Employee engagement surveys are suffering. No matter how many surveys you run, the results just aren’t revealing anything concrete about your company’s core issues. And it's probably because you're not asking the right questions.
To get the most out of your survey, you can't expect to ask any old question whenever you feel like it. To gain a continuous stream of helpful feedback, you need to ask the right employee engagement survey questions at the right frequency.
One of the easiest ways to increase engagement with an employee survey is by regularly soliciting feedback from your team. After all, a Salesforce study revealed that employees who feel that their voices are heard at work are 4.6 times more likely to give their best performance.
Asking direct questions helps you understand how your team is feeling at any given point in time. By using pulse surveys and asking employees quick questions at any time (while giving them the opportunity to respond anonymously), you can increase the chances the feedback you receive is honest, helpful, and productive.
With that in mind, we’ve come up with this ultimate guide to employee engagement surveys. Keep reading to learn more about the purpose of these surveys, how to conduct one, and 25 questions that you can ask your employees at regular intervals.
Let’s dive right in.
- What is the Purpose of an Employee Engagement Survey?
- How to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey
- Essential Questions to Include in Your Engagement Survey
What is the Purpose of an Employee Engagement Survey?
The main purpose of an employee engagement survey is to get deep insights into what drives engagement in your organization—and what could possibly be hindering it.
In a nutshell, companies have a good shot at keeping their employees satisfied and retained with the help of employee engagement surveys.
They do so by identifying and working on weaknesses, improving strengths, and figuring out how to improve employee engagement by capitalizing on opportunities.
To be more specific, with employee engagement surveys, you can:
- Give your employees a voice and the opportunity to share their concerns and suggestions (however, a surprising statistic reveals that only 20% of employees feel that their managers take action on survey results)
- Allow managers to monitor engagement levels and take action wherever necessary (about 80% of managers actively follow up on the issues raised by their employees)
- Boost engagement levels (organizations that don’t take surveys or act on feedback score only 27% on the employee engagement index)
- Get a sense of direction for improving your organization (in a recent survey, 57% of respondents cited “not giving clear directions” as one of the biggest communication issues that their leaders had)
With the basics out of the way, let’s discuss the step-by-step method for designing and conducting an employee engagement survey.
How to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey
If you’ve never conducted an employee survey before, simply follow these steps to get started:
1.Understand Where You Currently Stand
Before anything else, it’s important to get an idea of where you currently stand in terms of engagement.
You can do so by collecting employee feedback by asking a few simple questions, such as:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how engaged do you think you are?
- If you could, what’s the one thing that you would change about your job?
- Would you change your job for a higher pay?
Such questions might not provide you with concrete results right away, but it is a start.
By collecting preliminary data, you can determine the general sentiments of your employees, and work from there to set clear objectives.
2. Get Input from Senior Management
In addition to asking employees directly, talk to senior and departmental managers about the state of engagement.
Furthermore, involve them in the entire process to determine how to increase employee engagement.
3. Set a Goal
With a rough idea of where your company currently stands, work together with the managers to set clear objectives and spell out what you wish to accomplish by running the employee engagement survey.
Potential objectives include:
- Find out ways to increase employee engagement levels throughout the organization
- Determine ways to increase employee retention
- Improve two-way communication between employees and their manager(s)
- Determine how to transform toxic company culture
- Find out ways to improve the employee net promoter score (eNPS)
Depending on where you currently stand and what your biggest obstacles are, set a clearly defined goal or two for your survey.
4. Create a List of Essential Questions to Ask Each Time
Keeping your objectives in mind, create a list of both close-ended and open-ended questions to ask employees at regular intervals.
These could be about anything, ranging from the company culture to personal growth opportunities.
As mentioned earlier, don’t go around adding any old question. Instead, include the ones that can really help you get the data you need to achieve your goals.
5. Find a Way to Conduct the Survey and Share the Details
How do you plan to send out the employee engagement survey? Annual surveys are still popular. But more and more organizations are opting for “pulsing” instead.
In simple words, pulse surveys are quick and extremely short surveys consisting of single questions that can provide you with fresh and relevant data.
