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What Are the Different Methods of Measuring Job Satisfaction?

By Carrieanne Larmore
Updated May 16, 2024
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Different methods for measuring job satisfaction include using surveys, interviewing employees and monitoring performance targets. Determining which method to use depends on the level of complexity or underlying issues the business feels could be causing the dissatisfaction. If it suspects that employees do not trust its managers, for instance, then an anonymous survey may be more useful than having management conduct personal interviews. In situations wherein the company feels that the underlying problem is complex, then interviews may be more appropriate for understanding the full extent of the problem.

Surveys are a common method of measuring job satisfaction. A survey can assess satisfaction in the areas of pay, promotion, supervision, tasks and coworkers. While standard surveys are available for businesses, a customized survey that is tailored to a business's own needs and industry may be more effective. Surveys with the majority of questions in the multiple-choice format typically are preferred so that responses can be compared and analyzed more easily. Employees who are allowed to remain anonymous are more likely to be more open and honest with their answers since they will not feel pressure or fear of repercussion.

Interviewing employees as a method of measuring job satisfaction is mostly useful in organizations that have positive relationships with employees and believe the problem is too sophisticated to be understood with a survey. If employees do not trust the organization or interviewer, however, responses may not be entirely honest. Businesses with low job satisfaction or employees who fear being let go may find the employees reluctant to discuss the situation since they may fear it could negatively affect them in the future. The questions asked should be standardized in order to compare different employee responses as well as the same employee's responses over time.

Monitoring performance targets is a method of measuring job satisfaction that requires a business to be an active observer. With this method, management monitors employee satisfaction by using standard criteria, such as achieving bonuses, participating in optional programs and performance in reaching goals. This method provides indirect data on the levels of job satisfaction. While it can flag management that there is a problem with job satisfaction, combining this with a survey or interview can provide the company with a stronger analysis on the cause of low levels of job satisfaction.

Businesses with high levels of job satisfaction tend to experience a lower employee turner, higher productivity and lower overall costs. Whichever method or methods are used for measuring job satisfaction, the business should collect qualitative and quantitative data. This puts the data in a format that is easier to analyze and compare. For instance, when interviewing employees, the interviewer could mix in simple questions that result in answers of "yes" or "no," or ratings on a scale of one to five.

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Discussion Comments

By Buster29 — On Jan 28, 2014

@Ruggercat68, I had a completely different experience with the one employee satisfaction survey I took. Most of the employees agreed that the method for getting raises was completely unfair. We rated the questions about promotion and salary compensation very low, and some of us wrote our concerns out in the blank space at the end.

As it turned out, the big boss wasn't even aware of the company's new policy on raise evaluations. Right after the survey, he called us into a meeting and said from that point on we would be getting regular performance evaluations and opportunities for pay raises. We were much happier employees after that.

By Ruggercat68 — On Jan 27, 2014

I've filled out a few job satisfaction surveys myself, and I'm not really sure if anything good ever came out of it. They're a good way to get employee concerns out into the open, but it's still up to management to decide what to do with that information.

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