RATER Model For Employee Satisfaction

RATER model for employee satisfaction

Happiness, experiences and satisfaction are intangibles. They are perception driven. And perception varies. From one person to another. From one group to another. But, we still need to measure perception. Measurement creates benchmarks. Measurement creates standards. But how do you measure satisfaction? We could borrow from the RATER model developed for measuring customer expectations.

In this blog post, let’s introduce you to the RATER model and it’s usage in increasing employee happiness and satisfaction.

The RATER model was developed by Valarie ZeithamlA. Parasuraman and Leonard Berry when they first mentioned the RATER model in their book ‘Delivering Quality Service’ from 1990. This is a convenient way to measure customer expectations. Companies use the model to improve services offered to customers.

Now employees are customers too. Happy employees = Happy customers.

So a little spin on the RATER model and it can be just as useful to measure and improve employee satisfaction.

What is the RATER Model?

It’s an acronym and emphasizes 5 areas that customers deem important.

  • R – reliability (do you deliver on the promises made?)
  • A – assurance (can you make the customers believe in your promises?)
  • T – tangibles (physical attributes; quantify benefits)
  • E – empathy (let them know you care)
  • R – responsiveness (be prompt with your responses and resolution)

Let’s understand these from an employees’ perspective.

How to use the RATER model to improve employee satisfaction?


Do what you say you will do, reliably and consistently.

Timeliness, consistency, regularity and accuracy.

What would your employees say if asked “Does the management keep the promises they make?

This applies to schedules announced for performance appraisals, salary increments, job promotions. This applies to promises made for team outings, fun activities, leave applications, movie vouchers.

You promise something. You deliver on that.

And, you need to be consistent. Example, dinner party for exceeding sales quota in quarters 1 and 2 cannot be followed by no rewards for exceeding sales quota in quarter 3. Another, exam leave approved for one executive but denied to another is not acceptable.

Remember – timeliness, consistency, regularity and accuracy. Do what you say will do. Keep promises you make.


Are employees confident of the knowledge, expertise and courtesy of their managers?

When resolutions cannot be immediate, people need an assurance. Like, “Can I expect a promotion if I exceed my sales quota for the next two quarters?

Here, the employee is seeking a promise and assurance. Can the manager of HR assure her? Do they sound convincing enough? Do they have the authority to make a promise?

Another example – do employees feel their manager can solve problems and challenges at work? Do managers have the required job knowledge and expertise to guide employees and solve problems?

Invest in your managers – leadership, communication and job skills.


Make sure your facilities, equipment, communication materials look attractive and user friendly”.

This includes your office space, desks, chairs, coffee machine, laptops, software etc. Employees should take pride in the place they come to work for. Hygiene, functional equipment, zero downtime are basic requirements.

Tangibles also mean quantify service guarantees and benefits. Example – all employee expense claims processed in 24 hours. Complaints and tickets to be resolved in 2 days.


Treat employees as an individual in a caring and empathetic way and understand their needs.

Look beyond job roles and connect with the individual. Are managers and HR giving employees individual attention?

How is the relationship between employees and their managers? When an employees reaches out with a concern, the manager’s response has to be empathetic. The employee wants to be heard and acknowledged.

Show them you understand. Make them believe you care.


Be flexible and willing to help employees. Resolve problems and complaints promptly and effectively.

Delayed response and resolutions are equivalent to delayed justice. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Urgency of a request or complaint has to be evaluated and understood from the employee’s perspective. Urgency cannot be evaluated based on company policies.

My vacation plan with my friends can be more urgent than your vacation plan with your family.

Your need for a financial grant for a certification course can be more urgent than my need for an executive MBA.

So be responsiveness. Be prompt. Be fair.

That’s the RATER Model for you.

Reliability. Assurance. Tangibles. Empath. Responsiveness.

The model helps give a practical explanation and a form to what we all know as key ingredients to manage customer or employee expectations.

However, we all need models, guidelines and trackers to drive initiatives and responsibilities at work.

Have suggestions? Or questions? Let me know. And, do subscribe to receive email notifications for all new posts. Thank You!

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By Nitesh Verma

Founder - Business Management Blog. I am an independent business strategy consultant, helping companies take data driven business decisions. My mission is to find and implement simple solutions for complex business problems.

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