When crafting an employee engagement survey, it's important to ask a mix of questions related to key indicators of engagement. You can't simply ask employees if they are engaged or not, as engagement is based on a wide variety of factors.
Wording Questions for an Employee Engagement Survey
For quantitative questions, employees should be asked to respond using a scale or continuum, such as choosing ratings from one to five or one to ten. This will provide more nuanced information rather than "yes" or "no" answers. Also consider including some open-ended questions.
Relationship With Manager
An employee's relationship with his or her manager is closely related to engagement. Questions to ask related to this key indicator include:
- How would you rate your relationships with your direct supervisor?
- How would you describe the degree to which your supervisor is easily accessible?
- Does your manager regularly solicit input and feedback from you?
- To what extent does your boss like to receive feedback from you?
- To what extent to you feel that your boss really listens to your concerns?
- Do you feel respected by your manager?
- Is your manager a person for whom you have respect?
Peer-to-peer relationships also have a significant impact on engagement. Gain insight into this factor by asking questions like:
- How would you rate your relationships with your peers?
- To what extent do you trust your peers?
- To what extent would your peers say you are trustworthy?
- How comfortable are you that you and your coworkers can constructively resolve work-related conflicts that arise?
- To what extent do you feel your coworkers put the needs of the team above their individual needs?
View of Company Leadership
Employee perceptions of leaders at the highest level play a role in whether or not employees are engaged. Tap into these perceptions with questions such as:
- Do company leaders at the highest levels set a positive example for employees?
- Do you view upper management as being in touch with the needs of employees?
- To what extent do the behaviors of leadership at the highest levels reflect the company values?
- To what extent would you say that your company's leaders are socially responsible?
Recognition and Feedback
When employees don't feel that they receive sufficient feedback and recognition, it is not likely that they have high levels of engagement. Find out where your company's workers stand by asking questions like:
- Do you receive performance feedback with sufficient frequency?
- How would you rate the quality of the feedback you receive?
- When you are praised, do you know exactly what you did that your boss considers praiseworthy?
- When receiving performance feedback, does your boss clearly communicate what changes need to be made?
- How clearly do you understand what is expected of you?
- To what extent do you feel that your accomplishments are recognized?
- Are you acknowledged for your unique contributions?
People are much more likely to have high levels of engagement when they perceive opportunities to grow within their companies, including learning and development opportunities as well as the ability to be considered for promotions or other new job opportunities. Find out employee perceptions of growth opportunities by asking question like:
- Do you feel that there are adequate opportunities for growth?
- To what extent are training opportunities provided by the company limited to specific job skills?
- To what extent would you say the company supports learning to help employees prepare for advancement?
- To what extent do you believe your company fairly considers internal candidates for higher level job opportunities?
- How likely would you say it is that you or one of your peers would be considered for an upper level management job if one became available?
Pride in Organization
Employees are also much more likely to be highly engaged if they are truly proud of both the company where they work and the actual work that they do. Get a sense of how proud your employees are by asking questions like:
- To what extent is the company's mission in alignment with your personal values?
- How likely would you be to recommend this company to others as a good place to work?
- Would you wear a quality t-shirt or hat in public that had your company's logo on it?
- How often do you say positive things about the company to friends or relatives?
Job satisfaction is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for employee engagement. Get a sense of how satisfied your company's team members are by asking things like:
- To what extent would you describe yourself as being satisfied with your job?
- How happy were you at work over the past week?
- How often do you daydream about leaving your job and going to work somewhere else?
- How likely would you say it is that you'll still be with this company five years from now?
- How often have you actively looked for another job over the past year?
Starting Point for a Multi-Faceted Questionnaire
Employee engagement can be challenging to measure because it is impacted by so many things. These questions can be a good starting point for putting together a survey for your organization, though they certainly don't represent everything you might want to ask.
Consider using this list as the basis of a brainstorming session to help company leaders get started thinking about other important items that may be important to ask about in your organization. Share this list, along with data gleaned from exit interviews, past employee surveys, stay interviews, and examples of employee complaints received over the past year or so. Use that information to craft other questions specific to the company's unique situation.
Next Steps to Boost Engagement
Once you have decided what all to include in your survey, the next step will be to administer it to all employees and then share the results with them - good or bad. No matter what the results are, it's important to share them and use the conclusion to make changes as appropriate. Use what you learn from the survey to help select and implement strategies for employee engagement that will be meaningful to your team members.