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10 Sample Questions for an Employee Engagement Survey

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Building an employee survey isn’t something that should be quickly compiled with a few questions about pay and benefits using a free internet form tool. To gather the most honest, valid feedback that paints a clearer picture of their engagement within your company, you need expertly-sourced questions that will provide actionable insights for improvement.

In this quick guide, you’ll gain:

  • 10 sample employee engagement survey questions to inform your engagement strategy
  • A clearer picture on how to best measure your employee engagement
  • The tools you’ll need to follow the survey creation process outlined in the blog post below

Download the quick guide today!

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The Best Employee Engagement Survey Questions and How to Ask Them

Business management expert and author Peter Drucker once said, “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”

We couldn’t agree more, Peter.

At Emplify, we’ve found that business leaders often (mistakenly) set off to solve their employee engagement challenges without first assessing where their organization stands. Perhaps you’re investing too little in a culture that needs a major overhaul. Or maybe you’re trying too hard to improve a workplace that’s already a well-oiled machine. You won’t know until you do the work to measure engagement first.

Enter the survey.

Conducting an employee engagement survey has numerous benefits, even outside of just getting feedback from your employees (although that’s a pretty big one). When action is taken as a result of an employee engagement survey, there can be tremendous business benefits, including:

  • Reduced turnover
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased trust in company leaders
  • And much more

But administering an internal survey can be easier said than done—and coming up with sample employee engagement survey questions isn’t something to take lightly. If you want the best results, you need to ask questions that will give you the best insights into your current company engagement.

3 Elements of the Best Employee Surveys

At Emplify, our survey experts have spent years researching the psychological drivers of employee engagement and field-testing questions for the utmost effectiveness. Here’s what we’ve learned about crafting the best surveys.

Engagement vs. Satisfaction

There’s a common misconception among those who administer employee surveys that the questions can be about anything they want—how “happy” your employees are at work, if they like what they do, if they’re pleased with the coffee selections. But what insights are the answers to these questions going to give you? People who are merely satisfied with their work (happy with their pay, hours, and benefits) aren’t necessarily engaged (invested in the company and its future). That may seem fine for now, but it’s “satisfied” employees that will quit at a moment’s notice or fail to go the extra mile to serve customers.

Employee survey questions must be:

  • Based on engagement. Are you addressing core issues? Or just surface-level tensions?
  • Actionable. What will you do with the data you receive? If the answer is “I’m not sure,” you probably need to rethink the questions you’re asking.

Questions vs. Statements

The best survey questions…aren’t really questions at all. They’re statements that employees can react to using the Likert scale—the most commonly-used approach to scaling survey answers that allows respondents to choose based on their emotions toward each statement (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, or Strongly Agree).

Employee survey questions must be:

  • Statements. Instead of asking open-ended questions that will skew your data, use statements with emotion-based multiple choice answers you can actually chart.

Annual Surveys vs. Pulse Surveys.

There are a number of different ways to write and administer surveys. Some employee surveys are (ineffectively) administered annually, leaving employees to 1) “store up” their feedback until one crucial point in the year, making any resulting actions untimely and ineffective and 2) detrimental to employee engagement. Without a way to effectively express their opinions throughout the year, employees become disengaged, causing a build-up of unresolved issues and angst among teams.

At the same time, some surveys poll employees daily or even multiple times per day. Who has the time? While pulse surveys are beneficial, overuse can result in employee burnout, leaving you with no feedback at all. At Emplify, we combine annual surveys and quarterly check-ins with SmartPulse™—short, regular polls that help you keep tabs on employee engagement throughout the year.

Employee survey questions must be:

  • Frequent, but not too frequent. Ask your big questions once or twice a year. Then, drill down to better understand your results with quarterly check-ins and segmented pulse questions toward specific groups to help get at the root of any less-than-ideal results.

CAUTION: Running Your Own Survey  

One quick note before you run off with these tips and start surveying everyone in sight: there is a downside to conducting your own survey. Survey administration is a lot of work, especially if you have more than a few employees. It involves writing questions, keeping answers confidential, and analyzing/rendering the data into something you can actually take action on. The thing is, unless you’re a trained survey specialist (in which case, why are you reading this blog?), you probably have big priorities to tend to at work to keep your business running.

That’s why we always advocate that companies leave employee engagement surveys to the experts. Not only do they make survey administration easy, but they keep your information confidential, provide insightful results back to you, and hold you accountable to taking action for improved engagement. Because while your employee engagement is important, it’s counterintuitive to sacrifice your own sanity and engagement in the process.

Employee engagement surveys are a true science. Before you start randomly experimenting, make sure you have the right questions and tools in place to not only get the best data, but the most useful insights to actually increase your company’s overall engagement.

Want a sneak peek at the “10 Sample Questions for Employee Engagement Surveys” we use? Get the download above to find out what real survey experts think are the most important questions to ask employees about.