Why Employee Satisfaction Matters (And How To Successfully Use Surveys)

Why Employee Satisfaction Matters (And How To Successfully Use Surveys)

Gone are the days when many people would take a job just to pay the bills. By and large, the happiest and most productive employees tend to be those who take pride in their work and are motivated by their organisation’s goals and mission. They’re also the ones most likely to stick around when the going gets tough, and they’ll act as free advertising for your organisation. In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the primary factors that influence employee satisfaction, and how it can be measured and improved upon through the implementation of a leading Learning Management System.

What Is Employee Satisfaction?

Employee satisfaction refers to the feeling of accomplishment that your company’s employees derive from fulfilling the tasks and responsibilities of their role. Unlike employee engagement, employee satisfaction is not generally concerned with the overall objectives and culture of an organisation—though it’s worth noting higher levels of employee satisfaction tend to be correlated with an individual’s connection to company values and mission.

There are a number of ways employee satisfaction can be measured: on an individual employee level, within a team, a department, or even across an entire company. The best way to measure employee satisfaction? An amalgamation of all of the above.

Why Satisfaction in the Workplace Matters

Employees dissatisfied with their roles or responsibilities are the ones leaving at 5pm everyday on the dot, putting in the bare minimum of effort required, and will potentially leave the company on bad terms. In fact, researchers from theUniversity of Warwickin the UK found that happy employees were on average 12% more productive, while unhappy employees decreased their productivity levels by 10%.

Of course, employee satisfaction brings more benefits than simply increasing productivity levels. Happier employees will be more likely to stay and progress within an organisation rather than seeking opportunities outside of it. This benefits your company by reducing your recruitment and training costs—especially when you consider it can takeeight to 26 weeks for a new employee to reach full productivity.Satisfied employees already understand how their new position fits into an organisation, and probably worked with the previous holder of the role. In addition, they will likely be more willing to recommend your company to friends, family, and via platforms such as Glassdoor.

Factors Influencing Satisfaction

There are a number of elements that go into the degree of satisfaction experienced by an employee. Fair pay and compensation are, undeniably, factors in this mix—a survey by theSociety for Human Resource Managementfound that it was the most influential part of whether or not an employee expressed satisfaction in their current role.

Another piece of research from theBoston Consulting Groupgarnered responses from over 200,000 people around the world about how they achieved satisfaction at work. Unlike the SHRM’s research, this survey found that a position’s salary was only the eighth most important factor, with the top 10 factors being the following:

  • 1. Appreciation for your work
  • 2. Good relationships with colleagues
  • 3. Good work-life balance
  • 4. Good relationships with superiors
  • 5. Company's financial stability
  • 6. Learning and career development
  • 7. Job security
  • 8. Attractive fixed salary
  • 9. Interesting job content
  • 10. Company values

From these 10 factors, BCG defined two broader categories which they deemed the most important for influencing employee satisfaction: “work environment” and “job content and opportunities”. These elements can be optimised through initiatives such as the creation of a continuous learning environment—something that, when conducted with the implementation of a successful eLearning platform, can prove to beextremely effective in increasing employee retention.

How to Measure Satisfaction

When measuring employee satisfaction, there are certain factors that need to first be considered. Accurately obtaining a view of any individual employee’s level of satisfaction can be very difficult due to subjectivity concerns as well as personal and recency biases, and so it’s generally better to get data from a larger cross-section of the organisation. Employee satisfaction surveys are frequently chosen for this type of measurement, as research has shown them to be highly effective and accurate when utilised for all employees across a department or even an entire organisation.

By implementing an employee satisfaction survey, you can truly get to know the ambitions and motivations of your organisation’s employees. In addition, having employees fill out these surveys on a regular basis over time will allow you to identify and monitor any upward or downward swings in overall employee satisfaction in a quick, precise manner.

Another consideration to take into account when measuring satisfaction is the method through which your employees will access the survey. Traditionally, this kind of data collection could only have been done using pen and paper—but in 2020, that’s a lengthy, outdated process that yields limited data and can be subject to human error. In comparison, modern LMS solutionsoffer a range of benefitsincluding remote access to surveys, easy comparison of past and present staff survey trends, in-built data analysis and tracking, and much more.

Using Satisfaction Surveys Successfully

Before you begin using satisfaction surveys, it’s essential to know what aspects of the employee experience you wish to measure. These topics could include such things as:

  • Expectations regarding role, responsibilities and salary;
  • Coworker camaraderie/level of team spirit;
  • Expectations of the management team;
  • Availability of self-directed learning opportunities;

Generally speaking, however, there are three main facets of the employee experience that need to be included for any employee satisfaction survey to be a worthwhile endeavour: workplace culture, management, and the job itself.

Workplace Culture

In order to effectively gauge employee satisfaction, it’s good to know which elements of the current organisational culture they respond positively to, and which ones they are less than impressed by. Employees that clearly understand what the company culture is, and how they fit into it, are more likely to buy into the company’s values and overall vision.


Incorporating questions such as “Do you feel valued at work?” and “How often do you receive recognition from your manager?” can really help with understanding an employee’s attitude towards existing management. If they’re receiving the right level of guidance and support from their bosses, employees will tend to be more satisfied and productive in their role.

The Job

It may be obvious, but tailoring an employee satisfaction survey to ask about their attitudes towards their own jobs are essential for gaining an understanding of their happiness levels. Asking how your employees feel in their current position, as well as their future intentions, can provide a clearer picture of whether or not your organisation is likely to retain staff in the long term.

Achieving Improvement Over Time

To improve employees’ job satisfaction over time, you need to be able to implement changes to address problem areas. To understand where these problem areas exist will require careful analysis of the satisfaction survey results over time. This is one of the main features of integrating an LMS, as the database of information provided will allow you to make better, more informed decisions that reflect the needs of your employees.

Once implemented, these improvements will also need to be monitored for effectiveness, on top of the original problem areas. Regardless of whether these changes have the desired outcome or simply a positive one, employees should be made aware that satisfaction at an organisational level cannot purely be affected from the top down. Only when all levels buy into the process of achieving job satisfaction will your people become satisfied employees.

Boost employee satisfaction with AcornLMS

At Acorn, we’ve designed a system that supports organisations looking to invest in their most valuable resource – their employees.

Acorn is one of the most popular and fastest-growing Learning Management Systems in Australia, with over 50% of the Australian Federal Government utilising the system along with many private sector clients. With over one million users already, we’re well-positioned to help your company achieve its specific goals.

Book a call with the team at Acorn today to organise a free demonstration of how our multi-award-winning Learning Management System can meet all of your organisation’s learning and development needs and help improve employee satisfaction.

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Book a call with the team at Acorn today and let’s build the best LMS for you, together. We’ve maintained a 100% retention rate since launching thanks to our incredible platform, great customer service and people-focused approach. So get in touch with one of our eLearning experts for a free discussion about how we can help you truly unlock the potential of your employees.

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At Acorn, we’ve designed a system that supports organisations looking to invest in their most valuable asset – their employees. We take the time to learn about our one million (and counting) users to ensure our intuitive LMS is the right fit for them. Get in touch with one of our eLearning experts to chat about how Acorn can help achieve your goals.