, make better employees. This is because happy employees are more motivated, perform their jobs better, are less likely to misbehave at work, and are less likely to quit. But how do you know if your employees are satisfied? Figuring that out is not always easy. Here’s how to measure employee job satisfaction.
What Is Job Satisfaction?
Job satisfaction is the extent to which employees like their jobs and different aspects of their jobs. Employees can have an overall feeling about the job—bottom line satisfaction or dissatisfaction. But they do not necessarily feel the same about all aspects of the job. They might be happy with some parts of the job and not others. Some of the most important aspects are.
- Salary: How much an employee is paid, and more importantly if pay practices are fair.
- Fringe Benefits: Benefits include health insurance, sick leave policies, vacation time off, and more.
- Supervision: The quality of supervision and how well the employee gets along with the supervisor.
- Coworkers: Colleagues at work and whether the employee likes them.
- Nature of Work: Does the employee enjoy doing job tasks?
Here’s How to Measure Employee Job Satisfaction
The best way to find out if employees are satisfied is to ask them, and the best way to ask them is with anonymous surveys. Surveys are an efficient way to assess employee feelings, and they are easily scalable. Administered on a survey hosting site like Qualtrics or Survey Monkey, it is easy to conduct surveys regardless of the number of employees involved. E-mails can be sent to every employee in a company with a request to click the link and complete the survey.
Most job satisfaction surveys use a summated rating scale method. People are asked to respond to multiple statements by indicating their extent of agreement from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Most job satisfaction measures provide from 5 to 7 choices that are numbered from 1 to the number of choices, such as 1 to 5 or 1 to 6. Scores are computed as the sum of the items.
It is best for job satisfaction surveys to be anonymous to people can feel free to be candid with their feelings. It also protects employees from retribution if their supervisors were to find out that they were dissatisfied with leadership.
Many assessments already exist that can be used to measure job satisfaction. For overall job satisfaction, the most popular with academic researchers is the Michigan Organizational Assessment Questionnaire, MOAQ that has been used in dozens of studies. The 9-aspect Job Satisfaction Survey, JSS is available without cost for noncommercial purposes. The improved JSS-2 is available for commercial use.
Overall Satisfaction Versus Aspects of the Job
Whether you measure overall satisfaction or satisfaction with various aspects of the job depends on your purpose. Academic researchers are usually interested in overall satisfaction, as their research studies are designed to see whether people’s bottom-line feelings about the job relate to important outcomes or are driven by particular job conditions. Practitioners are more likely to be interested in measuring specific aspects. Knowing overall patterns of satisfaction is not very helpful in pinpointing potential trouble spots in an organization. To determine that requires measuring different aspects that can focus attention on where problems might exist. For example, if employees in one area of a company have low satisfaction with supervision, it suggests the possibility of a leadership problem.
Tread Lightly When Measuring Job Satisfaction
Before launching a job satisfaction effort, management should commit to making changes based on the findings. To survey employees and then ignore feedback can make a bad situation even worse. It is not necessary to fix every problem area, but the results should be acknowledged and an action plan implemented to improve things. An effective strategy is to follow-up after the survey by seeking employee input and suggestions about how to address trouble spots that the survey has uncovered. This might be done by creating an employee committee to make recommendations to management.
Conducting an employee job satisfaction survey that provides accurate information and making the most of the findings requires considerable expertise. It is a good idea to seek assistance from someone experienced in employee surveying before launching such an effort. A properly conducted employee job satisfaction survey can serve as the basis for improving an organization through better use of human resources.