How to Make a Reliable Employee Satisfaction Survey

Rules and structure will get things done, but keeping your coworkers happy will keep your business afloat in the long run. A periodic employee satisfaction survey is a great way to track your employees’ pulse and improve your organization and workplace atmosphere – so let’s see how to create a reliable questionnaire.

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Why is employee satisfaction important?

Even nowadays, there are plenty of employers who believe that enforcing a rigid, strict workplace structure will bring the results. Science, however, keeps pointing otherwise. According to a recent study at the University of Warwick, happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while dissatisfied workers were 10% less productive.

“The driving force seems to be that happier workers use the time they have more effectively, increasing the pace at which they can work without sacrificing quality,” said one of the researchers, Dr. Daniel Sgroi.

Google is an example of a company that took a serious approach to boosting employee satisfaction, which rose 37%. Another analysis from the Harvard Business Review showed that various studies concluded that satisfied employees were 31 percent more productive and had 37 percent higher sales when employees are happy or satisfied.

But how do you make an employee happy? Financial incentives are only a small piece of a larger puzzle – after all, more than a third of employees would give up $5,000 in yearly salary in exchange for a happier workplace.

What does make employees happy?

A study conducted by Boston Consulting Group on more than 200,000 respondents listed and ranked more than 20 factors that contribute to the employee’s job satisfaction. While plenty of studies showcase a solid salary as the number one factor that boosts an average employee’s morale, this global study places financial at the eighth place.

For most employees, appreciation for their work is the single most important factor that contributes to their happiness at the workplace.

One of the respondents, interpreter Dina Kiseleva, further elaborated this by describing her experience of working as an English teacher at a university language center in Bangkok. “I was performing my job well, and they [the university administration] immediately started rewarding me—telling me I was a top-ten teacher and giving me the student groups and extra groups I wanted. My bosses had a really positive attitude toward me. I felt very appreciated and excited,” she said in a survey.

Here is a detailed list of factors that contribute to job satisfaction according to the BCG global study:

  • Appreciation for their work
  • Good relationships with colleagues
  • Good work-life balance
  • Good relationships with superiors
  • Company’s financial stability
  • Learning and career development
  • Job security
  • Attractive fixed salary
  • Interesting job content
  • Company values

Meeting all these requirements is easier said than done – according to Statista, in 2018, about a third of the U.S. employees were very satisfied with their job. There was room for improvement at the workplace of 45% of respondents, who were somewhat satisfied with their current job. However, more than 20% were somewhat or very dissatisfied at their workplace.

employee satisfaction in the US
Source: Statista

Improving your employee satisfaction can be a rocky road – it requires honesty and openness to criticism both among employees and all management levels. So, let’s see how to make an employee satisfaction survey that will be the first step to identifying your businesses’ strengths and weaknesses when it comes to workplace happiness.

What makes a good employee satisfaction survey?

Survey results will be the source of guidance for your future plans and projects. Therefore, the single most important requirement in a survey is to be conducted on the proper sample in order to produce reliable, unbiased results.

We deal with that topic in greater detail in this article about sample size and methods of sampling, but you should not bother too much with these details since your sample size is limited and your respondents have a good incentive to participate in the survey.

You can minimize potential bias in questions and answers by avoiding statement-structured questions and remaining neutral in the way you outline them. Now let’s see how that works in practice. You can find our full survey here.

A landing page is a place for describing what your survey is about. When it comes to surveying your employees, there are bound to be some questions referring to their relationship with colleagues and superiors. This is why it is crucial to explain that the survey is anonymous and that respondents can answer truthfully and honestly without fear of repercussion or uncomfortable situation.

The goal of your survey is to improve your employees’ job satisfaction – and you cannot do that if they are afraid to say what’s wrong.

employee satisfaction survey

We compiled a list of 12 questions – you can use more or less, depending on the amount of information you have at the beginning of the process. Maybe you already know your company’s inner strengths and weaknesses, and you want to focus on some of them in particular. The following questions are general and seek to cover some of the factors we earlier mentioned as the main drivers behind a high job satisfaction level.

The first question refers to the level of your employee’s engagement with the job. Employees who feel that their daily work contributes to something greater than earning a monthly check are more likely to be engaged, productive and open to professional growth.

employee satisfaction survey

The follow-up question refers to the amount of difficulty your employee faces on a daily basis.

employee satisfaction survey

“Challenging” can have both positive and negative meaning. This is why the follow-up question can help you clarify whether the challenging nature of an employee’s job position comes with stress or excitement.

employee satisfaction survey

If you want to get a deeper insight into this matter, you can create logical branching qualitative questions, tied to A, B, C, and D options, where respondents can describe the stressful situations and the reasons behind them.

The next question refers to the salary. You can also add a qualitative question for those who are dissatisfied with their salaries so they can clarify the paycheck that would be adequate in their opinion.

employee satisfaction survey

The fifth question refers to the amount of appreciation an employee’s input and work gets from their immediate environment – coworkers in a team. You can also add more specific questions about the quality of interpersonal communication among colleagues.

employee satisfaction survey

This particular question about an employee’s relationship with their superiors refers to the nature of their expectations. Unrealistic expectations are usually at the core of a bad and frustrating relationship between different levels of management in your organization. Of course, you can also add questions about the quality of communication between your employees and their superiors. In general, you want to know whether your workers feel respected and appreciated by their bosses.

employee satisfaction survey

The following questions refer to the opportunities for professional growth. You can determine this by asking an employee about the number of new things they learn through their work projects. A complementary question seeks to determine whether this growth can be reflected by moving up the ranks in the company.

employee satisfaction survey

This answer will reveal a lot about the workplace atmosphere and the relationship between the team and their superiors.

employee satisfaction survey

Another important question that can reveal a lot about your employee’s long term plans is how they feel about being a part of your organization. If people feel proud of being associated with your brand, it is likely they see the company as part of their identity and “fruit” of their own work. That is certainly a feeling you want to nurture.

employee satisfaction survey

Finally, a very straightforward answer about your employees’ long-term plans comes from the following question. People who are on the look for a new job likely have a list of things they aren’t happy with – and this is an issue you need to address.

As I previously mentioned, you can attach open-ended questions to each of these if you want a deeper insight into the source of your employees’ frustrations and negative feelings. You can also include an opt-in form for employees who would be willing to talk about these problems with HR or their superior.


If you want to make an employee satisfaction survey on your own, take a look at this guide to making a survey.

However, you don’t have to use LeadQuizzes just for a survey that will help you improve your employees’ satisfaction. You can also use it to grow your business and find new customers. Want to know how? Click below!

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