From traditional employee satisfaction survey to employee experience

Stefan Op de Woerd

Stefan Op de Woerd

Satisfaction among employees has an increasingly important role within all organisations, whatever their size. The reasons for this lie in the widespread skills shortage and changes in the labour market. The days when people would stay with the same employer for forty years are long gone. It’s almost as though employers are the ones who should be happy that employees want to work for them, whereas in the past it was the precise opposite. So, it’s all about keeping your employees happy and engaged. Otherwise, before you know it, they’ll have upped sticks and joined the competition!

It’s a good thing then that the annual employee satisfaction survey helps you test the mood among all employees in the organisation.

Right!?

Wrong, I’m afraid…

The idea of an annual employee satisfaction survey makes great sense in itself, but the way it is done is static and outmoded and no longer meets the needs of our times. It is critical that employee satisfaction should remain on the radar at all times, and form a regular part of an ongoing dialogue between employee and manager. In other words, it is time to transition from employee satisfaction survey to employee experience.

What is employee experience?

Employee experience can be summarised as: the sum of an employee’s perceptions of all interactions with the organisation where they work as against their expectations of those interactions. A bit of a mouthful, put that way :-). But, in simple terms, all it means is that the experiences an employee has during contacts with managers, colleagues or customers determine the image that he or she has of the organisation. An individual’s employee experience is not static and may well continue to change, and therefore it is important to keep it in view throughout the year. Are you starting to see the fundamental difference here compared to an annual satisfaction survey?

Employee experience = engagement x enablement

An individual’s employee experience depends on their perception of two separate elements: the extent to which the employee feels invested in the organisation so that he/she is happy to contribute to achieving the common business objectives (engagement) and the extent to which the employee is equipped to do so (enablement).

From static employee survey to engagement pulse?

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Engagement

Employee engagement aligns seamlessly with performance management. It’s all about making sure your employees are engaged and satisfied to the extent that they are fully on board with and eager to work towards the company’s objectives. Of course, it is important to test levels of engagement and satisfaction, and there is no doubt an employee satisfaction survey can play a big part in this. The key thing is that the employee satisfaction survey should act as a basis for an ongoing dialogue with your employees in order to increase engagement. In other words, the employee satisfaction survey is not an end in itself.

Engagement dashboard

Enablement

Enablement is about the extent to which engaged employees feel supported and equipped to put their enthusiasm and talents to good use. Clearly, having enthusiastic and engaged employees is what every employer would want. However, if employees do not feel enabled, there is every chance they will soon be casting around for different employment. High engagement and low enablement are the perfect ingredients for a lethal cocktail of frustration and a desire to change employer. So, you should be wary, as the employer, of this multiplier effect.

From static employee survey to engagement pulse?

Download our free e-book “5 steps to the ultimate employee experience”

Employee experience on three levels

As discussed, employee experience is about the sum of different perceptions that the employee experiences within the organisation. To make things simple, we think of it in terms of three different levels: the organisation, the team and your own work. It is important that an employee feels both engaged and enabled at each level for the best possible employee experience.

Want to know more about the three levels and what questions to ask in your employee satisfaction survey? Download our free e-book ‘5 steps to an unforgettable employee experience’ for more.

Employee experience as part of the review cycle

Does that mean the employee satisfaction survey is completely passé? Far from it! But, the way you do it and what you do with the survey results has changed a lot. Whereas in the past you would send out a long questionnaire once a year and – following in-depth analyses and long meetings – the results would be fed back from the top down, now the opposite is true: frequent, short surveys are put out that are discussed directly as part of an ongoing dialogue between employee and manager. In this way, the survey changes from an annual ‘fixture in the diary’ to an indispensable part of your performance review cycle.

Read on..

5 steps to the ultimate employee experience

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From static employee survey to engagement pulse?

Toolbox 'Transform your performance management'

Get the best articles, e-books, tools and videos available on transforming your performance management.