If a single metric could be used to represent the results of an organisation’s people management efforts – this metric will be Employee Satisfaction. While metrics like attrition and absenteeism are critical to measure the health of the people management systems, these are lagging indicators of HR efficiency. For this very reason, employee satisfaction is also the most extensively studied occupational phenomenon in the world. A well designed and a well implemented Employee Satisfaction survey can not only predict turnover but also can aid to pre-empt it.

This article intends to understand employee satisfaction from an organisational culture standpoint, about what its determinants are and how to measure it effectively.

Employee Satisfaction and Organisational Culture

The first mention of culture from the perspective of an organisation was coined by Dr. Elliott Jaques in the year 1951 in his book ‘The Changing Culture of a Factory’. Back in its day, this book’s intent was to explore the set of values that organisations need to nurture, to gain full commitment from its people. He invented the term ‘requisite organization’ that he defined to be an organisation ‘with a list of organisational values’ that achieves ‘doing business with efficiency and competitiveness’ by ‘release of  trust and satisfaction’ in its employees

Trust and satisfaction have ever since been constant subjects of evaluation for people management. The theory of requisite organisation proves that organisational culture is a controllable determinant that affects employee satisfaction.

Eventually, a myriad of research studies that happened in the 1990’s and the 2000’s proved clear statistical correlation between Employment Satisfaction and Organisational culture. Ivana Petrovic’s 2016 exploratory study identified 9 organisational factors that lead to job satisfaction. Below given are 9 factors and the subcategories of aspects covered during the study:


  • Availability of information necessary to perform work well
  • Absence of tension and pressure on employees
  • Clear work organization with precise division of work tasks
  • Safe working conditions
  • Physical working conditions
  • Objective evaluation of individual performance
  • Absence of tension and pressure at work
  • Promotion based on clear and known criteria
  • Respect for employee rights
  • Clearly defined work tasks and responsibilities
  • Opportunity to take initiative at work
  • Fair criteria in defining salaries


  • Friendly atmosphere at work
  • Good communication between colleagues
  • Good relations between colleagues
  • Support provided by colleagues
  • Absence of conflict between employees
  • Competent and reliable colleagues
  • Absence of tension and pressure on employees
  • Help and support from managers in performing work tasks


  • Challenging and interesting job
  • Dynamic job
  • Stimulating job with few routine tasks
  • Opportunities for travelling abroad on business
  • Job content, activities within the work
  • Opportunity to take initiative at work
  • Opportunities for professional development and training


  • Company in a field of business important to society
  • Company’s public image and reputation
  • High degree of discipline
  • Informing employees on general state of affairs in the company
  • Informing employees on the news in different parts of the company
  • Opportunities to get different benefits


  • Highly competent managers
  • Managers who respect employees and are open to their suggestions
  • Good organizational skills of the manager
  • Availability of the manager to his/her subordinates
  • Help and support from the managers in performing work tasks


  • Compensation system in which the employees’ salaries depend on their level of expertise
  • Compensation system that does not discriminate according to the part of the organization in which the employee works
  • Compensation system in which salaries depend solely on achieved results
  • Salary equal to invested effort
  • Fair criteria in defining salaries


  • Compensation system in which salaries depend solely on achieved results
  • Fair criteria for determining salaries
  • Compensation system in which salaries depend on level of expertise
  • Salary equal to invested effort
  • Compensation system that does not discriminate according to the part of the organization in which the employee works
  • Amount of salary
  • Promotion based on clear and known criteria
  • Opportunities for professional growth and training
  • Objective evaluation of individual performance
  • Quality introductory training
  • Appreciation and acknowledgement by the managers of a job well done
  • Clear work organization with precise division of work tasks
  • Good cooperation between different organizational units


  • A company that employees can rely on if they get into trouble
  • Opportunities to get different benefits
  • Company cares about its employees
  • Employees kept informed about the general state of affairs in the company
  • Company in a field of business important to society
  • Company’s public image and reputation
  • Respecting employees’ rights defined in the Collective Labour Contract
  • Informing employees on the news in different parts of the company
  • Job that does not require overtime work


  • Safe working conditions
  • Physical working conditions
  • Availability of the necessary work assets and equipment
  • Availability of information necessary for performing quality work

Employee’s Personal attributes and Employee Satisfaction

While the organisational culture clearly impacts employee satisfaction, employee satisfaction has yet another determinant. Brown and Peterson, during their research in 1993, found that in addition to culture as an organisational variable, the other antecedent of satisfaction is the employees’ personal characteristics and their role perceptions.

