Interpreting Survey Results
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Interpreting Employee Satisfaction Survey Results:
 Figuring Out What Is Important

Employee satisfaction survey results, or any other type of employee survey, have to be interpreted in a meaningful way to determine what is important.

You have to learn what is important to the employees to be able to understand how much a positive or negative response actually means to problem identification.

Let's say you have conducted an employee survey measuring job satisfaction. You may have been tempted to ask the employees what is the most important question on the survey in their opinion, but that is not the best way to learn candid opinions and it would create a long survey which is less likely to get the employees to actually fill out the survey.

The best way to learn what is important is to have asked the last question in an "overview" manner. If, on a 10 question survey, the first 9 questions are specific, the last question should be "Overall, how satisfied are you with your job?"

Now you should look for correlation points within the survey responses to learn what really matters. 

Below is a sample correlation chart which represents a 10 question employee satisfaction survey. Most of the 75 employees polled responded to all the questions, but a few left some questions blank.

This can be a first indication of items which are not as important to the employees as other items.






I am very satisfied with my job.



My manager is an effective team leader.



I can freely express my opinions without fear of retribution.



My salary directly reflects my job performance.



I am provided with challenging work assignments.



I feel valued by my employers.



I feel I do not have enough employee benefits.



I feel I should be provided telecommuting options.



I believe management is honest with me in all their communication.



I receive respect from my co-workers.

Next, notice the "general" question at the top which received an average rating of 3.1. 

To find out which of the other questions matter the very most to the employees, look for the averages which most closely relate or exceed the "general" question.

From the survey responses above, you will see that "I believe management is honest with me in all their communication" is the most important aspect. Not only did everyone answer that question, but the average exceeds the average of the general question about job satisfaction.

The next most important point is "My salary directly reflects my job performance". The least important point to the employees is "I feel I should be provided telecommuting options" because not only did some people leave the question blank, but the average response is significantly lower than the average for job satisfaction.

Keep in mind, this is not a real survey response and has no meaning in relation to your employees; they might well feel telecommuting is the most important point to them. 

Analyzing correlations can be almost an art form.

Some of the most common survey software packages provide a correlation engine to help you obtain the analysis you need. On surveys which have a reasonably small number of questions, you can readily perform your own correlation analysis and see quickly what is most important to your employees.

Those responses which indicate they truly matter to your employees are the issues you should strive to improve upon and at the very least be certain to maintain at their current levels.

It doesn't matter if you create an effective action plan and provide 100% improvement on an area if that area doesn't matter to your employees! For a survey measuring satisfaction on a scale of 1-5, striving to achieve a very high average score on the important issues is exactly what your action plan resulting from the employee survey should reflect!

Fix what is broken; leave what is not seriously broken for another day.

Copyright © 2005 by Bill Roche.  All rights reserved.  All material on this site ( is protected by U.S. Federal Copyright law. It may not be reprinted in any form, or hosted on any Web site, without explicit permission.


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Copyright © 1998-2015 by The Executive Strqtegies Group LLC.  All rights reserved.  All material on this site ( is protected by U.S. Federal Copyright law. It may not be reprinted in any form, or hosted on any Web site, without prior written permission.