Employee sentiment is the bedrock of organizational success. But what exactly is employee sentiment—and how does it relate to other key concepts like engagement?
In a nutshell, it’s how people feel about every aspect of their job. We’ll discuss what that means in more detail in a moment.
Can you change employee sentiment? Yes, and this begins with identifying key issues. Effective employee listening through a range of techniques will help it improve. We’ll discuss how to measure and enhance it to support the long-term health of your company.
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Employee Sentiment vs Employee Engagement
Employee sentiment differs from employee engagement, although they’re strongly related.
According to Gallup, engagement is “the involvement and enthusiasm of employees in their work and workplace.” Meanwhile, employee sentiment is people’s feelings about their experience on the job and their workplace. This encompasses a broad spectrum of factors, such as:
- How they feel about their company — whether it upholds values that they relate to.
- Their satisfaction with benefits and pay.
- How particular management practices affect employees.
- How employees feel about specific policies and protocols.
- Their satisfaction with the company and team culture.
- Whether the organization listens effectively to employees.
- The types of training and advancement opportunities they believe they have.
In turn, this will either foster or decrease engagement. Satisfaction in these areas will cause employees to feel more motivated and driven. Dissatisfaction can cause them to burn out.
For example, factors like these will likely enhance employee sentiment:
- Having a calm, harmonious workplace culture that boosts focus.
- Believing in a new workplace policy.
- Having versatile benefits options.
- Feeling empowered to work on projects that leverage key skills.
- Having a manager who discusses the pathway to career goals.
By supporting employees in such ways, an organization will improve morale. Let’s now discuss the far-reaching impacts this will have on the organization.
The Importance of Employee Sentiment
First, we’ll examine the effects of strong employee sentiment. Then, we’ll look at the repercussions of having poor employee sentiment.
Benefits of Strong Employee Sentiment
Strong employee sentiment will help reduce turnover. Employees will feel a sense of pride and purpose in working for their company. They’ll enjoy their work, and they’ll feel comfortable in their workplace culture. They’ll also be more likely to refer friends to apply for jobs at their company.
As a result, employee sentiment will lead to higher engagement among employees. Workers who feel happier will be more creative, innovative, and engaged, as Amy Blankson says on Forbes. Plus, team members will be more supportive of each other. In turn, this will help your organization minimize costs and achieve greater success.
Enhanced engagement can lead to a 23% rise in profitability, says Gallup—and strong employee sentiment directly makes this possible. Plus, it can lead absenteeism to drop by 81%.
Consequences of Low Employee Sentiment
Low employee sentiment will cause morale to drop. In turn, this will limit a company’s success. When employees don’t feel satisfied, performance will decline. Whether they dislike their benefits package or perceive their company as non-inclusive, they’ll start to check out—or burn out.
Employee Sentiment Analysis
Employee sentiment analysis aims to understand not just how employees feel, but why they feel that way. Smart analysis might detect issues an employee hasn’t even become aware of yet—and potential solutions.
Let’s look at software solutions available today for evaluating employee sentiment. Then, we’ll explore useful metrics to adopt. Finally, we’ll discuss the basics of employee sentiment surveys.
Employee Sentiment Software Tools
Today’s AI technologies can make strong predictions at the individual level. High-performing organizations use such solutions much more often than low-performing companies, says Deloitte. By processing large volumes of data to detect patterns, AI can help predict employees’ likelihood of burning out or quitting. Using both historic data and industry trends, AI can flag dissatisfaction to make these predictions. Then, HR can take action to address the problem.
Natural language processing (NLP) technologies, a branch of AI, can play a central role in assessing employee sentiment. Using natural language processing tools can reveal the emotions embedded in employees’ words and behaviours. Such tools can also help determine the root causes of these emotions.
“For instance, modern sentiment analysis software not only picks up when an employee feels confused, but it can also link the employee’s confusion to a specific cause such as their salary or working hours or a particular task,” explains Deloitte.
Leveraging text analytics, such tools read between the lines to help uncover themes and draw conclusions.
« AI systems can also be trained to identify words or phrases that express dissatisfaction—be it in e-mails, work group chats or public employee forums—and raise red flags accordingly, » says Sameer Maskey, founder and CEO of Fusemachines, an AI talent platform, in a SHRM article. « Using these insights, HR teams can stay a step ahead and launch initiatives that boost employee morale and foster engagement. »
Additionally, some companies use chatbots to address questions and concerns. Then, they use software solutions to analyze the data from these queries, notes Deloitte.
AI can also help predict what skills will be needed in the future, asserts SHRM. With predictions based on company and industry data, HR can develop new training initiatives.
