Compensation surveys: how to use them to boost employee engagement

Your employees’ compensation is directly related to their level of engagement. As employee engagement is ultimately one of the keys to success for any type of organization, we’ll explore the relationship between the two. We’ll also introduce compensation surveys and review the role they play in both tracking and improving your employees’ level of engagement.

Losing an employee is tough.

You have to find a replacement, which can take anywhere from weeks to months. In addition, training a new hire is resource intensive. All in all, the costs of losing a valuable member of your team can average out to $30,000.

So what can your organization do to prevent frequent turnover? Focus on employee engagement.

Employee engagement measures how productive an employee is relative to their potential. To improve employee engagement you’ll need to develop a holistic view of each employee’s experience. Does an employee value their work? Do they see a career path for themselves at your company? And do they enjoy collaborating with colleagues?

This page will focus on one key area that influences employee engagement: Compensation. We’ll review how, exactly, it impacts employee engagement and discuss ways to use compensation surveys as a means for tracking and improving on your employees’ level of engagement.

Why compensation matters

How does compensation directly tie into employee engagement?

Employees who believe their income is similar to colleagues in their team and to similar roles at other companies are 4.5 times more likely to be engaged in their job.

Failing to address employee compensation in the long-term results in major setbacks for an employer:

One of the easiest and most scalable ways to understand and address employee engagement at your own company is to use employee engagement surveys, which include compensation surveys.

Why you should use compensation surveys

How often does a friend or family member ask you, “how much money do you make?”

The answer for most people is “rarely.” Compensation can be a pretty private topic. By extension, our opinions on the amount we earn are kept to ourselves and those closest to us.

Compensation surveys give your employees a platform to speak candidly. They can ensure employees’ anonymity and can be sent from a custom email address so that employees know their supervisor isn’t directly involved in the process of collecting feedback.

Compensation survey data is also easy to analyze. Here are 3 ways to get the most out of your compensation survey data:

1) Create charts and graphs from your closed-ended survey responses. Charts break down your survey responses into a simple visual—allowing you to quickly and accurately identify trends and patterns.

 
Bar chart

Learn how to customize charts from your survey results using SurveyMonkey Analyze.

2) Leverage open-ended responses from your compensation survey. The responses will allow you to uncover how employees evaluate their compensation and help you determine the key factors that influence whether or not they’re satisfied.

Pro tip: You can filter for employees who are either satisfied or dissatisfied with their compensation to see how they answered an open-ended question.

3) Understand how your compensation survey data is trending. For example, are employees becoming increasingly satisfied with their level compensation? Why are they more (or less) satisfied than before? The ability to track your survey data is especially valuable once changes are made to an employee’s compensation (measure employees’ satisfaction with those changes).

Pro tip: You can track how the responses from your compensation survey are changing using our Data Trends feature.

Strategies for writing your compensation survey

Consider the following when developing your compensation survey:

  • Overall satisfaction with compensation
  • Satisfaction compared to the market standard (similar job at a similar company type in your area)

The first point relates to the idea that compensation is complicated. There can be countless reasons for why an employee is or isn’t satisfied with how they’re paid. Getting lost for a particular reason, at least initially, distracts you from the more fundamental point: whether or not they’re happy with how they’re compensated.

To understand an employee’s overall level of satisfaction, ask, “Are you satisfied with your level of compensation?” You can always follow up with an open-ended question that allows the respondent to voice the reasons behind their answer.

The second point about market standards emphasizes employees’ alternative options. For your organization, this feedback is valuable in two ways:

  1. It allows you to reevaluate whether or not an employee’s compensation is competitive in the market. If the majority of your employees believe that they’re underpaid, you either haven’t accounted for changes in the market rate or your current method for determining compensation isn’t working—or both!
  2. You can educate employees on how their compensation is determined. By giving your employees an idea of why their compensation is at a certain level, you’ll remove any ambiguity and create a sense of trust with your employees.

Check out this compensation survey template. You can use it as the foundation for writing your own compensation survey.

Employee engagement is key to building a thriving organization. And compensation is a piece of the puzzle for building employee engagement. Determine whether your compensation is in line with your employees’ needs and expectations by running compensation surveys. They’ll give your employees an opportunity to be candid while allowing your organization to collect responses that are easy to analyze and act on.