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20 Employee Engagement Survey Questions You Should Ask
Building a better, more productive work environment begins with a strong employee engagement survey. This can only be accomplished when you begin to measure what matters most to your employees.
What is Employee Engagement?
Employee engagement is defined as the extent to which a workforce, and all individual employees, feel valued and involved in their everyday work efforts. The dimensions that make up employee engagement are widely debated, but at its core, it boils down to whether an employee truly feels invested in their company’s mission and success.
Even if you are making efforts to implement employee engagement activities it is still important to be able to measure those levels of engagement. Conducting an employee engagement survey aims at more than just measuring how happy your employees are – it identifies how well aligned their dedication is to the mission and outcome of your organization. Thus, measuring employee engagement is one of the most crucial points of maintaining the health of your business, since it streamlines the process of indicating the spots that need improvement.
Why Are Employee Engagement Surveys Important?
When employees are engaged with their work, they feel more fulfilled in what they are accomplishing and are more motivated to continue to achieve success. That ultimately leads to higher productivity. In a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, organizations with a high level of engagement report up to 22% higher productivity company-wide.
In addition, strong employee engagement introduces a variety of positive outcomes that are beneficial both to employees and customers. Highly engaged organizations have double the rate of success of lower engaged organizations, and turnover rates drop dramatically. Higher-turnover organizations report 25% lower turnover when employee engagement is put front and centre, and lower-turnover organizations report up to 65% lower turnover rates.
An engaged workforce can produce better results, put forward more consistent and successful work efforts, a more integrated company culture, and a more profitable organization. A study by Gallup even pointed to the outperformance potential of highly engaged workforces, with companies that prioritize employee engagement outperforming their competitors by up to 147% in earnings per share.
The numbers do not lie. Instead, they go to show that not only should businesses always aim to measure employee engagement, sometimes, they can’t afford not to.
20 Strong Employee Engagement Survey Questions You Should Ask in Your Next Survey
Employee engagement represents the level of enthusiasm and connection employees have with their organization. It is a measure of the level of motivation that exists in every employee, and the degree to which they are ready and willing to put in extra effort for their organization. Evidently, this can be difficult to measure. Employee engagement depends largely on the actions of the organization, particularly those driven by leadership, managers, and people teams. This is why it is important to cultivate employee engagement survey questions that best suit your company specifically, and are best equipped to draw out useful responses that you can put into action to improve your organization’s overall employee engagement levels.
Engagement Index Questions
The Engagement Index section of your survey is the introductory section that aims to uncover the key outcomes of employee engagement. Understanding employee engagement takes more than one question, so providing a range of questions to start off your survey and measure an employee’s immediate thought process when it comes to examining their own satisfaction is critical.
1. “I am proud to work for [company].”
Also called the “barbecue test” – would an employee be proud to tell someone where they worked if asked at a barbecue? – this question gets an employee’s pride in the place they work. The scores on this question reflect levels of brand and mission affiliation and can provide a great insight into how your company’s external brand is viewed by people internally.
2. “I would recommend [company] as a great place to work.”
This is a common employee engagement question, but on its own, it does not provide a robust measure. Sometimes, people may recommend your company but be planning to leave or be unsatisfied in their specific role but would still recommend it because of pay or perks. Including this question amongst several other employee index questions is key, since it eliminates that risk of inapplicable responses.
3. “I rarely think about looking for a job at another company.”
This is a great example of an accompanying question to the one above. This gets straight at the present, existing commitment of an employee to your company. It can be a nice reality check for organizations that achieve a negative response to this question, when they have high scores on other engagement index questions. Employees who are truly engaged in their work often report that looking for a job elsewhere rarely crosses their mind, while on the flip side, employees who are less engaged will find it easy to answer negatively to this question.
4. “I see myself working at [company] in two years’ time.”
Like the previous question, this aims to analyze employee commitment, but with a specific time frame. Employees that aren’t actively looking for a job elsewhere still may not intend to stick around for another two years. These two questions give an overview of both present and future commitment, so you can then calculate an overall retention index.
5. “[Company] motivates me to go beyond what I would do in a similar role elsewhere.”
This discretionary effort question targets whether your organization is motivating people to their very best. In industries where long-term employment is low, such as a seasonal workforce, this question is even more important.
There are four main factors that influence employee engagement: Leadership, Enablement, Alignment, and Development (LEAD). If you think of your employee engagement survey as an essay, these areas make up the body of the text. With a handful of questions in each field, you can measure your employee engagement levels based on a business-oriented hierarchy of needs.
