Great Leadership

Employee Engagement Survey: Best Questions to Ask & Why

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Simon Deignan2021-11-04
An employee engagement survey can be the optimal way to gather employee feedback on how they view their role and place in your company. Do they feel valued, are they highly motivated by what they do, and do they feel connected to the company?

Why should you send out an employee engagement survey?

Every company and employer should strive to foster a high level of engagement. Employees who feel valued as people and as working professionals will be more productive and more dedicated. Those considered disengaged are more likely to coast through the day and not strive to produce top quality work. 

The benefits of having a highly engaged workforce is tenfold; from lower absenteeism, to better retention rates. It’s important to know where you are excelling in and if there are red flags that need to be addressed. 

What makes a great employee engagement survey?

Nevermind a good one, let’s aim for a great survey. This can help you uncover what actions you need to take and what processes you need to implement. A key thing to remember is that you don’t simply want answers, you want insights!

Structure is key and great questions are paramount. Combine both together and respondents will give honest, poignant, and insightful answers that you can act upon. The more pertinent the questions, the more astute the answers, and the more actionable the insights.

So, let us look at how you should structure your survey and how to get the most out of it with high quality questions. 

Survey structure 

Remember: This survey is about employee engagement, not about benefits and not about job satisfaction. As SHRM notes, ‘employee engagement relates to the level of an employee's commitment and connection to an organization’. So bear this in mind when constructing your survey. 

Different sections

Breaking your survey down into sections (as we have done below) can help you group questions together and make sure you don’t unnecessarily repeat yourself. Conversely, it will also help the respondents focus on the topic at hand. Jumping from questions about leadership to another about day to day motivation can be jarring and upset the flow of responses. 

Don’t go overboard

Also, keep it concise. If you are struggling to cut down the number of questions, remember that you should be running this type of survey regularly - opinion differs on how often - and you can just use those extra questions further down the line.

Open ended questions

Affording people the chance to answer in a more detailed and descriptive way can give added meaning to their responses. Pre-typed responses are useful but adding in an open ended question to the end of a section asking for additional feedback will allow employees the chance to speak their mind and go more in depth. 

Top survey questions

Content is king and a survey is nothing without great questions. How you phrase your questions, the response options you provide, and the explanations you may need to prepare, will go a long way to drawing out the best insights. 

Before we look at some of the best questions to ask, let’s first look at some pitfalls to avoid:

  • Vagueness and ambiguity: We need to be crystal clear so everyone understands what is being asked of them. 
  • Leading questions: We don’t want to put words in people's mouths. We want to hear what they have to say, not what we want to hear. 
  • Questions that will elicit one word answers: These will provide little to no actionable insights. 
  • Long winded questions: May your questions be short and succinct while the answers be long and detailed. 

So with all of that in mind, let’s look at some question areas you should explore and some example questions you can pose.

Note - All sample questions are used with the ‘Strongly disagree - Strongly agree’ scale type question. You can of course modify them to ‘Rate the following statements from 1-10’ etc. 

1. Career development questions

Are there growth opportunities in your company, is there a clear progression path, or are people feeling stagnated? Career development is the main thing people value in their job and employer. We feel far more invested in our work if we are continually learning and growing.

Do employees see training opportunities, a clear progression path, and think the company is doing enough to aid their career development. 

Sample questions: 

  • There are adequate training opportunities here. 
  • I understand our company’s career progression structure.
  • I believe the company is dedicated to helping me grow my career.
  • I see a future for myself here at this company.

2. Work and role related questions

This is where you can get into the nitty gritty of how people view their day to day work and where they fit into the company’s overall structure and plan. We all wish to be valued as workers and this part of your survey can help determine if everyone around you feels like they contribute to the process or if they feel lost in the shuffle. 

Finding value in the day to day and in the contributions made to one's team, department, and organization play a vital role in whether someone is engaged or not. Remember we aren’t looking to find out if employees like their jobs, we want to find out if they are engaged.

Sample questions: 

  • I feel challenged on a day to day basis.
  • I understand how my work contributes to my team’s success.
  • I feel excited about the work I do.
  • I am motivated to work to my best abilities. 

3. Leadership related questions

Good leadership can go a long way to the success or failure of a company. For many, management can make them feel more invested in our work, or switch off. This is why it is vital to ask how your employees view leadership and how situations can be improved and adjusted. 

Dealing with your superiors on a day to day basis is undoubtedly going to affect how engaged you are in your work. Leadership that can inspire others to do great work and see the value of what they do, so it’s only right it fits into this survey.

Sample questions: 

  • Management and employees trust one another.
  • I receive constructive feedback from management.
  • I feel that I gain adequate recognition for the contributions I make.
  • I believe that I am being put in a position to succeed. 

Values and culture related questions

One of the main things that job seekers look for in a prospective company is company culture and core values. So it only makes sense that we also gauge the opinion of those who have made it past the interview process and sit in those lovely office chairs. 

Much like good leadership, company culture can make an organization a great place to work or somewhere to avoid. More and more companies around the world have a far more advanced understanding and appreciation of culture and what it can do for the workforce. Being part of a team that is rowing in the same direction, towards a clear common goal is something that can improve engagement. 

Sample questions: 

  • I feel a part of a strong community here at work. 
  • There is a safe space to share ideas and collaborate with others.
  • I believe my team works well towards a common goal.
  • There is buy-in from every team member.

What to do with the results

So what do you do with these lovely insights you have gathered? Leave them and hope problems sort themselves out? Go through them and identify trends, common themes and action points? Yeah that’s right - it’s the latter. 

This is an invaluable data source that can help you improve your team and organization’s ways of working, employee experience, and countless other metrics. Gathering good data is only the first step; sitting down and coming up with a plan to make use of said data is the second step. 

Gather the right people together - your HR team, people and culture professionals, as well as senior management, to discuss the findings and come up with concrete plans to improve upon your organization’s weaknesses and consolidate its strengths.

A free Employee Engagement template

Mentimeter is just as useful as a survey tool as it is for live polling. The main benefit of using Mentimeter in this way is that you don’t have to go trawling through responses in excel docs, while you slowly fall asleep while repeatedly hitting copy and paste. Now extra hassle, no extra stress. Let your respondents fill in the survey and let Mentimeter do the rest. 

Employee Engagement Survey

Employee Engagement Survey

Results can be hidden so that there is no added influence to vote with a collective mindset. Most importantly of course, votes are anonymous. This means that everyone can rest assured knowing their answers will remain confidential. Confidentiality will mean more honest and thoughtful answers.

What is more, you have the option to use a wide variety of different slide types to survey employees. You are no longer limited to Scale slides, you can get creative and use Word Clouds and Rankings, or 100 Points slides. 

To help you get started we have already designed an employee engagement survey template. Feel free to download now and get started right away or hit Preview to learn more. Happy surveying! 

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