Listen to a people management leader sharing her thoughts on the benefits of breaking down the annual survey to weekly pulses:
It's true that anonymous employee surveys are an important tool for fighting disengagement and attrition. But to truly foster an engaging environment, you’ll need to act on this feedback by sharing it with your employees and working with them to find solutions. See for yourself how Chief of Staff at Microsoft has leveraged TINYpulse to inform leadership decisions along every step of the way:
"The fact that people are coming to us more frequently, asking us for involvement in TINYpulse, both the data and the system, tell us it's been successful."
- Diana Johnson, Chief of Staff and Leadership Coach at Microsoft Xbox
Book a FREE assessment to understand your current status on employee engagement and see how to increase employee satisfaction.
Essential Questions to Include in Your Employee Survey
We cannot stress enough on the importance of including the right company survey questions. They can not only help you gather constructive feedback but also help you stay on track and laser-focused on achieving your goals.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at 25 essential employee engagement survey questions that you should be asking (split into five different categories).
Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions
First and foremost, you need to start by asking questions related to satisfaction.
Asking employees about job satisfaction levels can say a lot about overall engagement.
Additionally, it can reveal some underlying problems that could be disengaging your team members.
Here are some questions to help you get started:
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how happy are you at work?
To get employee engagement right, you must start with this question and ask it regularly. It's undoubtedly the most direct of questions to ask employees regarding workplace satisfaction. Regularly finding out where your company’s morale falls on the 10-point scale allows you to track it over time. The key, however, is consistency.
2. Would you refer someone to work here?
The likelihood of an employee referring someone is a reflection on how satisfied that person is at their job. If they’re unhappy with their job, you can bet they don’t have much good to say to their friends about the company.
3. Do you have a clear understanding of your career or promotion path?
A poll by Gallup found that employees who get the opportunity to continuously develop are twice as likely to say they will spend their career with their company. Find out if your workers have a clear understanding of what lies ahead of them. If their answers are doubtful, you’ll need to start offering developmental opportunities to prevent people from quitting in rapid succession.
4. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your work-life balance?
Employees need to balance work and their personal life in order to remain productive and engaged. If employees are feeling lopsided, that’s a red flag that signals burnout is right around the corner.
5. Hypothetically, if you were to quit tomorrow, what would your reason be?
Bad communication, lack of transparency, feeling unvalued—these can all be uncovered by asking this question. Responses to this ultra-insightful engagement question will inform you if your employees feel like they’re there to stay—or if there are underlying issues that are driving them to look elsewhere for work.
6. Are you satisfied with the perks that you’re receiving?
Employee perks play an important role in determining overall job satisfaction levels. They also help in attracting new hires towards the company. Make sure you’re keeping up with your competitors by asking your employees if they’re satisfied with the benefits they’re receiving.
Employee Engagement Survey Questions About the Management Team
Moving on, you need to include some vital questions about leadership.
No one knows a manager better than their subordinates. And since the leadership plays a crucial role in engaging the workforce, you need to make sure that it’s playing that role properly.
To that end, we recommend asking the following questions:
7. Do you feel valued at work?
Our research has revealed that only 21% of employees feel strongly valued at work. Use this question to gauge how valued workers in your organization are feeling.
8. How frequently do you receive recognition from your manager?
Find out how the leadership team is doing when it comes to recognizing their employees. If the majority of workers have said they’ve gone more than two weeks without recognition, there’s a good chance morale is dropping. This can consequently lead to disengagement, loss of productivity, attrition, and of course, an overall drop in job performance.
9. The last time you accomplished a big project, did you receive any recognition?
Feeling valued at work is a huge motivator. This question will help uncover if leaders (or peers) have missed the mark when it comes to recognition. If employees don't feel their hard work is properly recognized, you can work together to find a solution to this problem.
Employee Survey Questions About Employee Retention
While it’s true that you can measure retention through other questions/variables, it’s best if you include a few questions that could help you predict it beforehand.
Here are some questions that can help you determine where each of your employees stand in the employee lifecycle:
10. Do you believe you'll be able to reach your full potential here?
Employees want to work at a place that will nurture their desire for growth. The more opportunities for growth your organization can offer, the longer employees will stick around.
