Employee engagement surveys require forethought and intention. Before you write or edit any questions, or accept a vendor’s standard set, your team should discuss why you want to conduct the survey. What do you want to measure? What information do you want to obtain? Use your specific engagement objectives to inform your questions.
It’s helpful to review previous surveys and questions and the corresponding results. This prior data may encourage you to rewrite confusing questions and/or eliminate unnecessary ones.
In addition to reviewing prior questions and results, review prior actions taken. Before you deploy any survey, decide how (and who) will respond to the results. If no one will enact survey-driven changes, your survey takers will see their efforts as largely useless. And the lack of action will hurt employee engagement, not help it.
What questions should you ask in engagement surveys?
With your pre-survey work complete, it’s time to write a new employee engagement survey. Here are some of our favorite questions.
- How do you feel about work today? If you want to gauge how employees feel in the present moment, consider providing a spectrum of graphics from sad faces to happy faces, along with a comment box for additional details. This simple question can be compared year after year to produce longitudinal engagement data.
- One year from now, I see myself working at [company]. This question is a particularly relevant question during The Great Resignation or The Great Reset. And since it analyzes commitment, it’s a solid way to assess engagement. The results can help you anticipate future retention and attrition rates.
- Rate your level of belonging. This engagement question goes beyond the more common prompt, “I feel like I belong in this company.” By asking employees to rate their level of belonging on a scale of 1-5, you can get a better understanding of how different groups feel relative to each other.
- I have friends/a best friend at work. Friendships at work correlate with retention and employee satisfaction, so it’s important to be sure employees have formed friendships.
- At the start of another workday, I feel _______. If you want to avoid asking an open-ended question, you could complete the prompt with a phrase like, “I feel exhausted” or “I feel excited,” and provide a range of options to select from.
- I am supported in my role. If you want to ask a more specific question about support, include a prompt like, “My manager provides me with the support I need to complete my work.” Or “My mentor supports my professional development.”
- What’s your favorite thing about your job? It’s one thing to assume what engages your employees, it’s another to hear it directly from them. Consider including a qualitative question like this to uncover some of the top reasons employees enjoy their jobs.
When employees complete engagement surveys, they want to see the results and the corresponding changes. When you share the results, provide key takeaways and communicate how you will address some of their top concerns.
If you fail to communicate survey results and survey-driven changes, employees will justifiably feel like participating in surveys are a waste of time. And worse yet, they may become disengaged. Take time to write intentional engagement surveys, and use your results to truly help improve employee engagement.