You can’t just sit down for a one-on-one meeting and ask an employee if they are engaged or having fun at work. Most won’t give you a direct answer. To avoid uncomfortable social situations, chances are they will tell you whatever they need to in order to leave your office as quickly as possible.
The easiest way to find out the current status of your team and your employees is by using pulse surveys to ask them directly.
Not only do pulse surveys enable your employees to share their thoughts anonymously, they are also designed to provide instant feedback you can leverage to drive real-time changes.
And the best part? You don’t need to administer them the old-fashioned way where you have to use a Google Form or an Excel spreadsheet to write, collect, record, and analyze responses and results. With pulse surveys, everything is done digitally and electronically so you can quickly get feedback, analyze the results, and act on the data.
Pulse surveys are important because they reveal how employees are feeling at any particular moment. This enables leadership to make better decisions to improve the company’s culture and help the team achieve their goals.
But you don’t have to only ask serious questions. You can ask some lighthearted icebreaker questions that reel the employees in and increase their engagement. According to our research, a mix of serious questions and a couple of fun questions increases response rates because employees end up looking forward to the surveys each week.
Pulse surveys are also great for team-building and team-bonding purposes. To this end, they improve employee happiness all the while keeping the number one driver for workplace satisfaction—peer-to-peer relationships—in a good place.
In this vein, we’ve come up with a list of fun questions you can splice into your regular employee surveys to make it easy for you to pick and ask them at the right time.
Fun survey questions that increase employee engagement
It’s not enough to just have a working relationship with your employees. To get to the next level, you need to build a more human one with emotional connections.
According to a Google study, the best teams out there have developed strong bonds with one another. They do this by getting to know each other and understanding who the actual person behind the role of a team member is.
And you don’t get to that by just asking serious questions in pulse surveys. You get it by inserting some lighthearted and fun questions that show more of a team member’s personality.
Not only does this build trust and increase team’s cohesion, you also get a couple of surprises and laughs—which only strengthen the team’s bond.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the lighter questions you might want to include in your next pulse survey.
Questions about High School
Fun questions that explore the team members’ past are a great way to understand where each person comes from. These questions are fun, and they can also help you uncover some hidden gems that you didn’t know existed.
For example, maybe someone used to be a math champion or the captain of a football team, which means they might have good leadership potential. Maybe someone else started working at an early age, showing grit that can be useful for the team.
With that in mind, we created the following questions to explore high school experiences. And even if you don’t want to go with these exact questions, you can use them as inspiration to create your own.1. What one song will you always know every word to?
2. Which club were you involved with in high school?
3. What’s your favorite quote?
4. Who was your worst teacher in school and why?
5. Who was your best teacher in school and why?
6. What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?
7. What did you wish to become when you grew up?
8. What extracurricular activities were you involved in your high school?
9. What’s the first thing you did after graduation?
Questions about Hobbies
A person brings their entire self to their workplace. So, understanding who the team member is in their spare time can provide a lot of great information.
You can then use this information to adjust a team member's job description or team role. You can also use it to give them a task that you know only they can do. With that in mind, we created these questions. Feel free to add some of your own, too.10. What is one thing that you are really good at?
11. What is your go-to karaoke song?
12. What is the most interesting topic you’ve done a project on?
13. How does a perfect weekend look like for you?
14. What’s a great book you read recently?
15. What’s your favorite movie genre?
16. What fictional character do you wish you could meet?
17. What TV/Netflix/sitcom catchphrases do you enjoy using the most?
18. What game are you really good at?
19. What’s your biggest time waster?
20. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Questions about Traveling
Traveling is one of those things that expands a person’s perspective and outlook on life. And it has great effects in the workplace where you approach a problem from a completely different perspective and mindset.
So, figuring out who has this kind of approach can be valuable for a team that has to stay solution-oriented. We created the following questions about hobbies, and we suggest you to try adding up some of your own.
