Sometimes job markets favour employers. Sometimes they favour employees. Right now, in many cases, it’s very much the latter. Even when it’s the former, however, employers tend to be in competition for the very best talent. They also tend to be under scrutiny for their behaviour towards their employees.
The importance of staff satisfaction
There are three main reasons why staff satisfaction is important for the long-term health of any business. Firstly, your staff are the people who keep the wheels of your business turning. If they’re unhappy, then, one way or another, your business is going to suffer because of it.
Secondly, the internet has made it possible for current and former staff to review their employer, usually anonymously if they wish. Just as employers often check prospective employees’ social-media profiles so prospective employees often check out a company’s reviews.
Thirdly, employees are often also customers and/or investors. Even if they’re not, there’s a good chance they’ll have connections with people who are. Even if they don’t, there are still plenty of ways for them to find out who your key customers and/or investors are and reach out to them – or their key customers and/or investors.
Remember, staff who are unhappy at their work are probably looking for other jobs. They have no reason to fear you losing custom or investment. In fact, they may well think you deserve to do so. What’s more, their concerns are increasingly likely to be taken seriously by customers, investors and the public at large.
Monitoring staff satisfaction levels
Given the indisputable importance of staff satisfaction, it makes sense for even small businesses to monitor it. The most effective way to do this by far is to use surveys staff can complete anonymously. This is really the only way you can be sure that your employees will feel confident enough to give full and honest feedback.
Designing an effective staff-satisfaction survey may seem intimidating. In reality, however, it doesn’t have to be. If you have the budget, you can outsource the task. If you don’t, you can usually design a decently effective survey using common sense and communication.
Your starting point is to work out what you think staff satisfaction looks like. If you’re struggling with this, then you might want to consider asking your employees what questions they would like to see included. It’s important to take your time and create a survey everyone is happy with. The main reason for this is that you will need to repeat your survey periodically as a “pulse check”.
At a minimum, you should run your survey once a year. You may wish to do so every 6 months and possibly even more often especially if you often take on short-term staff. You should also give staff dedicated time to complete it rather than expecting them to do it in their breaks.
Responding to staff-satisfaction surveys
You should always respond to staff-satisfaction surveys. At a minimum, you should let all staff know how many people completed them, what the key scores were and what action, if any, you are going to take.
If you’re not sure what action you’re going to take then own the fact and commit to working out a path forward and communicating it. If you can’t take action, then explain why you can’t and what, if anything, you will do to try to address the situation. For example, if you can’t find a fix for a problem, then maybe you can find a workaround.
You may also want to consider sharing the (anonymised) results of your staff-satisfaction survey publicly. Even if it’s not what you’d like it to be, it will show that you do value staff satisfaction. That in itself can be a very reassuring signal to potential employees and customers/investors.
Ensuring that they are Protected
Key person insurance is essentially a specific form of life and critical illness cover. It is taken out by a business to protect them from the consequences of a key member of their workforce either dying in service or being incapacitated through critical illness. So that’s the business protected but what about your staff?
Do you offer any health benefits, a good pension scheme or any form of life insurance to ensure that your staff feel that you actually care about them? Do you provide wellness schemes or look at ways to improve their working conditions and health/mental health at work.