Employers all over the world are feeling the toll of the shortage of skilled professionals. To keep their workforces happy, satisfied, and retained, companies are going all in on the idea of an employee engagement survey.
Employee engagement, in case you’re unaware, is the extent to which an employee feels appreciated, satisfied, and emotionally invested towards their job.
To measure where they stand in terms of this engagement, many companies conduct organization-wide surveys from time to time.
If your old employees keep quitting and you find yourself scrambling through your onboarding checklist more often than you’d like, it might be time that you started to conduct these surveys.
However, it’s important to ask the right survey questions, as conducting even a single survey can be quite expensive.
For that reason, in this article, we’ll list the 15 best questions to include in your employee engagement survey. This will help you uncover crucial insight regarding job satisfaction levels, management/leadership, and the company culture.
You can also use them as a template for your own survey.
Let’s get started.
An employee engagement survey is a critical management tool that provides a clear picture of where the company stands in terms of engaging its employees.
The survey involves a series of questions (or a single question, if you’re conducting pulse surveys) about different aspects of engagement.
It mostly includes questions about:
By using the survey results, employers can uncover underlying problems, take the steps to overcome them, and ultimately, improve engagement levels.
If you’re about to conduct an employee survey for the first time, or would like to improve your existing survey, there are certain questions that you must include.
We’ve categorized them into questions about company culture, management, and job satisfaction.
Let’s take a look at what they are, along with why we included them:
Company culture plays a critical role in deciding the extent to which your employees are engaged.
In fact, 88% of employees believe that having a distinct workplace culture was crucial for the success of any business.
In light of that, you should most definitely include a few questions about company culture to measure how it’s doing.
Here are a few ideas:
Let’s start off with the basics.
This is one of the best open-ended questions that you can ask your employees about your culture.
While the question may sound simple, there’s a lot that an employee can say here.
Having every employee provide their own unique definition of the culture can reveal some interesting insights.
For starters, it can help you determine whether or not your own perception of the company culture aligns with what your employees think.
Furthermore, it can help reveal both surface-level and deep-rooted problems within the culture that could jeopardize the company in the long-run.
All of this, in turn, can enable you to take the necessary steps to fix those problems and capitalize on any room for improvements.
Do your employees know about your core values?
After all, they are the cornerstone of your company’s culture.
Without strong core values to rally like-minded individuals around, a company won’t survive for long, or at least, won’t be able to scale.
To cultivate a positive workplace culture, you first need to clearly communicate and promote the core values you believe in.
Surprisingly, at times, it is found upon investigation that employees in many companies aren’t even aware of what their core values are.
In fact, a survey by Officevibe revealed that 19% of employees either do not have a clear understanding of the company’s core values or simply didn’t know them.
Naturally, employees not being passionate about your company values can have negative consequences.
To keep them engaged and preserve the culture, make sure that they are, at the very least, clearly informed about the values your organization believes in.
Mutual respect among fellow colleagues is critical for boosting productivity and cultivating a positive work environment.
When employees are bullied or intimidated by their coworkers, their performance is affected.
Ultimately, this leads to disengagement, which has been known to cost US companies more than $400 billion per year (Gallup, 2018).
Keeping that in mind, you shouldn’t hesitate in asking your employees whether or not they’re being treated with respect by their team members.
If you’re collecting employee feedback anonymously, they can be more upfront about their answers.
Another important question to ask your employees about their fellow colleagues is whether or not they appreciate working together.
In some toxic workplace cultures, teamwork is frowned upon, whereas working in silos on an individual-level is the norm.
In such cultures, due to a lack of communication and teamwork, people are able to accomplish far less than what they could if only they’d work together.
If you’re not achieving your company goals, it might be because of a lack of teamwork among your employees.
Ask your employees about their opinion on teamwork, and the attitude of their colleagues towards coordination.
If employees aren’t playing well together – try to get to the bottom of the situation.
Last, but not least, you need to ask your employees if the company itself follows the core values or not.
