November 15, 2023
March 1, 2024

Best Questions to Ask in an Employee Engagement Survey

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In the modern workplace, employee engagement and well-being are of paramount importance because when employees are engaged, they perform better, enjoy their work more, and go above and beyond what’s expected of them.

Engagement can be defined as the level of dedication and enthusiasm an employee feels toward their job. This may sound difficult to measure, but one of the best ways to keep track of your employees’ engagement levels is with an employee engagement survey.

Surveys are extremely effective when they’re made right. And this article is going to cover every type of question that should be included to make engagement surveys as easy and effective as possible.

What Makes a Good Survey Question?

The questions you design and ask need to be written in a relatable, inclusive, and easy-to-understand way. Every good engagement survey question has the same DNA:

  • Specific
  • Clear
  • Neutrally phrased
  • Relevant
  • Actionable

Ensuring your questions each meet these criteria will mean that you get accurate answers to each. 

Once you have the questions themselves down, consider organizing each question into different umbrellas that cover each aspect of employee engagement. Check out these umbrellas, along with example questions, below.

Overall Engagement Questions

Some questions are more general and are great ways to introduce the survey, including:

  • How satisfied are you with your job overall?
  • Do you know the company mission and values?
  • How motivated would you say you are on average?

Psychological Safety Questions

Employees need to feel safe at work, so these questions can check to see how comfortable everyone feels:

  • Do you feel comfortable expressing your ideas?
  • Do you feel like you can ask for help when you need it?
  • When you have feedback, do you feel like you can share it?

Team Dynamics Questions

Teams should be where employees feel safe, supported, and welcomed, so be sure to check how teams are functioning with these questions:

  • How would you rate communication on your team?
  • Do you trust your team members?
  • Do you have a sense of belonging in your team?

Management and Leadership Questions

Managers and leaders play a crucial role in employee engagement, so this is one of the most important sections of any engagement survey.

  • Do you feel supported by your manager?
  • Do you feel trusted by your manager, and do you trust them in return?
  • Does your manager set clear goals for your team?
  • Do you trust senior leadership decisions?

Growth and Development Questions

In order for employees to be engaged, they need to feel that they are moving forward in their careers. These questions are a great way to gauge employee professional development:

  • Would you say that you have opportunities for professional growth?
  • Do you have a vision of your career trajectory within the company?
  • Has your manager talked with you about career development recently?

Role and Responsibility Questions

Employees need to enjoy their work and feel empowered to do their best in order to be engaged—and these questions will help you get to the heart of the matter:

  • Do you feel trusted to do your work?
  • Would you agree that you have the autonomy you want/need?
  • Do you understand how the work you do contributes to company success?
  • Do you have the tools/resources you need to succeed?
  • Do you enjoy the work you do each day?

Employee Well-Being Questions

Just like with engagement, well-being is the catalyst that leads to everything else. When employees feel happy and healthy, they’ll perform better, and these questions can help measure that:

  • How would you rate your work-life balance?
  • Do you feel stressed or burned out?
  • Does your workload feel manageable?
  • Are you satisfied with the flexibility offered?

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Questions

Everyone deserves to feel welcome and supported at work, and these questions will ensure that these feelings flourish at your company:

  • In your opinion, is the company welcoming of diverse people and opinions?
  • Do you feel everyone has equal opportunities for input and success?
  • Do you feel that the company is inclusive?

Best Practices for Designing an Effective Engagement Survey

Knowing which questions to ask is only part of crafting an effective employee engagement survey. You also need to keep these best practices in mind throughout the entire process:

  • Cover a comprehensive range of topics. Don’t just ask questions directly about engagement. Ask questions about wellness, work-life balance, professional growth, and work relationships in addition to engagement-centric ones. This is because all of those things feed into engagement.
  • Make the survey anonymous. In order to get the most candid responses from your employees, make the survey anonymous. Build employee trust by actually making the survey anonymous.
  • Keep the survey concise. It’s best to keep surveys concise—they shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to complete at the longest, which means including 50 questions or fewer. If your surveys are longer than that, you’ll see participation sink.
  • Use a consistent rating scale. Make things simple on yourself and your employees by using the same scale for each question. For example, a Likert scale ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.”

Analyze and Act on Survey Results

In order to get the benefits from increased employee engagement that you’re aiming for, you have to analyze and act on the results you receive from your survey quickly and effectively. Otherwise, employees will wonder why they bothered with the survey in the first place.

Try to translate the results you received into actionable strategies. For example, if a lot of your employees said that they don’t feel connected to the company mission and values, find ways to communicate the mission and train everyone on how their work contributes.

Another great strategy is to regularly revisit and refine your survey—employees, opinions, and situations change, so keep your survey up to date. And use your survey at least once a year so that the company is continually getting feedback and improving.

Create Surveys That Actually Work

Employee engagement is an ever-moving target, especially as people move through their employee journeys. However, with a well-thought-out engagement survey, you can get accurate feedback about how your employees are feeling during any stage of their journey, which gives you a clear direction on where to put your efforts. This can make improving engagement easier and more effective for all.