Employee engagement survey questions that get to the point

Conducting employee engagement surveys can help you check the pulse of your workforce. Employee engagement directly correlates to key workforce concerns such as employee retention and productivity. Many employers choose to conduct these surveys at the end of the year, so that they can use this data to make any necessary strategy adjustments as they head into a fresh year.

That means that it’s almost time to send out a survey to your staff members. If you’re struggling to come up with the right questions to ask, keep reading for a list of popular employee engagement questions along with guidance on how to utilize them best.

The importance of conducting employee surveys

An employee engagement survey, also sometimes called an employee satisfaction survey, is a questionnaire designed to measure employee engagement within an organization. Employee engagement surveys are one of your first lines of defense against turnover. They allow you to catch issues that may be causing employees to become disengaged before they cause employees to quit.

Employee disengagement can lead to a number of issues beyond turnover as well. Some common issues that can occur when employees become disengaged are:

  • Lowered productivity. Disengaged employees tend to be less productive. These employees often feel stressed and unmotivated in relation to their job, resulting in lower output.

  • Decreased morale. When one employee becomes severely disengaged, it can have an impact on the overall work environment. Disengaged employees may display a lack of enthusiasm or speak negatively about the company to their peers, which can impact the employee experience and morale in the workplace.

  • Sloppy work: Employees that are disengaged may gradually start to produce lower quality work. They may be unfocused or cut corners, with can result in poor work.

  • Increased turnover: Employees that are disengaged are at a high risk of turnover. If changes are not made or new career development opportunities do not open up.

Employee engagement survey question format

There are a variety of different formatting options that you can choose from for your employee engagement survey questions and responses. The most common employee engagement survey question format is to provide a statement and then have the employee rate how much they agree or disagree with it on a 5-point likert scale. This format is easy to analyze from a data perspective. Multiple choice questions are also a popular survey format.

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Including open-ended questions can also help you solicit more valuable and in-depth insights from your employees. However, open-ended questions do require a larger time commitment from both the respondents and the human resources staff that will be processing and analyzing the survey responses. Open-ended questions also make it harder to review changes in engagement levels year-to-year. Often organizations repeat the initial survey to benchmark the new data against the metrics obtained from the first employee survey.

As such, it usually makes sense to choose some form of multiple choice or agree/disagree question format for the majority of the survey. Then, you can end the survey with about five open-choice questions to dive into your topic concerns in more detail. This allows you to solicit some longer-form feedback without making the survey so long and time-consuming that employees either rush through it or end up not participating.

Employee engagement survey questions for measuring employee satisfaction

This first set of questions is designed to help you measure how satisfied employees are with their jobs. Employee satisfaction has a strong correlation to employee retention, so be sure to take action if a large portion of employees indicate that they do not agree with the following statements.

I feel that the work that I do is meaningful

Individual contributors can often feel disconnected from the larger purpose of benefit of their work. If a significant percentage of employees report that they do not feel that what they do is meaningful, it’s a good idea to dedicate more time during staff meetings to showcasing the positive impacts of their work. Highlight a positive customer or client story each meeting to show that their work impacts real people. If your business engages in any forms of philanthropy or sustainability efforts, be sure to highlight those regularly too.

My job allows me to grow and develop new skills

Employees tend to feel more engaged when their roles offer them the opportunity to learn new things and expand their skill set. If the majority of your staff members disagree with this statement, it is time to implement some additional employee training and development programs.

A common way to help employees explore their professional interests and develop new skills is to use a learning management system with online courses or provide access to tools like Coursera or LinkedIn Learning. Cross-training across different roles and departments is also a great way to help employees expand their skill sets. Cross-training also comes in handy during the summer and the holiday season when employees are taking a lot of time off. If employees are already trained in each other’s tasks, covering urgent tasks while someone is away will be much easier.

I am satisfied with the benefits package offered by the company

Understanding how your employees feel about their benefits overall is helpful. If employees perceive your benefits package as weak or dissatisfying, they may be swayed by competitors with stronger benefits offerings.

I feel that I am paid fairly for my work

If employees feel underpaid, it is hard to hold on to them. At the end of ear year, you should add a question like this about compensation to your survey in addition to performing annual salary benchmarking so that you can adjust your compensation strategy as needed.

Employee engagement survey questions about managers and leadership

Asking questions about employees’ relationships with their managers is imperative. As the saying goes “employees don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses”. Manager-employee relationships have a major impact on employee engagement and turnover.

My manager provides me with the tools and support that I need to do my job

You want to make sure that your front-line managers are making their employees feel supported. This question can help you identify where you need to coach these managers and also if you need to offer a training refresher on the resources and tools that they can offer employees.

One frustrating thing that can happen in larger organizations is that employees may have very different experiences depending on their managers. Certain team leaders may encourage their employees to fully take advantage of any company-wide tools like online professional development classes, corporate wellness benefits, request processes for special software or work tools, and other support options.

Meanwhile, other team leads either aren’t properly educated on the available options or don’t adequately educate their staff. This leads to large groups of employees feeling undersupported by their managers and the company even though higher-ups may believe that they’re providing all of the tools that employees need to feel supported and do their jobs well.

My manager frequently recognizes my efforts

Providing proper recognition to your employees is important. If employees do not feel like their work is being adequately recognized, or even worse if management is only providing negative feedback and overlooking an employee’s positive contributions, they will likely become disengaged and not feel motivated to work as hard.