Today’s leading survey software and performance management tools can also aid in gauging employee sentiment. Similar to the above solutions, they reveal patterns of performance and engagement that reflect how employees feel.
Employee Sentiment Metrics
Employee satisfaction is a core metric for assessing employee sentiment. You can track insights from employee satisfaction surveys to measure it, such as net promoter scores. You can also track their sentiments on subtopics like culture, inclusivity, and the effectiveness of training programs.
As mentioned, look at engagement results from performance management software as well. These indicators help reveal employees’ level of energy and enthusiasm.
Additional metrics that have strong implications for employee sentiment include participation in trainings, absenteeism, and pay equity. Frequent absenteeism typically signals an underlying issue, like high stress. Time to promotion and diversity in leadership may also strongly influence how employees feel about their jobs.
Track and improve metrics like these to strengthen employee sentiment.
Employee Sentiment Surveys
Survey software can help evaluate employee sentiments. Conduct regular pulse surveys that employees can complete in less than 10 minutes to increase participation. Surveys can focus on various dimensions of work, zeroing in on specific topics like these. (You can include a 5- or 7-point rating scale with your questions.)
Attitudes Toward a Workplace Policy
Look at whether the policy achieved its specific aim and how employees view it. You can then keep, review, or replace the policy.
- Has this policy enhanced accuracy or results?
- Has teamwork improved since the policy was implemented?
- Have you successfully adjusted to the policy?
What would you change about the policy? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Satisfaction with Workplace Culture
Examine how employees feel about the company culture with questions like these:
- Does your team culture make you feel comfortable?
- How inclusive is the company culture?
- Does the company culture encourage each person to make their voice heard?
- Do newer employees feel comfortable within this culture?
- Does the culture support peer-to-peer learning?
What would you change about your team or company culture?
Adequacy of Training and Developmental Support
Look at whether employees feel they’re receiving appropriate training and coaching:
- Do you have a good mentor in the organization?
- How well do you understand the next steps to take toward advancement?
- In the past month, have you participated in meaningful growth opportunities?
- Do you have clear stretch goals?
- In the past month, has your manager spoken with you about your goals?
What would make you feel better supported?
Perceptions of the Company
Questions can also examine how employees feel about the company.
- Does the company have a clear purpose?
- Is this purpose meaningful?
- Is the company effectively fulfilling this mission?
- Do you believe in the company’s broader vision?
- Do you feel you’re personally playing a role in achieving it?
How could the company refine or strengthen its purpose, mission, or vision?
Satisfaction with Collaboration and Communication
These questions can explore how well colleagues are working together:
- Does your team hold effective brainstorming sessions?
- Are clear protocols in place for communicating with team members?
- Does your team follow an effective project workflow?
- Does your team avoid bottlenecks that impede workflow?
- When you ask a team member a question, do you typically receive a prompt reply?
- Does your manager communicate effectively with the team?
What issues affect team collaboration and communication? Please share any suggestions for improvement.
When possible, frame questions to focus on specific challenges you’ve identified. Maintain privacy in regard to survey results, keeping feedback anonymous. Finally, close the feedback loop after conducting a survey. This means synthesizing the feedback and sharing a summary of it—followed by actions you’ll take in response.
Here are some common questions and answers on this important topic.
Is employee sentiment rising or falling?
Between 2020 and 2022, employee engagement declined from 36% to 32%, Gallup found. This suggests a declining pattern of employee sentiment, which fuels engagement. This decline parallels the Great Resignation and has been especially pronounced for younger employees.
So, companies should work hard to enhance employee sentiment and keep their talented workers. It’s absolutely crucial.
What’s the best way to measure employee sentiment?
We recommend using survey software that leverages analytics to deliver results. This solution will work for businesses of any size. Combine it with performance management software that analyzes a range of factors that support engagement.
How can you quickly improve employee sentiment?
The best strategy for your company depends on what is negatively influencing employee sentiment. So, you’ll need to identify those factors. However, Gallup suggests several top ways of improving the employee experience:
- Auditing and improving your culture.
- Getting clear on hybrid working norms. For instance, make Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays designated days for on-site collaboration.
- Ensure each manager holds a one-on-one meeting with each employee every week.
Combine these strategies with efforts to improve specific areas for growth.
Now you know how to measure employee sentiment—and track it over time. That means you can work to change it when needed. Survey your employees and use other tools that will help you gauge employee sentiment. Then, take action based on the conclusions you’ve reached!
Learn more about how to use surveys and performance management tools to measure employee sentiment. Sign up to demo Primalogik!