Print  | 

The Importance of Measuring Employee Job Satisfaction

Employees that are satisfied can make a practice more successful and more pleasant. This metric is one that is frequently overlooked by many consultants and management seminars. However, I think that it is perhaps second only to patient satisfaction as an indicator of the future success of the practice. What is measured is vital to obtaining meaningful information and structuring the survey correctly is essential.

Employee satisfaction is no different than physician satisfaction. It is comprised of how happy the person is with their life outside the office, how pleased they are with their job and the overall experience they have in the workplace. This latter aspect includes interactions with patients and peers.

There is little one can do about how happy or unhappy a given individual is outside the office. A bad marriage, problems with a child or substance abuse issues will definitely spill over into the office. This can poison the environment for the entire staff. Although you can not impact this, it is important to have some sense of the degree to which it affects your workplace. For instance, an employee that has substance problems may have attendance or performance issues that create excessive burden for the employees that have to pick up the slack. A well structured employee job satisfaction survey needs to include questions about this since most of these problems will be obvious to other employees but not to you.

How pleased a given individual is with their job may be rated using a variety of parameters. Using a 10 point scale is a simple and objective measurement that can be tracked over time. Several studies have shown that employee satisfaction is correlated with the degree of recognition that they obtain as well as opportunities to challenge themselves and advance. When asking about job satisfaction, it is worth noting what if any events (did they attend the Cosmetic Bootcamp Marketing and Management symposium and come back full of ideas?) correlate with increased satisfaction. It is also important to identify barriers to improved job satisfaction. Typically, this may be due to an individual (for instance a colleague that is not pulling her weight or showing up late) or due to problems with the physician the employee has to work with. Other issues that may be identified may be the perception that the individual is not being compensated enough. If this is the case, benchmark data is available to either refute or support this opinion. Either way, it should be addressed before it undermines the office. Measuring satisfaction with salary is definitely something one should record.

Opportunities for job advancement and workplace challenge are also metrics that should be evaluated. Employees, as a rule, tend to fall into one of two camps: they either show up to get the paycheck and have the attitude of "same old, same old" or they try to achieve and improve. A well designed survey can help to identify which of these types you have working for you. If your practice is a managed care one, where patients come to your office because they have to, it may not matter what the employees think as long as they put paper on the table. If, however, you are trying to be the best at what you do or you have a cosmetic practice, finding the one bad apple is critical not only to the success of the practice but also to the morale at the office.

Measuring employee satisfaction is one parameter of the health of the practice and it is essential to have this much the way it is critical to have a patient's temperature. While we are not in business to entertain or delight our staff, it is important that they be satisfied at their jobs in order for them to want to be there every day. When they are not, they can make your day and that of the patients, miserable.