FREE Employee Satisfaction Survey Template & 2024 Guide

Written by Nadine von Moltke
15 minutes read

Do your employees find fulfillment and contentment in their work? The importance of employee satisfaction cannot be overstated for HR professionals who are tasked with maximising employee engagement and loyalty, but how can leadership teams know what employees are really thinking and feeling? 

To gauge employee satisfaction, employers often rely on employee satisfaction surveys or questionnaires. These assessments can include questions about the feasibility of their deadlines, their rapport with co-workers, and their ability to maintain a healthy work life balance. In this article, we provide a FREE employee satisfaction template (Word download), employee satisfaction survey question examples to help develop your own, and steps to help you craft your next employee satisfaction survey.

Let’s get started!

What is an employee satisfaction survey?
Why should you measure employee satisfaction?
8 benefits of employee satisfaction surveys
Checklist: Conducting an employee satisfaction survey
Crafting your employee satisfaction survey questions
Free employee sample satisfaction survey template
How to conduct employee satisfaction surveys
Employee satisfaction survey tools

What is an employee satisfaction survey? 

Gone are the days when people were simply happy to have a job – as they should be. In every organization across industries and sectors, people are the driving force behind productivity and innovation. They are a key differentiator for competitive companies. And they should be treated as such. High levels of employee satisfaction are typically linked to increased productivity, better employee morale, lower turnover rates, and greater business success.

Employee satisfaction, also referred to as job satisfaction, is a measure of how content and happy employees are with their jobs and their workplace environment. It can be influenced by several factors, including the nature of the work itself, compensation, work-life balance, relationships with colleagues and superiors, opportunities for career advancement, and the overall culture and values of the organization.

An employee satisfaction survey is a tool used by organizations to measure and understand the attitudes, opinions, and level of satisfaction amongst their employees. It typically includes a range of questions about various aspects of the workplace experience, including work environment, job duties, managerial effectiveness, and opportunities for professional growth. The results from the survey can offer valuable insights to identify areas of improvement, enhance productivity, and retain talent by addressing their needs and expectations.

What is employee engagement?

While both employee satisfaction and engagement are crucial for a successful organization, they do not mean the same thing:

  • Employee satisfaction is about how content an employee is with their job and work environment. It primarily focuses on the employee’s well-being and whether their needs and expectations are being met.
  • Employee engagement goes a step further. It is an emotional commitment from the employee to the organization and its goals.

HR tip

Engaged employees are not just satisfied with their jobs. They are enthusiastic about their work, take pride in the company, and are willing to put in extra effort to contribute to the organization’s success.

Why should you measure employee satisfaction?

Gallup’s Exceptional Workplace Award winners averaged 72% employee engagement even during highly disruptive times. They also have an 18-to-1 average ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees.

Why does this matter? For starters, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace Report, employees who are not engaged or who are actively disengaged cost the world $7.8 trillion in lost productivity (11% of global GDP) in 2022. Gallup also reveals that decades of research on organizational performance all points to the same thing – that organizations dedicated to prioritizing employee engagement and wellbeing and building a strong workplace culture reap the rewards of better productivity, profitability and customer growth. Most especially, they outperform their less engaged competitors.

If employee satisfaction directly impacts how engaged an employee is, it stands to reason that measuring employee satisfaction is therefore critical. Here are a few additional reasons why:

  • Increase profitability: All of the above factors can contribute to an increase in company profitability. When employees are satisfied and productive, and turnover is low, companies can operate more effectively and efficiently, driving up profits.
  • Improve productivity: Satisfied employees are typically more productive. They are more likely to stay focused, motivated, and engaged in their work, which can drive up overall productivity levels.
  • Reduce turnover: A happy employee is more likely to stay with a company longer, reducing staff churn and the costs associated with hiring and training new employees. With 84% of organizations reporting labor shortage challenges, HR professionals are looking for ways to retain employees for longer.
  • Enhance customer satisfaction: Satisfied employees are more likely to believe in the organization’s purpose and will want to provide better customer service, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

8 Benefits of employee satisfaction surveys

Before you design and implement an employee satisfaction survey or draft employee satisfaction questions, keep these 8 benefits top of mind to ensure you are creating a successful program.

