15 Essential Survey Questions To Measure Employee Engagement

By: on January 8, 2020

Over the past few weeks, we’ve given you the tips, tools, and metrics you need in order to start measuring employee engagement levels and refreshing your engagement initiatives.

The time has come for you to create your own employee engagement survey—but where do you start? What are the best questions to ask?

To get you started, we’ll let you in on our top three tips for creating an employee engagement survey, and we’ll also break down 15 employee engagement survey questions across five themes, based on Gartner’s “Measuring Employee Engagement: Past, Present, Future” (full content available to Gartner clients).

Finally, we’ll explore a range of example survey questions based on each theme.

How to create an employee engagement survey

Know the “why” behind your survey. This is our main recommendation to keep in mind when designing your employee engagement survey questions. Because you can’t measure everything at once, you need to identify your business challenges and align your questions with them. For example, if you’ve seen a dip in productivity, create a survey that will draw out the reasons behind this.

Ask employees to answer a blend of open-ended, closed-ended, and scaled-response questions. Make sure that you assess which questions are better answered with a simple “yes” or “no,” which require more qualitative detail, and which need a choice of scaled responses such as “strongly agree,” “somewhat disagree,” etc.

Design the questions so that they make sense to every respondent. All employees should be able to interpret the questions in the same way, no matter their department or their role. Survey questions should generally be “high-level” rather than department- or team-specific.

Below, we go through five employee engagement survey themes, with recommendations for which themes suit which organizations.

Note: It’s good practice to run a “general” survey covering all or most of the themes below at least once per year, then dig deeper into specific results using employee pulse surveys.

Survey theme 1: Workplace and resources

This theme hones in on employee confidence regarding what is required of them to perform well in their role, whether the training they’ve had supports their ability to be successful, whether they have access to the right tools, and whether they make a valuable contribution to their team.

Example survey questions:

  • “Do you feel like you know what is expected of you with regard to your job responsibilities?”
  • “Do you have access to the tools and resources that you need to do your job well?”
  • “What challenges are currently in the way of you achieving success at work?”

Recommended for: All organizations. Every organization should frequently be checking that their employees have all they need to perform their roles well.

Survey theme 2: Relationship with manager

An employee’s relationship with their manager is one of the biggest factors affecting employee engagement levels. In fact, over 90% of employees say that their relationship with their manager is an important factor in remaining at their current company.

chart showing the percentage of peeople who say their relationship with their manager is an important factor keeping them at their company

This isn’t only about how well an employee and manager get along on a personal level. It’s about how well the employee feels that their manager supports them and their personal development, understands the day-to-day challenges they face, and clearly communicates goals and feedback.

Example survey questions:

  • “Do you agree with the following statement: ‘My manager shows an interest in my career aspirations and professional development’?”
  • “How does your manager recognize your work within the company?”
  • “Do you feel that your manager effectively communicates your goals with you?”

Recommended for: All organizations, but especially those that have not experienced a huge amount of change in middle management over the past year or few years. Making sure that employees are still connected to and supported by their managers is vital to company success.

Survey theme 3: Company leadership

Business strategies or objectives that employees don’t understand or support are all but useless. If employees don’t believe that senior leadership is capable of achieving their goals or they don’t share the same vision, disengagement may soon follow.

Survey questions surrounding this topic can help clarify whether employees are simply unclear on business objectives, whether they flat-out disagree with them, or whether they don’t believe the goals to be reasonable or realistic.

Remember, your high-level goals will directly affect the tasks they have on their plate day-to-day, so employees are more invested in this side of the business than you might think.

Example survey questions:

  • “How can the company more clearly express their goals and objectives?”
  • “Do you understand how your role contributes towards the company’s objectives?”
  • “Do you agree with the following statement: ‘I believe that the business goals that the senior leadership team has communicated to us are achievable’?”

Recommended for: Organizations that have recently had a change in senior leadership, company ownership, or have gone through an acquisition, and are concerned about their employees knowing how they fit into the overall picture.

Survey theme 4: Professional learning and development

These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find a job post that doesn’t list “incredible opportunities for professional development.” When you promise to invest in your employees’ careers, you have to follow through. However, though over 80% of employees want lifelong learning, 40% say that their employers don’t provide or pay for any upskilling.

This theme helps you discover whether your employee development strategy is in good health. Employees need to know that their manager (and their managers!) are committed to supporting employee development and encouraging potential career paths and aspirations.

Example survey questions:

  • “Do you feel that you have adequate access to learning and development opportunities?”
  • “Are you clear on what career path is available to you?”
  • “How could the company invest more wisely in its learning offerings?”

Recommended for: All organizations, but especially those that have an age-diverse workforce. Career paths will need to vary according to each individual, rather than sticking to a “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Survey theme 5: Job fulfilment

Job satisfaction is intrinsically linked to employee engagement. Generally speaking, people seek out meaning from their jobs, as well as adequate financial rewards and benefits for fulfilling their role requirements.

This is probably the vaguest of the survey themes, but this theme focuses on the extent to which employees feel that they find meaning in their jobs and that their workplace is a fulfilling environment to work in.

Example survey questions:

  • “What motivates you to come to work every day?”
  • “What personally drives you to go above and beyond in your role?”
  • “Are you actively searching for other employment? If yes, what is the main reason for this?”

Recommended for: Organizations that recently went through a merger and are focused on employee retention.

Next steps in creating an employee engagement survey

How many questions and what themes you focus on is up to you—this will depend on how many employees you have, what industry you work in, and how often you are currently running employee pulse surveys.

It’s a good idea to meet with other leaders in your organization to align on the themes you want to focus on, and then agree on which employee engagement survey tool you’ll use.

That said, most organizations would benefit from running a wide-ranging employee engagement survey once a year to be able to compare responses over time and track whether employee engagement initiatives are effective. Specific departments within an organization can then be encouraged to run their own theme-based surveys as needed to gather feedback on a given challenge or initiative.

If you need a hand with selecting the right tool for your business, schedule a time for a personalized software consultation, or start a quick chat with our expert advisors now.

You may also like:

Why Employee Engagement Is So Important to Retaining Your Team

3 Ways to Improve Employee Engagement Within Your Organization

3 Most Important Employee Engagement Metrics You Should Be Measuring

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