You understand the importance of feedback to your organization. That’s why you’re eager to develop an employee engagement survey.
You’re going to send out a few questions, ask employees to provide their honest answers, review the feedback, and turn that information into meaningful action plans.
Not so fast.
A great employee engagement survey relies on useful, meaningful questions. But it can be difficult to determine which questions to ask your employees. When people are unsure, they tend to turn to google to search for an employee engagement survey template.
In fact, a search for “employee engagement survey questions” returns over 110 million results!
But quantity doesn’t always mean quantity, so how do you know whether you’re distributing the right questions?
To help you out, we’ve assembled a list of questions that have a strong impact on employee engagement, as well as the typical benchmark scores for each of the questions on our list.
Since we've used our global benchmark to create this list, you have to keep in mind that the impact of each question depends on your organization.
Our software uses advanced statistics to link the impact of each question back to your organization’s engagement levels to help you act on the feedback that matters the most to your organization.
This helps you act on the feedback that matters the most to your organization.
If you're interested in learning how Sparkbay can help you measure employee engagement, you can click here for a demo.
Top employee engagement survey questions:
- I feel that I'm growing professionally.
- I’m happy working at this organization.
- If I were offered the same job at another organization, I would likely stay at this organization.
- I would recommend this organization to friends or peers as a great place to work.
- I feel personally driven to help this organization succeed.
- My job enables me to learn and develop new skills.
- I am excited about the company’s future.
- I have confidence in this organization's senior leadership team.
- Most days I feel a sense of accomplishment from what I do.
- My role is an excellent fit with my strengths.
- I am fairly rewarded (e.g. pay, promotion, training) for my contributions to this organization.
- I am satisfied with the recognition or praise I receive for my work.
I feel that I'm growing professionally.
This question helps you assess whether people feel like they’re evolving in their work or stagnating.
While some people may be comfortable doing the same work day in and day out with little change, most high performers want to feel like they’re getting better.
This is especially true in today’s job market where jobs are rapidly changing and employees have to keep upskilling to stay competitive.
Your employees may also want to develop in different ways.
Some organizations make the mistake of making professional development synonymous with becoming a manager.
Instead of doing this, you can create a dual-track career ladder like Google and Microsoft.
At each level of the career ladder, people in these roles hold equivalent pay, similar levels of influence and equivalent levels of expectations.
In that structure, a junior employee starts out as an entry-level contributor.
But as they gain skills and prove their effectiveness, they can move up the ladder of promotions, benefits, and influence without ever becoming a people manager.
This helps you retain high-quality talent, prepare them to serve as mentors, and benefit from their expertise.
All of this, without demanding that they get good at people-management skills, which may not fit with their talents.
Of course, if you have vacant manager positions — and an employee has the necessary leadership and people-management skills — don’t wait simply because the employee isn’t up for a promotion yet.
I’m happy working at this organization.
How happy are your employees?
Happiness is an important variable to measure. It’s not enough to simply pay your employees. It’s also important to ensure that, for the most part, they enjoy coming to work.
This is especially true in recent years. People are pushing back against horrible bosses and unsatisfactory working conditions.
In some cases, people are figuring out how to get by on less money or quitting their jobs altogether (this phenomenon is known as the “Great Resignation”).
As vacancy rates rise and companies fight the war for talent, it’s more important than ever to ensure employees are happy.
At the same time, happiness is a fleeting state. There’s no such thing as being happy every moment of every day.
This is why experts recommend that employees – and the people who hire them – aim for something different: meaning.
Research shows that people who focus on finding meaning in their work are more likely to feel a sense of well-being. They also tend to be more productive as well.
So if you find yourself ranking poorly when it comes to employee happiness, focus on what you can control which is giving employees a sense of meaning from their work.
You can make employees’ work feel more meaningful by:
- connecting every role back to a larger purpose
- sharing internal stories of employees who have made a difference, or
- finding ways to use technology to offload manual and repetitive tasks so employees can focus on the more strategic, creative, and meaningful parts of their job
If I were offered the same job at another organization, I would likely stay at this organization.
This question offers a quick apples-to-apples comparison.
If your employees were offered the same role for the same pay at another organization, and they’d be willing to take the job, it’s a sign that several things are amiss, namely your employer brand, your employee value proposition, and your employee satisfaction levels.
Firstly, your employer brand is the thing that differentiates you from other companies.
It’s the reason why someone might excitedly announce they’ve got a new role in the payroll department at Tesla or Apple, even though they’ve worked in payroll at a couple of other companies and never announced those new opportunities with the same excitement.
To start building your employer brand, determine what your values are and communicate them throughout the organization.
Team up with marketing to communicate these values with your company and with the larger talent market.
As more people learn what your company represents, your employees – and prospective employees – will be more proud to work for you, regardless of the role.
There’s also your employee value proposition. Your employee value proposition is something special you offer your employees beyond the bare minimum offered by the market.