  1. Increase employee engagement: This is the most obvious result of understanding how your employees are feeling and one that we have touched on in this guide. Over and above the data and insights you will gather as an HR professional, employee satisfaction surveys give employees a voice, making them feel valued and involved in the decision-making process. Employees who feel heard are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to their organization. And as we’ve pointed out, increased engagement leads to better productivity and reduced turnover rates.
  2. Identify areas of improvement: Surveys provide a platform for employees to express their concerns, criticisms, and suggestions for improvements, enabling your organization to identify the areas that require attention. Understanding employees’ perspectives can help address potential problems in workflows, working conditions, organizational structure, or policy.
  3. Enhance communication and collaboration: Conducting these surveys emphasizes open and transparent communication between employees and management. It can encourage a culture of feedback and collaboration, where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. This can lead to improved team dynamics, problem-solving, and innovation.
  4. Improve leadership and management: Through these surveys, HR professionals can gain valuable insights into how management’s actions and decisions are perceived by employees. You can use these insights to understand where the business needs to improve, be it in communication, decision-making, recognition, or support. This feedback can inform strategies to provide better support and create a leadership style that resonates with the team.
  5. Foster a positive work environment: Employee satisfaction surveys take away the guess work and are extremely useful in identifying elements that contribute to a positive work environment. This could be anything from recognition to flexibility, team culture, or career development opportunities. Implementing changes based on this feedback can help foster a supportive, inclusive, and positive work environment, leading to happier, more productive employees.
  6. Identify training needs: Do you know where employees feel they lack skills or knowledge? Surveys can arm you with the knowledge you need to design and implement targeted training programs. This not only helps individual employees but also benefits the organization by improving overall skill levels and performance.
  7. Understand employee motivation: It is critical to understand what motivates employees, whether it’s financial incentives, recognition, opportunities for growth, work-life balance, or anything else. HR professionals tasked with developing strategies to keep employees motivated and engaged will need this data on hand.
  8. Boost innovation: Employees are often a rich source of ideas for improving products, processes, and the overall business. Satisfaction surveys can encourage employees to share these ideas, boosting innovation within your organization.

HR tip

It’s important that you view employee satisfaction surveys not just as a tool for gathering data, but as an opportunity for active and continual improvement across multiple aspects of the organization. They are a great opportunity to engage with employees across the business.

Checklist: Conducting an employee satisfaction survey

To ensure you get the most from your employee satisfaction survey program, keep this checklist top of mind and align your questions and strategies to your organization’s overall objectives. 

Ask yourselfWhy consider thisYes/No
Do you have clear and focused objectives?Are you seeking to understand overall job satisfaction, or are you looking to improve specific areas such as communication, management, or work-life balance? Defining your goals at the outset helps to focus the survey and ensures that the results are actionable. A clear purpose also helps when communicating the reasons for the survey to employees, making them more likely to participate and give meaningful responses.
Have you created well-crafted survey questions?Questions should be clear, unbiased, and relevant to the objectives of the survey. They should also be varied – use a mixture of rating scale questions, multiple choice, and open-ended questions to gather a rich variety of data. Be cautious not to make the survey too long as it can lead to survey fatigue, resulting in less reliable responses. 
Are you respecting confidentiality and anonymity?Employees should feel safe to express their opinions without fear of retribution. Assuring participants of the anonymity and confidentiality of their responses encourages honesty and openness. This involves not just promising confidentiality, but also demonstrating it through actions – such as not collecting unnecessary identifying information and using a trusted third-party to conduct the survey. 
Do you conduct timely and regular surveys?Employee satisfaction is not a one-time metric; it’s a dynamic aspect that changes over time. Regular surveys (annual, biannual, or even quarterly depending on the organization’s size and needs) allow for tracking changes, identifying trends, and assessing the impact of any interventions made. Regular feedback also demonstrates to employees that their opinions are valued consistently, not just when a major decision is being made. 
Are you effectively using the data you capture and analyze?The real value of an employee satisfaction survey lies in the actions that follow. Analyzing the data effectively helps you understand the current state of satisfaction, identify areas of concern, and guide changes. Analysis should be thorough, looking for patterns and relationships in the data. Importantly, the results should be communicated back to the employees, along with any actions planned in response to their feedback. This transparency builds trust and encourages future participation in surveys 
Employee Satisfaction Survey Checklist

Crafting your employee satisfaction survey questions

So, how do you ensure your questions strike the perfect balance between encouraging employees to share valuable insights while keeping the entire survey under 20 minutes? Here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Keep it simple. Use straightforward, simple language that everyone can understand and avoid industry jargon or overly technical terms. People should be answering questions, not wondering what you are asking them.
  2. Be specific. Broad questions can lead to ambiguous responses. Try to make your questions as specific as possible.
  3. Avoid leading questions. Don’t influence the answer with the way you word your question. For example, rather than asking “Do you think our management is doing a great job?” ask “How would you rate the performance of our management?”
  4. Use a mix of closed and open-ended questions. Closed questions (with a specific set of response options) are easier to analyze, while open-ended questions can provide richer, more detailed data, so make sure you include both.
  5. Ensure relevance. Only ask questions that are relevant to all employees. If a question applies only to a specific group, make sure it’s only asked to that group.
  6. Use a consistent scale. If you’re using a rating scale, keep it consistent throughout the survey. This makes it easier for employees to respond and simplifies analysis.