21. What is the best place you ever visited?
22. What country would you travel to if you could go anywhere?
23. What does a perfect vacation look like for you?
24. What’s the one place that you visited and thought would be great but left feeling disappointed?
25. What’s the one place that you visited and though it would be disappointing but left feeling great?
26. What country would you like to visit but never live in?
27. Imagine winning a trip around the world. Five years, all expenses paid, but you can only visit five countries. Where would you go?
28. What another country besides your current one would you like to live in?
29. What’s the one thing you can’t travel without?
30. If you can hop on a plane within an hour, where would you go?
Questions about the Future
Thinking about future scenarios shows the person’s outlook toward life— positive, negative, or neutral. And the outlook can help you see how the person thinks about the team, about the company, and about future situations that will happen.
Asking just a handful of these questions will bring a lot of insights. But you can also add up some of your own to get even more information.31. What actor/actress would you want to play you if they ever made a movie about your life?
32. You discover a beautiful island where you decide to build a new society. What is the first rule you put in place?
33. What five things would you take with you during the zombie apocalypse and why?
34. If you had your own country, what would you call it?
35. If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
36. If you could time travel, where would you go?
37. Which movie sequel do you wish you could erase from history?
38. If your life was a movie, what three songs would be on the soundtrack?
39. If you had to live in another country, where would it be?
40. If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be?
41. If you could marry a fictional character, who would it be?
42. If you could be an animal, which one would you be?
43. If you could read minds, whose would you want to read?
44. Which fictional family would you choose to be a part of?
45. What would you say to yourself if you travel back to 20 years ago?
46. If you can see into the future (100+ years from now), what do you want to know the most?
Miscellaneous Icebreaker Questions
Icebreakers serve to start the conversation around different topics and explore the unfamiliar areas that the team members are interested in.
You might not know what you will get out of this area, but the answers you receive will be interesting and character-revealing. These are just a couple of questions that can help you get the conversation started, but feel free to add some of your own, too.
47. If you could have one song play every time you entered a room what would it be and why?
48. What is something about yourself you could totally brag about but usually don’t?
49. If life were a video game, what two cheat codes would you want?
50. What is your favorite book or movie character?
51. What was the best present you ever received?
52. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
53. What’s a small thing someone did that really encouraged you?
54. Who is the wisest person you know?
55. What’s your best childhood memory?
56. What’s your favorite Wikipedia article?
57. What’s your favorite conspiracy theory?
58. What keeps you awake at night?
59. What do you feel most grateful for?
60. What’s your favorite season and why?
How to Increase Employee Engagement
When you collect the data and receive insights from employee surveys, you’re only half-way there. Now, you need to use it.
Find a way to share the responses with your team so that everyone gets to know each other better. That will create a better bond within the team and with that, stronger team cohesion. The better the team gets along, the easier it will be for them to respond to adversity. At the same time, teams that work well together are also much more productive, so creating strong bonds among employees should always be a top priority.
One example from Mindvalley comes to mind when discussing sharing fun and engaging activities. The company has a wall in their office in Malaysia where they would put up responses from employee surveys.
These were fun responses—like what do you want to learn how to cook, what kind of a challenge would you like to take head-on, and what place would you like to visit.
And an interesting thing happened. People looked at the wall and found out that there were other team members and employees in the companies that were focused on the same challenges or had similar goals in mind.
Employees started to talk to each other more and the wall encouraged a lot of new conversations about a lot of new topics. For example, four people wanted to climb Mount Everest, and they decided to go on an expedition together and climb the mountain because they found each other through that wall. What’s more, a couple of others wanted to do Ironman challenges and run marathons, so they decided to train together and support one another.
The impact these connections had on the company’s culture and team cohesion was enormous. Because your colleague from the next cubicle isn’t just your colleague anymore—it’s the person whom you climbed Mount Everest with. That kind of bond propels the team forward and creates successful teams.
So don’t just take the survey results and store them somewhere. Use the data and insights you collect to create a better team atmosphere that creates a more enjoyable workplace for everyone involved. With the right approach, it’s the easiest and most fun way to increase employee engagement. See for yourself