6. “The leaders at [company] keep people informed about what is happening.”
For anyone to feel any level of engagement with their work, there needs to be a strong sense of communication. Keeping employees informed about what is happening builds a foundation of communication from leadership at the most basic level.
7. “My manager is a great role model for employees.”
Rather than targeting the specific relationship between the manager and the reporting employee, this question gears itself towards how employees see their manager within the broader context of the company.
8. “The leaders at [company] have communicated a vision that motivates me.”
If you want your employees to be able to answer positively to this question, they need to feel adequately informed about what is happening, as mentioned before. Boosting motivation, or a sense of connection to something bigger than day-to-day work, is critical to increasing employee engagement.
9. “I have access to the things I need to do my job well.”
This question assesses whether employees have all day-to-day things they need to do their jobs well and develop in the company. This is a critical ‘hygiene factor’ for any organization, meaning that without this, you cannot move forward. The modern workplace is not always necessarily focused around resources or tools, so this question can apply to any sort of ‘thing’ utilized by employees to get their work done.
10. “I have access to the learning and development I need to do my job well.”
This is a deeper look into the prior question, targeting the specifics of learning and development opportunities for employees. This can include training and information sessions, coaching quality, and even intellectual and emotional support from the organization. Learning and development is a proven driver of employee engagement across all industries, so a positive response to this question should be the goal.
11. “Most of the systems and processes here support us in getting our work done effectively.”
Avoiding the absolute ‘all’, measuring whether the majority of systems and processes in place helps employees complete their tasks is essential. No company is immune to flaws in their systems and processes, so reorienting the ideal of perfection to instead shift employee thinking to the overall picture helps achieve a more accurate gauge of how well your systems support your workers. The company-wide infrastructure has a tremendous impact on how well employees get their work done, and how effective the learning and development opportunities are at keeping employees engaged, so refining this area is essential.
12. “I know what I need to do to be successful in my role.”
In order to be in alignment with the company’s goals overall, an individual needs a thorough understanding of what they need to do to be personally successful. Otherwise, progress is impossible. This basic level of understanding must exist for employees to develop their alignment with the organization.
13. “I receive appropriate recognition when I do good work.”
Once an individual knows what it is, they must do to be successful, they should be appropriately recognized for their achievements. If people don’t receive any recognition when they are making progress or when they accomplish something for the greater good of the company, it is difficult for them to stay motivated.
14. “Day-to-day decisions here demonstrate that quality and improvement are top priorities.”
This is the most important area of needs when it comes to alignment. It is not uncommon for specific teams and fields of practice to have values around doing work that they’re proud of, and a company needs to align itself with those values and demonstrate a commitment to that kind of work as well.
15. “My manager has shown a genuine interest in my career aspirations.”
One-on-one level interactions with managers, or someone in management, help build the foundation for employees feeling that they can develop at their company down the line. When managers have technical competence and can teach those skills to their team, it can be useful. However, development should be focused more on its importance for employee success. Managers should aim to discuss employee development in one-on-one meetings if they hope to encourage engagement.
16. “I believe there are good career opportunities for me at this company.”
If results to this question are on the lower end of the scale, this signifies to the company that employee’s perceptions of career opportunities are low. While they may be present, they are not always apparent, making transparency and communication of development opportunities just as important as their very existence.
17. “This is a great company for me to make a contribution to my development.”
This question is geared towards the idea of a company making a contribution to the employee’s development in their craft or industry. This type of development extends beyond the parameters of the organization, so it does not have to relate to the bottom line or the organizational goals and values.
Free Text Questions
Free text questions aim at soliciting open-ended feedback and give employees a chance to provide general comments. Usually placed at the end of surveys, it gives employees the opportunity to address areas they felt were not covered in the scale-based sections. Responses to these questions tend to focus on more tangible aspects of employee engagement, such as workplace environment, but they can also be useful in receiving feedback on leadership and development. Some examples of great free text employee engagement survey questions include:
18. “Are there some things we are doing great here?”
19. “Are there some things we are not doing so great here?”
20. “Is there something else you think we should have asked you in this survey?”
Free text questions provide qualitative data in addition to the quantitative data you received from the previous sections, making your results more thorough and your analysis more multi-faceted.
Start Crafting Your Employee Engagement Survey
Collecting employee feedback is the best way to start shaping your company’s culture, making it conducive to engagement and overall motivation. Listen to the voices of your employees, then share with them what you have learned, and how you plan on moving forward together. Employee engagement surveys are a key tool in covering that cornerstone of modern business management.
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