HR tip

Ask about specific issues and potential solutions. For example, rather than asking “Are you satisfied with communication?” you might ask “How could we improve our team meetings?”

Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions Top Tips

Employee survey questions

The questions for the employee satisfaction survey below serve as a general guide. Customize your questions according to your organizational culture and context. Also, involve stakeholders to understand and determine the specific issues and concerns you are looking to address.

Additionally, use a mix of question types to capture different aspects of employee experiences and opinions. Include Likert scale questions to gauge satisfaction levels, multiple-choice questions to assess preferences, open-ended questions to gather qualitative feedback, and demographic questions to understand differences based on employee characteristics.

How satisfied are you with your current role?This question assesses overall job satisfaction and provides insights into how content employees are with their current position. It helps gauge if employees find their work fulfilling and if there are any potential areas of improvement.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this company?Measures employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) and reflects their willingness to recommend the company as a place to work. A higher score suggests a higher likelihood of employee advocacy, while a lower score indicates potential issues that need to be addressed.
Do you feel valued and recognized for your contributions?Evaluates the extent to which employees feel appreciated and acknowledged for their efforts. It helps determine if employees perceive their work as meaningful and if they receive the recognition they desire, which can impact overall engagement and motivation.
Are you satisfied with the communication within the company?This question assesses the effectiveness of internal communication channels and strategies. It provides insights into whether employees feel well-informed about company updates, goals, and important information. It can identify areas for improvement in internal communication practices.
How would you rate your work-life balance?This question measures employees’ perception of work-life balance, which directly affects their well-being and job satisfaction. It helps identify potential work-related stressors and whether employees have the necessary support and flexibility to maintain a healthy work-life equilibrium.
Do you have the resources and tools needed to perform your job well?Examines whether employees have access to the necessary resources, equipment, and tools required to effectively carry out their job responsibilities. It helps identify any gaps or obstacles that hinder productivity and performance.
How satisfied are you with the opportunities for career growth?Gauges employees’ satisfaction with the potential for career advancement within the organization. It helps assess if employees perceive a clear path for growth and development, and if they feel supported in their career aspirations, which can impact retention and engagement.
How would you rate the quality of your relationship with your manager?Assesses the employee-manager relationship, which plays a crucial role in job satisfaction and engagement. It helps identify areas where managers can improve in terms of support, communication, coaching, and building strong working relationships with their direct reports.
Do you feel your ideas and suggestions are valued and taken seriously?Evaluates if employees believe their input and ideas are respected and considered by the organization. It helps identify if there is a culture of open communication and if employees feel empowered to contribute, which can foster innovation, engagement, and a sense of ownership.
How likely are you to stay with the company in the next 12 months?Measures employee intent to stay, indicating their loyalty and commitment to the organization. It helps identify retention risks and provides an overall assessment of employee satisfaction and engagement levels. It can also highlight potential areas of

Free employee sample satisfaction survey example

The goal of an employee satisfaction survey is not to give leadership and management teams the opportunity to pat each other on the back. If all you want to hear are empty platitudes, rather skip this valuable exercise. However, as an HR professional, if your goal is to illicit honest and insightful responses from the employees in your organization that you can use to enhance employee satisfaction and engagement, this survey example is an excellent starting point that you can use to create your own template.

Employee Satisfaction Survey Template Sample

You can download our interactive and printable employee satisfaction survey template (Word doc) to adapt according to your organization’s needs:

How to conduct employee satisfaction surveys

The goal of an employee satisfaction survey is not just to measure satisfaction, but also to enhance it. Maximizing engagement and participation is therefore critical for a successful employee satisfaction survey. Following these best practices will help ensure that your survey is a positive experience for everyone involved and leads to meaningful improvements in your workplace.

1. Clear communication and transparency

It’s crucial to clearly communicate the purpose, process, and importance of the survey to employees. This involves explaining how the data will be used, ensuring them of their anonymity and confidentiality, and sharing the timeline for the survey and follow-up actions. Transparency fosters trust, which can significantly boost response rates.