It was 13 years later, in 2006 Markus Christen, Ganesh Iyer and David Soberman created their model for job satisfaction. This is one of the most referred and benchmarked organisational research studies in the topic of employee satisfaction. This model aimed to clarify ambiguities that surrounded the concepts of work relationships and to unify all independent studies relating to this.

This job satisfaction model spoke of how the work relationship concepts are correlated to each other. It proved the following correlations between Job performance, Job satisfaction, (individual’s) efforts, (individual’s) ability, Company productivity, Job factors, Role perception and Compensation:

  1. The effect of job performance on the employee’s job satisfaction is positive and highly significant.
  2. Job performances increase with increase in efforts and/ or increase in ability of the employee
  3. Company Productivity increases with job performance
  4. Effort is negatively correlated with job satisfaction
  5. Compensation is directly and significantly correlated to job satisfaction
  6. Positive job factors positively affect Effort and Job satisfaction
  7. Positive role perceptions positively affect Effort and Job satisfaction

Measuring Employee Satisfaction

As discussed above, there are two parties to the experience of an employee in an organisation - the organisation and the employee. Thus, while measuring employee satisfaction you need to consider factors related to the organisational and as well as the employee.

An effective questionnaire should be able to measure the organisational commitment, which is a result of organisational culture. It should also gauge the organisational culture from the perception of the employee. In addition to both of these, it should also be equipped on how to measure employee satisfaction, which is a result of the personal experience of the employee at the organisation.

Organisational Commitment

Organisational commitment is defined as the connection the employee experiences with the organisation. This concept helps define the impact of the organisational culture on the employee.

Natalie J. Allen and John P. Meyer, in their 1990 study on Organisational Commitment, brought out a questionnaire that allows measuring organisational commitment. The reason this study has had exceptional impact was because it was first of its kind that derived determinants of organisational commitment by studying employee attitudes, not behaviours. Since attitude is a predecessor of organisational behaviour, this survey aims to detect employment anomalies earlier in the process. This categorises commitment into three groups.

  1. Affective commitment

An employee is described to be affectively committed to their organisation if they intend to continue working because they are satisfied with their job. These employees should typically identify with the organisational goals, perceive that they have good fit to the organisation and are generally satisfied with their job.

  1. Continuance commitment

An employee is described to be continually committed to their organisation if the reason why they intend to continue working because they internally lack confidence to do otherwise – that they might only get a worse option of work from another organisation. These employees may become intermittently dissatisfied with their work and yet, are unwilling to leave the organisation.

  1. Normative commitment

An employee is described to be normatively committed to their organisation if the reason why they intend to continue working is because they are guilty of doing otherwise – that their leaving will have disastrous consequences to the company.  They generally feel a sense of guilt about the possibility of leaving.

The following are the actual scale questions that were used during the Allen and Meyer research and are widely used as a base to organisational commitment surveys:

  1. Affective Commitment Scale Items
  • I would be very happy to spend the rest of my career in this organization
  • I really feel as if this organization’s problems are my own.
  • I do not feel like ‘part of my family’ at this organization. (Reverse)
  • I do not feel ‘emotionally attached’ to this organization. (Reverse)
  • This organization has a great deal of personal meaning for me
  • I do not feel a strong sense of belonging to this organization. (Reverse)
  1. Continuance Commitment Scale Items
  • It would be very hard for me to leave my job at this organization right now even if I wanted to
  • Too much of my life would be disrupted if I leave my organization
  • Right now, staying with my job at this organization is a matter of necessity as much as desire
  • I believe I have too few options to consider leaving this organization
  • One of the few negative consequences of leaving my job at this organization would be the scarcity of available alternative elsewhere
  • One of the major reasons I continue to work for this organization is that leaving would require considerable personal sacrifice
  1. Normative Commitment Scale Items
  • I do not feel any obligation to remain with my organization.
  • Even if it were to my advantage, I do not feel it would be right to leave.
  • I would feel guilty if I left this organization now
  • This organization deserves my loyalty
  • I would not leave my organization right now because of my sense of obligation to it
  • I owe a great deal to this organization

Organisational Culture

The organisational commitment survey measures the employee attitudes towards the organisation, but does not help finding gaps in the current organisational culture. Clear indicators of the improvement areas are vital during the process of streamlining the organisational culture towards creating the ‘requisite organisation’.

An organisational researcher, Van der Post, created the Organisational Culture Questionnaire in 1997 intending to solve this problem. He and his team studied vast number of dimensions of organizational culture and 15 concepts of culture emerged out of statistical synthesis. A questionnaire was developed using these concepts and is even to the present day, used to measure organisational culture.

