Employee retention should be a top priority for business owners and HR managers because of the cost to recruit and train new employees and the loss of productivity during the transition. There are several things that go into an employee’s decision to stay with a company long-term and their happiness is one of them. In order to assess employee happiness, HR managers need to understand what inspires and motivates employees broadly and each employee specifically. What questions should HR managers be asking employees to get these answers and how should they ask the questions?
How to assess employee happiness
Management should ask employees to evaluate and talk about their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the following concepts:
- Employee training and mentorship
- Career advancement and development opportunities
- Organizational culture and structure
- Workplace environment
- Workplace flexibility
- Compensation package
- Rewards and recognition
- Employee evaluation process
Leadership should follow up with a question asking for ideas that could increase their happiness.
Top 5 ways to get employees to answer questions about their happiness
An unbiased facilitator can lead focus groups with several sets of employees from each department (such as the sales team) or type of employee (such as supervisors) or a group made up of a variety of departments or roles. The focus group should discuss a specific topic about the workplace like the organizational culture and structure. Both positive and negative feedback and ideas for changes should be encouraged.
The annual performance review can be a great time to have a one-on-one conversation with employees. Managers should be clear at the start of the conversation that they are open to all types of feedback. Asking both general questions about workplace satisfaction and specific feelings about compensation packages, etc. is a great way to gather useful information. Each manager should create a report with feedback so that common issues can be identified and a plan for improvement can be made. Employees should be thanked for providing feedback.
After an employee has given notice can be a great time to get honest feedback about why they have chosen to leave. For example, they may have quit because of lack of career advancement opportunities. It’s a chance to hear complaints and make changes so that other employees don’t leave for the same reasons.
Sitting down for a discussion with new employees can be an ideal time to ask about their hopes for what it will be like to work for your business. You can ask what things they will need to stay committed to your company in the long-term, their overall impression of the recruiting and training process and what drew them to your company in the first place. This information can help you recruit and retain other top talent.
Anonymous employee surveys:
Surveys provide answers to broad and specific questions and employees are likely to provide honest feedback because they are anonymous. Surveys can be designed as part of the onboarding process, during the exit process, the annual review process or anytime when management wants feedback about employee happiness. Ideally, surveys would be done online because it’s easier to make them anonymous and to gather data.
Apart from these specific tactics, management should create an open-door policy where employees are encouraged to speak to leadership about concerns or goals or anything that is on their mind. HR managers should take interpersonal issues seriously and work to resolve them in the fairest way possible to encourage harmony in the workplace.
When leadership goes out of their way to ask employees about what they like and don’t like about working for the business and then makes an honest effort to work on areas of unhappiness, employees will feel valued and more loyal to the company.
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