To elaborate, it means asking whether the leaders, i.e. the actual decision-makers, act in accordance to the core values.
For example, if one of the values is teamwork, and the leadership itself isn’t doing much to foster a culture of coordination among teams – that’s a red flag.
Asking your employees can reveal the areas where the leadership needs improvement (in terms of living up to the culture).
Besides culture, you need to include employee survey questions about the management/leadership.
After all, it is the supervisors, middle-managers, and the C-level executives/decision-makers that play a major role in building the overall engagement in the company.
That being said, here are some relevant questions about the leadership that you should include in your employee engagement survey:
Employees who feel overly-intimidated by their supervisors tend to perform worse than others.
As a result, they end up feeling disengaged, and eventually, leave their companies.
To ensure that your employees are enjoying comfortable relationships with their managers – based on consistent feedback, honesty, loyalty, and respect – it wouldn’t hurt to ask them directly.
If you feel that a significant number of your employees have negative sentiments towards a specific manager, it may be time to have a little chat.
Go one step further and ask them about their management style. If it doesn’t align with the company culture, request the manager to change their ways and offer your guidance and assistance wherever necessary.
Feedback is fuel for professional growth and one of the main drivers of employee engagement.
When provided at just the right rate, in the right tone, and at the right time, it can work wonders for your employees.
All great leaders know exactly when and how to provide feedback.
Considering that, while measuring employee engagement, do include a question about transparent feedback in your survey.
In case the employees aren’t getting any, talk to the supervisors about it.
Discuss the challenges with them and offer solutions on how they can go about offering timely feedback.
The freedom to do your job however you want, with little or no strings attached, is another one of the many major drivers of engagement.
When managers trust their employees to do the job well, it boosts their performance.
Micromanagement and a lack of creative freedom can kill productivity and make work less meaningful.
In light of that, ask the employees about how their supervisors fare in terms of providing creative freedom.
Obviously, this isn’t applicable to certain jobs that require following a set of standard operating procedures.
Regardless, you should keep an eye out for managers who don’t let employees utilize their true creative potential and explore new avenues.
Research by Socialcast revealed that about 69% of employees would work harder if they were better appreciated for their efforts.
A simple pat on the back can go a long way in ensuring that your employees continue performing well.
If the employees feel that their supervisors don’t appreciate them for their hard work, take the necessary steps to change things around.
Finally, ask your employees how they feel about their supervisors in general.
You may ask an open-ended question or go for the Likert scale.
Either way, to get the most honest feedback about the managers, it would be best to gather the responses anonymously.
Finally, ask your employees questions about their job satisfaction levels.
Are you doing everything you can to improve the employee experience? Do your employees find their jobs meaningful? If given the chance, would they switch in a heartbeat?
These are just some of the important questions that need answering.
Let’s take a look at the 5 critical engagement questions that can uncover some interesting things about the levels of engagement:
Start by asking this 5-point scale question about job satisfaction.
Encourage your employees to answer truthfully and assure them that their responses will never be used against them (if it makes them feel any better, gather the responses anonymously).
While this question may not reveal the specific underlying problems, it can help paint a clearer picture of the overall job satisfaction levels.
Employees find their work “meaningful” when they can understand and see the impact they make or the roles they play in helping the company achieve its objectives.
When employees find their work meaningful, engagement levels shoot up.
To make sure that your employees understand the individual roles they play in keeping the business afloat, include a relevant question in your employee engagement survey.
Ask them if they find their jobs meaningful, and if they don’t, have one-on-one feedback sessions to offer your counseling and discuss their problems.
Be upfront – ask your employees about what they would change about their jobs.
It could be the physical space, a tool, some meaningless policy, or even a supervisor.
As always, encourage them to speak the truth, since it can help the decision-makers improve the employee experience.
In a highly competitive environment, you need to offer attractive perks and benefits, on top of the basic pay packages, to your employees.
Only then can you hope to retain your best talent, so go ahead and ask your employees whether they feel that they’re being well-compensated for their efforts.
