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How to gauge employee satisfaction, one question at a time

Sharon Florentine | April 24, 2014
There's nothing quite like that gut-wrenching feeling when an employee gives notice. It's especially tough when the employee was one of the good ones, and when you didn't see it coming, says David Niu, founder of TinyPulse.

Definitely Sweat the Small Stuff

Of course, the TinyPulse tool (which costs $3 per user, per month) itself isn't a solution. The effort you put into it is what you will get out, and it's incumbent on the company to take the information gathered and address the issues raised, Niu says.

One client, for instance, asked employees to name one thing about their office that really bothered them, Niu says. The employees overwhelmingly agreed that the water available for drinking was less than tasty.

"The information he received was quite shocking to him," Niu said. "In one case, an employee told him, 'The water tastes like a toilet bowl!' and the client said, 'We've been in this office space for three years, and no one told me. I was horrified; but I went out and invested in a water filter, and suddenly, the morale in the office improved and everyone was happier,'" Niu says.

The TinyPulse tool allows employees to send their feedback anonymously, which contributes to an open and honest feedback environment, Niu says. It's one way to help employees feel that their concerns are being heard and that they are expressing dissatisfaction in a safe environment without fear that their jobs might be in jeopardy.

"A key feature is the anonymity. People need a safe, secure place to share, but also to confirm that their feedback was received," Niu says. "One of the things we encourage is that management relay to their employees that the feedback has been received, and then have meetings about what can and cannot be addressed and within what timeframe," he says.

All businesses are bound by time, financial and resource constraints, and thus aren't able to address every complaint, he says. But simply acknowledging employees concerns and letting them know they're being heard can go a long way toward improving engagement and satisfaction — and retention, says Niu.

Though it can take between six and 12 months of sustained, concerted effort to change a workplace culture, making a visible effort to do so can show employees that their company cares about them and wants to make things right, Niu says.

"We wanted this to be a way for companies to address retention issues before they become a major issue," Niu says. "This is a great way to uncover blind spots within your organization and take action to correct them."


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