The following are the 15 aspects of the organisational culture that affects the employee satisfaction:

  • Conflict resolution
  • Culture management
  • Customer orientation
  • Disposition toward change
  • Employee participation
  • Goal clarity
  • Human resources orientation
  • Identification with organisation
  • Locus of authority
  • Management style
  • Organisation focus
  • Organisation integration
  • Performance orientation
  • Reward orientation
  • Task structure

Job Satisfaction

The Job satisfaction concept represents the motivation, contention, and satisfaction of an employee with their job role. P E. Spector, in 1985 studied staff satisfaction and developed a Job Satisfaction Survey. There are several follow up studies that intends to test the validity, reliability and sensitivity of this survey and they prove its wide applicability across regions, demographics and organisations. These follow-up studies, in general, only suggest two considerations to the survey, while applying this to an organisation – the local relevance and context. Local relevance relate to the existing norms in the particular geographic region – social, political or cultural. Context relates to considering the sector and the kind of organisation – whether public or private, health or technology, etc. Thus, during application, it needs to be customised as per the specific organisation to get the best results.

This Job Satisfaction Survey (predominantly used as an acronym JSS) is a nine facet scale to assess employee attitudes about the job and the different aspects of the job. These nine facets are Pay, Promotion, Supervision, Fringe Benefits, Contingent Rewards (performance-based rewards), Operating Procedures (required rules and procedures), Co-workers, Nature of Work, and Communication.

Following is the standard JSS questionnaire that allows respondents to answer on a scale of ‘agree very much’ to ‘disagree very much’ to each of the following listed opinions.

  • I feel I am being paid a fair amount for the work I do.
  • There is really too little chance for promotion on my job.
  • My supervisor is quite competent in doing his/her job.
  • I am not satisfied with the benefits I receive.
  • When I do a good job, I receive the recognition that I should receive.
  • Many of our rules and procedures make doing a good job difficult.
  • I like the people I work with.
  • I sometimes feel my job is meaningless.
  • Communications seem good within this organization.
  • Raises are too few and far between.
  • Those who do well on the job stand a fair chance of being promoted.
  • My supervisor is unfair to me.
  • The benefits we receive are as good as most other organizations offer.
  • I do not feel that the work I do is appreciated.
  • My efforts to do a good job are seldom blocked by red tape.
  • I find I have to work harder at my job because of the incompetence of the people I work with.
  • I like doing the things I do at work.
  • The goals of this organization are not clear to me.
  • I feel unappreciated by the organization when I think about what they pay me.
  • People get ahead as fast here as they do in other places.
  • My supervisor shows too little interest in the feelings of subordinates.
  • The benefits package we have is equitable.
  • There are few rewards for those who work here.
  • I have too much to do at work.
  • I enjoy my co-workers.
  • I often feel that I do not know what is going on with the organization.
  • I feel a sense of pride in doing my job.
  • I feel satisfied with my chances for salary increases.
  • There are benefits we do not have which we should have.
  • I like my supervisor.
  • I have too much paperwork.
  • I don't feel my efforts are rewarded the way they should be.
  • I am satisfied with my chances for promotion.
  • There is too much bickering and fighting at work.
  • My job is enjoyable.
  • Work assignments are not fully explained.


Employee satisfaction surveys are well prevalent in modern organisations, but its design process needs to be scientific and thoroughly understood before implementation. Following are the ideal steps to follow while selecting and implementing an employee satisfaction software:

  1. Identify the existing organisational culture and its features (Use Ivana Petrowick’s framework, for example)
  2. Select employee satisfaction tools that measure the Organisational culture (Use the Van der Post questionnaire, for example) and also, select employee satisfaction tools that measure Job satisfaction (JSS, for example)
  3. Customise both the surveys as per the existing Organisation culture and features. (Result of Step 1)
  4. Customise both the surveys to include the regional and contextual aspects of the organisation.
  5. Determine the Survey methodology.
  6. Conduct the survey.
  7. Tabulate the results for absolute employee satisfaction scores.
  8. Use the employee satisfaction scores/ tabulated results as a capture of the current state of Employee Satisfaction in the company.
  9. Work on the Gaps with respect to the Organisational Culture envisioned vs. actual
  10. Re-conduct the survey to track improvements.

Employee Satisfaction Software

An employee satisfaction software or an employee engagement software like Empuls helps organizations to seamlessly connect, collaborate, reward, and engage with their employees. With a software like Empuls in place, organizations can easily collect and share feedback from time-to-time from their employees, recognize employee achievements, and promote a positive work culture. The platform also empowers organizations with actionable insights from the employee feedback received.

An employee satisfaction software like Empuls also helps organizations to understand employee sentiment, uncover hidden disengagement factors through pulse surveys, and lifecycle surveys with a curated list of questions designed to accurately evaluate employee (and organizational) health or wellness.