Here are five examples to get you started.
1. Pick a friend or colleague from another company whom you would not recommend to work here. Explain why.
It might sound negative, but this question can actually give you a lot of positive information by gathering your employees’ opinions of your organizational culture. The friend or colleague they pick could be someone they like and get along with, but that doesn’t mean that person would necessarily fit in at your company. It can be very revealing to learn the type of personality that your workers think is incompatible with your organization.
2. What’s one thing you would do if you and your boss switched positions?
Surveys often ask employees what they think about their supervisors, but this question comes at the topic from a different direction. When you suggest a role reversal like this, you can get to the heart of what workers really want out of their leaders. Would they rearrange the team? the delegation of tasks? the feedback process? Given the power, some people might even say that they’d fire their manager, which would indicate a real problem.
Of course, you could also get tongue-in-cheek answers about playing pranks on their boss. But hey, a little levity is also good for employee engagement.
3. Which Disney movie best represents our company values, and why?
Speaking of levity, this question could definitely get silly. But wouldn’t it be interesting to find out if your employees think you’re Aladdin, a scrappy underdog who proves that character is more important than prestige? Or maybe you’re The Little Mermaid, a fearless and curious explorer of new worlds.
4. If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you quit your job?
If your employees just see their job as a source of a paycheck, then they would probably say yes. But if they say no, that means they get something else out of it that money can’t buy. Find out what it is about this work that engages them, and you’ll find out what the true value of your company is.
5. If you could go back in time and visit yourself on your first day on the job, what would you tell yourself?
The answers to this question could go in any direction. Maybe your employees will reveal the pain points in your orientation and onboarding process. Maybe they’ll talk about something about the job or the organization that’s confusing or challenging. Leave the door open and see where they choose to go.
Don’t be afraid of going in an unconventional direction with your employee engagement survey. Unexpected questions can capture more interest than the same old survey, letting you more pull out more candid or in-depth answers from your employees.