11. If you were given the chance, would you reapply to your current job?
This is a tricky question. The happier an employee is at their current job, the more likely they would be to reapply to that very same position. Therefore, if an employee rates on the lower end of the spectrum, they’re most likely unhappy and won’t be at the job for long.
12. Do you foresee yourself working here one year from now?
A question like this is pretty self-explanatory. However, it can say a lot about your retention rate. If a majority of your employees are saying they don’t see themselves working there in one year, you need to make some changes.
13. Do you believe the leadership team takes your feedback seriously?
No one wants to work at a place that ignores their employees. When leaders don’t take feedback or suggestions seriously, it shows that they’re not committed to making improvements. And frankly, it makes employees feel undervalued.
Employee Engagement Survey Questions About Culture
A study conducted by Denison Consulting revealed that there was a significant correlation between strong company cultures and engagement levels.
The “health” of your company culture can play a significant role in determine overall engagement levels.
With that being said, be sure to include the following questions:
14. Do you feel like the management team here is transparent?
Our previous research found that transparency is the number one factor that contributes to workplace happiness. In our 2019 Employee Engagement Report, however, we found that only 22% of employees believed their management was very transparent—even though nearly twice as many managers considered themselves as such.
Find out how well your leaders are doing with providing information to their employees.
15. With your eyes closed, can you recite our organization's values?
Our previous research has also uncovered the fact that only 42% of employees know their organization’s vision, mission, and cultural values. A low number is unsettling since it reveals that employees are doing their work without any real understanding of how they’re contributing to the company—or that everyone isn’t working on the same page.
16. What three words would you use to describe our culture?
Fun, antagonistic, supportive—find out what your employees think about your culture. Use the results to find ways to strengthen and improve your culture to suit the needs of your employees.
17. On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable do you feel giving upwards feedback to your supervisor?
A workplace should never be a hostile environment—nor should it be suppressive. Employees should feel comfortable providing feedback to their supervisors so that they can continue to offer suggestions for improvements.
18. Do you feel like coworkers give each other respect here?
You want to build a culture where people respect one another—not one where heads clash. Dig under the surface to find out how employees truly feel about each other. If they’re not supporting one another, it’s time to start planning effective team-building activities.
19. Do you believe we authentically live by our organizational values?
Do your employees feel like the organization’s values are just meaningless words on the walls? Or maybe they believe that leaders aren’t living out those values.
Either way, an organization’s values are their guidelines for how to behave—as well as how to make decisions.
20. Does our executive team contribute to a positive work culture?
Are the top leaders in your organization fostering a positive work environment or a negative one? This survey question enables you to go behind the scenes and find out how well leaders are upholding the organization’s culture.
21. Do you have fun at work?
Employees spend so many hours at work. Find out if your employees think your organization’s culture is worth waking up for every day.
Employee Engagement Survey Questions About Personal Growth
Last, but not least, you need to ask your employees questions about their personal growth in the organization.
For that reason, you can include queries such as:
22. Which new responsibilities, if any, would you like to take on?
According to SHRM, only about 29% of employees are happy with the career advancement opportunities available to them. To ensure that your employees are getting ample growth opportunities, ask them if they’d like to take on any new responsibilities and, if so, which ones.
23. What type of new projects would you like to be involved in?
A survey by Korn Ferry revealed that 33% of respondents cited “boredom” as the main reason for quitting a job. Considering that, in addition to inquiring about the responsibilities, it doesn’t hurt to ask your employees specifically which projects they’d like to be involved in.
24. What new skills would you like to develop?
Are your employees getting ample opportunities to develop the skills they need to excel in their careers? Ask them about the new skills that they’d like to develop, and if they align with the broader business objectives—provide them with the resources to do so.
25. Do you receive ample learning opportunities at your current job?
Finally, you need to make sure that your employees are getting enough opportunities to grow professionally and achieve their personal career goals.
Got a Favorite Question?
The beauty of employee feedback surveys is that there are many ways to ask each question.
What unique or fun employee survey questions have you used before? Share them with us in the comments section below!
In the meantime, you can also learn more about how TINYpulse identifies trends in real time and provides direction for management to improve the overall employee experience.