Last, but not least, ask your employees if they would change jobs for a slightly higher pay package.
If your employees wouldn’t switch for a heftier paycheck, it means that compensation isn’t a problem.
(BONUS) How would you describe your work-life balance?
In addition to all of the above, throw in a question about work-life balance in your employee engagement survey.
You have to make sure that the workload and your policies aren’t resulting in employee burnout.
Every industry experiences evolution on some level, however, few industries experience such change and growth as Human Resources does. As world events, global pandemics, and social revolution sweep over our nation, Human Resources is at the forefront of social change. This rapidity in evolution has prompted many new questions, processes, and policies that leave many companies struggling with policy as they try to pivot and change direction as quickly as society demands it. HR departments across the nation are leading the charge to guide their companies and all the employees under their protective umbrella in this new and ever-changing landscape.
The COVID global pandemic that exploded onto the scene in 2020 changed the landscape of life, especially as it related to business. Suddenly, a plethora of offices were unable to open, businesses were classified as essential and non-essential, and a legion of employees began working from home. When the dust had settled many businesses were left facing the prospect that remote work was here to stay. For one reason, employees didn’t want to return to work in an office, working from home had more benefits, such as not sitting in traffic, which made employees question if a return to the office was a good idea. Businesses also had to ask themselves if the cost of an office was worth the bang they got from being in one when everyone had been functioning for so long without being together. These and many questions surrounding remote work began to rise. That lent itself to an entirely new section in HR Handbooks across industries as HR departments navigated the uncharted waters of employees working from home. Some questions that HR departments may find beneficial when discussing remote work with employees include the following:
Have you worked remotely before?
What were some of the benefits and some of the challenges you faced?
Why do you feel that working remotely is beneficial for you and your team?
How will you and your team communicate?
How technically capable are you and do you feel comfortable handling IT issues remotely?
How will you stay focused on important tasks and deadlines?
These, and many other questions, will need to be addressed with employees, both those currently working for the company and those that are in the hiring process, before a remote work policy may be added to the HR Handbook and put into effect.
One of the most important aspects of the job with which Human Resources is tasked is the health and safety of the employees, and thereby the company as a whole. The HR department must ensure that the company invests and engages in a culture of proactive health and safety in order to prevent, as much as possible, injury, illness, and other issues. With the onset of COVID throughout the world, health and safety took on a whole new look and HR departments were again given the task of leading the charge when it came to policy change. Some of the questions HR departments are now faced with asking employees as they relate to health and safety include:
HR Departments across the nation must honestly evaluate their health and safety practices in order to protect the employees, and the company, to the utmost of their ability.
In the midst of global unrest, pandemics, and political instability more and more people are experiencing mental health issues. HR Departments have been scrambling as they begin to try to create a policy that is nurturing and mindful of the mental health challenges many people face while honoring the needs of the company. Some of the questions HR departments are currently grappling with asking employees include the following:
The topic of mental health is more important now than ever before. HR departments are going to be responsible for protecting both the employees and the company as they pioneer policies that are beneficial to both.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) topics are other growing topics for which HR departments are at the forefront of addressing and creating company policies for handling. DEI topics for HR departments to ask employees include things such as the following:
HR Departments will have to create policies that will create a structure that identifies DEI topics, educates employees regarding the aforementioned topics, and helps to identify and implement solutions that are positive and respectful for everyone.
Never before has the role of Human Resources been so important. HR Departments across the nation are educating employees, implementing peaceful practices, and creating a sense of well-being in the workplace that carries positively into the private lives of our nation’s citizens. An employee engagement survey is only as good as the change that it brings.
If you’re not acting on the employee feedback and taking the steps to turn things around, there’s no point in conducting surveys.
Remember – you can leverage a modern human resource tool, such as GoCo, to better manage your workforce. With GoCo’s employee survey workflows, HR managers can easily customize and trigger employee engagement questionnaires to streamline the company’s survey processes.