I believe that my manager cares about my professional growth

Management is about more than just overseeing team members’ work. Great managers are also coaches and mentors that help employees grow their skills to progress along their desired career paths.

I feel comfortable sharing ideas with my manager and team

Employees can be a great source of ideas and innovation for your company. However, many employees chose not to speak up when they have an idea or identify a way to improve company processes because they feel that their manager will not be receptive. This is discouraging for the employee, and means that the company may be missing out on great feedback or ideas.

Employee engagement survey questions regarding remote work preferences

If your company is still weighing its return to office options or has recently implemented new remote work policies, the employee engagement survey is a great opportunity to check in on how your employees are feeling about these policies.

I am satisfied with the company’s remote work policy

This question can help you solicit employee feedback on your current remote work policy.

The 2021 State of Remote Work report by Owl Labs found that 56% percent of employees would quit or look for a new job if they were not allowed to continue working remotely. Therefore, it’s important to keep an eye on your employees’ preferences and feedback.

I feel that I can focus and get my work done in the office

If you are currently requiring employees to work from the office or partially from the office, or if you plan to require that in 2023, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are creating a work environment where employees can be productive. Many employees find the office distracting, particularly if your company uses an open office format.

How often would you like to work from the office

If you are doing a multiple-choice or open-ended format, you can simply ask them how often they’d like to come into the office. If you are presenting the question in multiple choice give options like once a week, 2 days per week, 3 days per week, and never.

Asking for feedback doesn’t mean that you need to overhaul your remote work policy completely, but it can tell you whether there is a compelling reason to. 87% of workers indicated that they would like to work from home at least one day per week on Prudential’s Pulse of the American Worker survey. Making a small compromise such as allowing one day of remote work can help improve employee satisfaction without fully disrupting the office routine.

Employee engagement survey questions for measuring how employees feel about the company

While having strong relationships with managers and team members is one of the biggest drivers of employee engagement, it is also important to know how employees feel about the company itself. You want your employees to feel that the company is a great place to work and ideally somewhere that they see themselves staying for a while.

I would recommend this company to a friend or family member

This question is a great way to gauge how employees view their employer. If they would recommend that employer to a friend that is looking for a job, they likely feel satisfied overall with the company. Employees can also be excellent brand advocates for your business. If your employees are happy and engaged, they can be a great source of job applicants and client referrals.

I feel optimistic about the future of this company

This question is important because it provides insight into whether employees feel secure in their roles with the company. The past several years have been a tumultuous time for many businesses, and right now Americans are becoming increasingly concerned about financial security as they prepare for a possible recession. Employees who are not optimistic about your company’s future and financial stability may look for a more secure option.

I see myself working for this company in one year

This question can be adjusted to longer periods of time if desired. Some companies also include multiple versions of the question to gauge whether the employee sees themselves staying with the company for one year, two years, or five years.

I believe that there are growth opportunities available for me at this company

Sometimes employees become disengaged because they feel like there is no room for them to grow or move up within the company. If employees believe that there are no opportunities for internal promotion or growth, they won’t be motivated to work hard to reach the next step. They are also likely going to start looking for growth opportunities elsewhere, putting your company at risk of losing its top talent.

I feel that the company’s values align with my own.

Employees today care more about the values and ethics of the companies that they work for. Your company’s mission and values should be an important part of the overall company culture, and you want your employees to feel connected with them.

Employee engagement survey questions for measuring employee well-being

I feel that the company cares about my well-being

Often employers and employees have different perspectives on work-life balance, burnout, and the company’s role in promoting employee happiness and well-being. Employers may feel that they are showing that they care by offering generous benefits packages and employee assistance programs but may be unaware of other issues such as employee burnout that may be impacting their staff. This question helps employers understand if there is more they need to be doing.

I have an adequate amount of time to get my assigned work done

If employees are being assigned more work than they can reasonably get done during their normal work hours, they are going to end up feeling overworked and burned out. If several employees feel that they do not have enough time to complete their work there are a variety of issues that you should consider such as understaffing, the need for time management training or tools, and the possibility that managers may not properly be communicating with employees about their workloads.

I often feel anxious at work

This question can give you insight into your employees’ well-being and how they feel at work. Employees may feel anxious at work due to unrealistic workloads, burnout, harassment, or simply a tense or stressful work culture.

I am able to take time off when I need it

This is a great question for all employers, though it is particularly important for those that offer unlimited PTO. Employers may offer generous PTO packages or even unlimited time off, but it doesn’t truly benefit the employees unless they are able to use it. If their requests are getting denied or there are managers or an overall work culture that discourages employees from using their time, the purpose of offering these benefits is lost.

Utilizing the survey results

Conducting an employee engagement survey is only the first step. Once the survey results are in, it’s time to dive into the feedback you’ve received and start creating a plan to address the top concerns. You can’t make everyone happy, but you can address the major trends and issues that you see in the survey responses.

According to the 2022 Achievers Engagement and Retention Report, only 18% of employees feel that their employers consistently act on feedback. It can be frustrating for employees when employers solicit feedback and then do not act on the feedback provided. If you do conduct an employee engagement survey, it’s important to show employees that you will be utilizing the data collected in a meaningful way.