2. Encouraging honest feedback

Create a safe and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their honest views. Reassure them of the confidentiality of their responses and the value you place on their feedback. You should also remind employees that constructive criticism is a powerful tool for improvement and growth.

3. Taking prompt action on feedback

Show employees that their feedback doesn’t fall on deaf ears. Once the survey is complete, quickly analyze the data, identify key action points, and begin implementing changes. The faster you can act on feedback, the more employees will feel that their opinions are respected and valued.

4. Analysis of survey data

Once the data from the employee satisfaction survey is gathered, the task is far from over. Now begins the process of interpreting and understanding the feedback. As an HR professional, there are a number of steps you should now take.

First, identify patterns, trends, and correlations within the data. Tools like data visualization can be helpful here. You should also compare the results with past surveys or benchmark data to track progress and measure effectiveness of past interventions.

Next, look for both positive and negative trends in the data. What aspects of the workplace do employees appreciate? Where are the main areas of dissatisfaction? Are there any significant discrepancies in the data, such as differences between departments, teams, or demographic groups?

Finally, based on this analysis, determine which issues need to be addressed immediately and which can be tackled in the long term. Prioritize actions that will have the most significant impact on employee satisfaction and engagement.

5. Sharing survey results and insights

Once you’ve analyzed the data, share the insights with your team. This shows transparency and can help employees feel more invested in the process. When sharing results, focus on what you’ve learned, the changes you plan to make, and how those changes will benefit the team. This not only keeps employees in the loop but also helps to build anticipation for the next survey.

HR tip

Use the results of each survey as a stepping-stone to the next one. Review what worked and what didn’t and tweak your process accordingly.

HR’s next steps for improving employee satisfaction

  • Develop action plans: Formulate action plans to address key identified issues. This might involve improving communication, providing additional training or resources, changing policies, or addressing leadership concerns.
  • Share results and action plans: Transparency is crucial. Share a summary of the survey results with employees, along with your planned actions. This not only demonstrates that you value their feedback, but also gives them a sense of ownership in the changes to come.
  • Implement changes: Put your action plans into practice. This might involve rolling out new initiatives, tweaking existing policies, or introducing new training programs. Involve employees in the implementation process where possible, to increase their buy-in.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: How well have the changes been implemented? It’s critical to monitor the impact and effectiveness of these measures. This might involve follow-up surveys, regular check-ins, or other feedback mechanisms.
  • Continuous improvement: Use the feedback from each survey as a learning opportunity and a springboard for ongoing enhancements to your workplace. Remember, employee satisfaction is a dynamic measure that needs to be monitored regularly.

Employee satisfaction survey tools

Popular employee satisfaction survey tools include:

SurveyMonkeyA widely-used survey platform offering various survey templates, customizable designs, and reporting tools.Pre-built templates, analytics, customizable surveysFree and paid plans
QualtricsA comprehensive survey tool that includes advanced features for analyzing employee feedback.Real-time analytics, dashboards, advanced reportingCustom pricing
Culture AmpEmployee feedback platform focused on measuring engagement, satisfaction, and performance.Employee pulse surveys, analytics, feedback managementCustom pricing
GlintAn employee engagement platform that provides real-time feedback and analytics to drive organizational change.Continuous listening, pulse surveys, action planningCustom pricing
OfficevibeA platform for collecting employee feedback and measuring engagement through pulse surveys.Real-time feedback, team reports, engagement analyticsCustom pricing
15FiveA performance management and employee engagement platform that includes survey features.Weekly check-ins, pulse surveys, goal trackingCustom pricing
ReflektiveA platform that combines performance management and employee engagement tools, including surveys.Real-time feedback, performance reviews, engagement surveysCustom pricing
WorkTangoEmployee feedback and engagement platform that includes survey tools and analytics.Pulse surveys, sentiment analysis, action planningCustom pricing

Invest in employee satisfaction surveys

Investing in employee satisfaction isn’t just good business. In today’s competitive landscape it’s a strategic imperative. As an HR professional, the data you’ll access and analyze through employee satisfaction surveys will provide invaluable insights into what is working well within the company and areas that may require improvement. Remember, as we’ve highlighted throughout this guide, happy employees contribute to a thriving company culture and are vital in driving an organization’s success.

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Nadine von Moltke

Nadine von Moltke was the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur magazine South Africa for over ten years. She has interviewed over 400 business owners and professionals across different sectors and industries and writes thought leadership content and how-to advice for businesses across the globe.

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