That could be an above-market salary. Excellent health benefits.
This could also include a stipend for additional learning and training. Free bus passes. The ability to bring pets into the office. The list goes on.
The best companies choose perks that actually matter to their employees. So instead of offering a pool table, they hear their employees when they say they want a free gym membership and offer that instead.
Finally, employee satisfaction determines whether people want to take the exact same role for the exact same pay at another company.
If your employees feel mistreated, unappreciated, and undervalued, they will leave at the earliest opportunity.
I would recommend this organization to friends or peers as a great place to work.
While you might rely on market data or your personal interests to choose a career, whether one company is good or bad can be quite subjective.
So it’s helpful to ask people who’ve actually worked at that company, particularly your friends, family, or trusted members of your network who straddle that friend/expert line.
This means that it’s important for companies to ensure they have a strong employer brand and high employee loyalty which leads to people who are willing to recommend them.
If you obtain a low score on this question, it’s a sign that you have a compromised employer brand and low employee loyalty.
Reviewing the answers to other employee engagement questions, understanding that feedback, and implementing it can help you improve employee loyalty.
I feel personally driven to help this organization succeed.
It’s 2 pm. A member of your customer service team is on the phone with a subscriber. They’re having an issue with their account.
The employee has a feeling the issue is caused by a misunderstanding between the billing team and the operations team, but it would take a little bit of investigating.
They could try to liaise with both teams and sort things out through a couple of quick phone calls…or they could just send an email with the customer’s complaint.
The first approach would take a bit of extra effort but it would solve the problem more thoroughly and help the customer.
The second approach would pass the buck on to the billing team who would then take several business days to get to the problem, figure out the issue, and get back to the customer.
The first approach is extra effort that they don’t have to take, and they’re starting to get a bit of mid-afternoon drowsiness, so they’re simply hitting “Forward” on the customer’s complaint.
No longer their problem. Time to get a coffee.
If employees don’t think a company cares about them, they won’t put in extra effort to help it succeed.
And there’s not much an organization can do to regulate this.
It’s easy to measure whether people complete a certain number of tasks. It’s harder to measure whether people use their critical thinking and creativity to solve problems and make customers happy.
If you obtain a low score on this question, it’s a sign that your employees just consider this another paycheque – a purely transactional arrangement where they do exactly what they’ve been asked to do and nothing more.
My job enables me to learn and develop new skills.
Do your employees want to develop their skills?
As far as problems go, this is a good one to have.
Identify areas of the business that could benefit from specific projects or ideas. For instance, one of your team members may have always wanted to tackle a new project, but never had the time to scope it out, and make it happen.
If you identify a thirst for challenging projects on your team, assign them.
You can also ask your employees what skills they’d like to develop. Would they like to have workshops? Online sessions? A stipend that allows them to take control of their own learning and development? This feedback can help you design better employee experiences and professional development programs that actually satisfy your employees.
I am excited about the company’s future.
Do people come to work to process one invoice after another, or do they show up to maintain excellent relationships with the vendors who make it possible for your company to operate?
Are people coming in to work to annoy potential customers, or do they come to work to share the exciting products and services your organization offers to as many people as possible?
The way employees see their job depends a lot on how excited they are about the company’s vision.
So what is a company vision? Your vision is what role you want your organization to play in the world’s future.
It’s not just about what your company does on a day-to-day basis to make money (which is its mission).
Your company’s day-to-day mission may be to provide an online payment gateway but your vision may be to eliminate the barrier to entry for people to start a business, enrich themselves, and support their communities no matter where they are in the world.
Getting a low score on this question? It’s time to clarify what your company is all about and share that with your employees.
I have confidence in this organization's senior leadership team.
Trust is the foundation of a productive, long-lasting relationship. This is as true for personal relationships as it is for professional ones.
Unfortunately, 1 in 3 people say they don’t trust their employer.
This isn’t good news. When people don’t trust their senior managers, they’re more likely to leave.
More turnover equals more recruitment costs that didn’t need to be incurred. And if the trust issue is never resolved, the cycle just repeats itself.
This lack of trust is also a threat to a company’s innovation and creativity.
When employees trust their company’s leadership, they are 23% more likely to share their ideas and creative solutions. And top leaders are not unaware of this.
Over half of surveyed CEOs say that a lack of trust is hindering their organization’s growth.
So how do you increase trust in your organization if you obtained a low score on this question?
You start by recognizing that it’s a long-term process, not something that improves overnight.
A few things you can do over the long term is show appreciation to your employees, ask for feedback and then implement it, and ensure consistency in your communications and actions.
Most days I feel a sense of accomplishment from what I do.
Do your employees feel a sense of accomplishment from their work?
Even highly motivated employees can feel a lack of accomplishment within their job if they are set up to fail or aren’t given the conditions with which to make the most of their talent.
One common way employees are set up to fail is not being given clear instructions or expectations.
