Boost Employee Retention Through Engagement and Satisfaction Surveys

Josh Magsam Josh Magsam · 6 min read

Use employee engagement and satisfaction surveys to listen to your crew, so you can learn what they need to stay excited to be on your team for years to come.

Employee retention should be at the forefront of every manager’s mind. After all, in a recent survey of over 500 companies, 71% of managers reported a high correlation between employee engagement and organizational success.

So while it’s tempting to assume that your team is fully engaged because they seem happy, it’s vital to know where your employees actually stand. Employee retention statistics highlight this, with over 22% of employees reporting that they generally switch jobs within two years or less. As a manager, that leaves you starting all over again with the process of recruiting and building your team, while product knowledge and queue capacity walks out the door with your departing agents.

You can mitigate this risk by building a program to measure employee engagement and satisfaction.

It’s a safe bet that your team is ready to tell you what they love about their job, as well as what could be better. It’s also important to surface those items so you can advocate with company leaders for the right investment in your team. With actionable data points in hand, you’ll have an easier time advocating for adjustments to benefits or compensation levels, even changes to in-office or remote working perks.

For example, no one raises eyebrows at the cost of in-office latté machines or catered lunches when employee happiness metrics clearly show that these perks drive high employee retention and reduce hiring costs.

Engaged Employees are Loyal Employees

It’s easy to confuse employee engagement with satisfaction. But there are important distinctions between these two measurements, and it’s important to know the difference in order to decide which method is right for your team’s needs.

Loyal Employees Boost Customer Engagement

Engaged employees are passionate – they don’t just like their job, they love their job! They feel valued, appreciated, and respected. For them, each day brings new opportunities to work with other amazing people, doing interesting and fulfilling work. They also believe that their opinion matters; their managers listen to their feedback and take action where appropriate, and make sure each team member has the resources they need to do their best work.

Simply put, highly engaged employees are dedicated to your company – they’re thrilled to tell friends and family where they work, and they don’t hesitate to tell their network when new positions open up. They’re with you for the long haul and are proud to shout that from the rooftops. That means you can focus on developing your team and deepening their skillset, instead of constantly hiring and training.

The icing on the cake? When employees are highly engaged, their enthusiasm transfers to revenue as well. Engaged team members drive increased revenue at a rate of 2x that of non-engaged employees. That’s because their excitement shows in every action they take, meaning that customers who work with highly-engaged employees are more likely to remain loyal to your brand.

High Employee Satisfaction Increases Baseline Retention

Whereas engaged employees are loyal, satisfied employees are content. That means team members who report high job satisfaction feel that benefits are strong, their workload is reasonable, and that their efforts are appreciated. They may find fulfillment in personal activities or social causes outside of work and view their job as a way to support those endeavors, which is a big part of why they are so happy. But many are happy to work at a company that provides good compensation and promotes a respectful culture – and that’s absolutely something to be proud of!

Combine Engagement and Satisfaction Metrics For A Complete Picture of  Employee Retention Factors

Obviously, you’re going to be looking for a method of identifying the most engaged and loyal members on your team – if you can leverage their feedback to adjust compensation or increase perks that motivate other team members, you’ll have a winning formula!

But it’s important to focus on more than just one metric. While measuring engagement is clearly vital for long-term success, understanding the factors that drive satisfaction will help you establish a baseline for overall team happiness.

Employee RetentionMeasure Loyalty and Commitment with an Employee Engagement survey

When you want to measure customer loyalty and predict which customers are likely to remain engaged, you probably turn to a Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey. This helps your company identify brand Promoters (loyal customers who stay engaged and drive referrals), Passives (ambivalent customers who may be persuaded to engage more deeply with new outreach strategies), and Detractors (unhappy customers who are likely to switch brands or share their frustration with others). An NPS program can teach you a lot about why those happy customers are so excited about your brand, as well as identify opportunities to improve the experience for unhappy customers and get them to engage more deeply.

An Employee Engagement Survey (EES) functions almost exactly the same way. Instead of measuring the loyalty of external customers, though, it measures the commitment your team members have as employees.

Best of all, if you’re already using a robust NPS tool like Nicereply, it’s a snap to repurpose that same platform for an EES survey. (Some may even just call this an employee NPS survey). As with a customer-focused NPS survey, be sure to follow up with an open-text field asking them to explain their answer. This is where you will learn why some of your employees are highly engaged culture champions, inspiring others every day. The “why” will help you deliver more of the daily perks and long-term benefits that drive their loyalty. Meanwhile, any team members who are feeling pessimistic can use this space to identify what’s troubling them, giving you an opportunity to re-engage with them and retain them for your team.

Tip: Take a “pulse” approach to your EES program and send this survey on a routine (but not too frequent) basis. For example, if your organization has undergone recent changes, monthly pulses may be useful. After a couple of rounds, you’ll have a baseline for comparison against future survey results, helping you track employee engagement over time.

Employee RetentionTrack Overall Team Health With Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Think of an Employee Satisfaction Survey (ESS) as a means of measuring “internal” customer satisfaction. Great managers understand that employees really are your “first customer” – so it’s vital to understand what their baseline happiness is. Just as with Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys, employee satisfaction surveys can be incredibly powerful at measuring how happy your team members are with their basic employee experience. True, highly engaged employees are valuable for driving revenue and customer loyalty – but happy employees count for quite a lot as well.

As a manager, you need to know if your team is generally satisfied with their day-to-day experience before you can focus on higher-level team engagement strategies. While highly engaged team members may seem to be the most valuable, employees who are simply happy with their jobs are also far more likely to stay with their company, in part because they place high trust in their managers. Maintaining a strong relationship with satisfied employees increases the likelihood that they will reach out for help if their satisfaction dips, helping you retain valuable team members.

For department leaders, ESS metrics are highly valuable for gauging company health. If employee satisfaction dips broadly, that’s a sign that team leaders and area managers may be overlooking concerns on their team and need support in identifying pain points. Knowing which factors drive the highest amount of employee satisfaction (compensation, company culture, perks, and benefits) can be incredibly valuable in budget planning. And if employee satisfaction dips, that’s a broad sign that your team needs some focused attention to prevent turnover.

Tip: Keep in mind that satisfaction scores, in general, are not a great predictor of future outcomes. A team member who reports high satisfaction with their job one week may not necessarily be loyal to the company in the long run and could be open for an opportunity with another organization. Touch on this score frequently in your employee 1:1 sessions to keep on top of any fluctuations.

Employee RetentionConclusion

Taking time to set up an employee engagement and satisfaction survey program will help you know, without a doubt, just how deeply engaged and satisfied they really are.

After all, you’ve worked hard to build an amazing customer support team. After years of dialing in recruiting and screening processes, building a high-impact training ramp and a stellar QA review process, you have a team that arrives in high spirits each day, eager to work together to help your customers.

Now – make sure your team stays with you for the long haul! Use employee engagement and satisfaction surveys to listen to your crew and boost employee retention, so you can learn what they need to stay excited to be on your team for years to come.

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Josh Magsam Josh Magsam

Josh Magsam is a freelance writer and consultant specializing in customer experience, operations management, and team leadership. When he’s not building support teams or writing content, he enjoys hiking in the Cascades with his wife and young son.

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