They have no North Star to work towards, making it difficult to determine whether they’ve accomplished their goals.
Another reason is a lack of metrics. Without key performance indicators or a specific goal, it’s difficult for employees to keep tabs on whether they’re on track or whether they’re working on something meaningful.
Without clear metrics or KPIs, an employee can put all of their efforts into something that has no meaningful impact on the organization.
It’s also important to reward accomplishments. If a goal’s been set and all the metrics have been hit, place a juicy reward at the end or at least call out that employee’s efforts, so they can celebrate their good work.
My role is an excellent fit with my strengths.
Want your employees to be satisfied?
Help them find roles, within your organization, that are a good fit for them.
Over time, your employees develop a comprehensive knowledge of your customers and business processes.
If they get bored, their satisfaction decreases, and they’re more likely to take a role elsewhere which depletes the organization of its experienced employees.
A more effective approach is to try and place employees in the roles where they’re best suited. A few ways to make this happen are to:
- Coach your managers on how to spot their employees’ talents so they can nominate them for different opportunities
- Assign employees to special projects to give them a chance to try different roles and develop different skill sets
- Increase internal promotion of job vacancies and encourage employees to apply for roles on other teams
I am fairly rewarded (e.g. pay, promotion, training) for my contributions to this organization.
Are your employees fairly compensated? If they aren’t, they can find out pretty easily by checking online or taking interviews with other companies.
In fact, switching jobs is becoming the most effective way to get a raise.
Instead of waiting around for a 2% raise a year, employees are going out to market and getting higher-paying roles for the same work (or a promotion) from other companies.
How can you ensure your employees don’t leave?
Regularly conduct salary benchmarking exercises to ensure you’re compensating your employees fairly.
If you can afford it, consider paying your employees more.
If additional compensation is not an option, consider other ways you can reward them.
A few examples include signing them up for exclusive training programs paid for by the company, letting them take the lead on certain projects, or giving them exposure to other projects by bringing them along to higher-level meetings.
I am satisfied with the recognition or praise I receive for my work.
Creating a culture of recognition helps develop a positive company culture and foster better employee engagement and satisfaction.
Even the best managers can’t be present for every moment an employee overperforms. Encourage your team members to recognize their peers for their efforts.
This way, instances of cooperation and collaboration – crucial for high-performing organizations – don’t go overlooked in favor of flashier accomplishments.
Why do an employee engagement survey?
As the saying goes "What gets measured gets managed."
When managers are evaluated on their ability to close deals or deploy products, they take steps to improve their skills whether it’s by booking more client meetings or upskilling their team.
The same logic applies to engagement. When managers know engagement metrics impact their promotions, raises, and bonuses, they’ll be more inclined to understand what activities boost overall engagement, such as:
- Improving communication with employees
- Scheduling one-on-one to help employees overcome obstacles
- Recognizing employees for a job well done
- Creating professional development plans with employees
What questions should you ask in an employee engagement survey?
Your engagement survey questions should be simple, clear, and not leave room for interpretation. Having different respondents understand the question differently will impact the quality of your data.
Closed questions can be accompanied by open-ended questions to provide qualitative context to quantitative answers. Specific open-ended ended questions (eg: "How can your manager provide better feedback") are much more valuable than a simple "add a comment" box, as it helps you collect constructive feedback.
Each question should focus on a single objective, which should line up with your organization's engagement objectives. By measuring the metrics that matter to your organization you can make survey results much more useful.
Ideally, you should ask the same questions over time, so you can evaluate progress on specific metrics.
How often should you conduct employee engagement surveys?
Many companies perform annual surveys, often in connection with performance reviews. This is a good start, but measuring employee engagement once a year or once every two years isn’t enough. You need to understand changes in employee engagement from one period to the next.
Think about it this way.
You wouldn’t measure your sales metrics once a year. You wouldn’t even measure them twice a year. You measure them per sales period or per financial quarter. The same logic should be applied to measuring employee engagement.
What to do with the engagement survey results
We wrote a complete guide on what to do with engagement survey results. Here are the key takeaways:
First, you need to demonstrate to your employees that you're listening. A simple way to do that is to share the survey results with your organization.
Then you need to choose what to focus on, which can be hard. This is why Sparkbay automatically highlights improvement opportunities based on the question's score, impact on engagement, and comparison with previous results.
Finally, ask your managers to create an action plan that focuses on one or two areas of improvement within their teams.
Schedule meetings to follow up. This ensures managers stay accountable and that employee engagement isn’t put on the backburner.
Remember, there’s nothing worse you can do than asking your employees for their opinion and not doing anything with their feedback.
Start enhancing your employee engagement efforts today
How much each of these questions relate to your engagement levels depends on your particular organization. Sparkbay’s engagement software can help you determine what matters and by how much.
Ready to start enhancing and fine-tuning your employee engagement efforts? Get in touch today.
If you're interested in learning how Sparkbay can help you survey your employees, you can click here for a demo.