Not all employee engagement surveys are created equal—neither are the questions you include.
It’s important that you design your employee engagement survey using a reputable model that actually helps you measure and improve engagement. Otherwise, you might find yourself throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Without a proven survey model, it will be difficult to understand what truly matters and near impossible to drive meaningful change.
There are many employee engagement survey questions to choose from. But to accurately measure engagement, there are a few questions you must be asking.
In this article, we’ll share 21 expert-recommended, employee engagement survey questions to include in your employee survey, including questions about:
Employee Engagement Outcomes Survey Questions
Our definition of employee engagement makes the case for including a variety of questions in your engagement survey—focused on measuring an employee’s connection to their work, team, and organization.
Our proven e9 model of employee engagement includes a mix of engagement outcome questions and engagement impact questions.
Engagement outcome questions help you assess the current state of engagement in your organization and engagement impact questions help you figure out where to focus your efforts to improve or maintain engagement.
To narrow your search, consider asking questions that uncover perceptions of work, team, and organizational engagement.
This question is designed to uncover how passionate and engaged your employees are with their work. Measuring how engaged employees are with their day to day work can be a meaningful baseline to how engaged they are with the overall organization. Employees who feel passionate about their work are more likely to stay engaged.
Commitment to organizational goals increases the likelihood that employees are aligned toward achieving a common outcome. If employees perceive that their immediate coworkers are committed to a unified goal, they’ll feel a sense of tactical and strategic solidarity. Successful teams have members who are working with, not against each other.
Our research found that this question consistently has high correlation with engagement. Similar to Net Promoter Score—a simple, widely-used measure of customer loyalty—the goal of this question is to find out whether employees enjoy their work experience enough to tell their friends about it.
Career Growth and Development Employee Engagement Survey Questions
When employees see professional growth and career development opportunities in their organization, they tend to be more engaged. We found that employees who have at least quarterly career growth 1-on-1s are 2.4X more engaged and 4X more likely to stay they see growth and development opportunities in their organization.
Add questions to your engagement survey to find out if your organization is offering the right opportunities for your employees.
Sometimes, as leaders, we think that the paths for advancement and promotion are clear to our employees. But that may not always align with how your employees feel about their growth opportunities.
While growth is particularly important among younger employees, more tenured employees might be looking for different types of opportunities. By including professional development survey questions, you can learn more about your employee preferences for career growth.
This question can move beyond the one-on-one meeting experience and get down into the nitty-gritty of how employees feel about their direct coaching from immediate managers. This question can reveal opportunities to improve management coaching skills. But it can also help you create reporting and feedback loops so that your employees are more in tune with their individual performance on a regular basis.
Communication and Resources Employee Engagement Survey Questions
Your employees' day-to-day can be greatly impacted by the tools and information they have at their disposal. While the right resources are important, if employees don’t know what they have access to, they are less likely to find success.
Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—a sense of belonging and self-actualization are great, but if your basic needs aren’t met, you’re not going to survive.
These workplace survey questions will help you understand how effectively you are communicating with your employees, including access to resources and information.
One of the best things about this question is that it can quickly bring to light the resources employees need to be successful. While tackling equipment needs can come with expenses, it can often be a simple problem to solve—unlike more complex issues like feeling valued or improving communication.
Communication is the lifeblood of an organization. It builds trust, boosts alignment and understanding, fosters good relationships, and improves morale and efficiency. If employees feel that information isn’t available to them, this question can help you learn what processes or communication loops need to be added. It can also uncover deficiencies in training or organizational knowledge.
Nobody wants to work somewhere they aren’t heard. It's important that employees have a chance to speak their minds. This survey question can help you understand your workforce’s receptivity to feedback and new or different ideas.
As your organization faces change, leaders may shy away from or postpone any communication until the dust has settled. However, both of these tendencies can increase anxiety and uncertainty among employees:
This item puts the organization to the test and addresses how leaders handle strategic and difficult communication.
Individual Needs Employee Engagement Survey Questions
Recognition and work-life balance are two basic, but important, needs in the workplace. If employees feel undervalued or constantly torn between getting ahead at work and spending time with their family, it’s unlikely they’ll be engaged. Learn more about your employees’ individual needs by asking these survey questions.
When employees believe they will be recognized, they are more likely to be highly engaged. But that’s not all. According to our 2022 trends report, 53% of exiting employees say they weren’t recognized for their contributions to the organization.
Use this employee survey question to understand whether employees feel valued.
Do your employees feel like robots or people? Our research shows that when employees believe their workplace supports their health and wellbeing, they are 1.7X more likely to stay with their current organization and 2.5X less likely to look elsewhere for employment. Leaders will need to determine what flexibility means to their organization in a way that is meaningful to employees.
Manager Effectiveness Employee Engagement Survey Questions
When employees have favorable perceptions of their managers, they are much more engaged. While we know managers aren’t the only reason employees leave, managers certainly play a critical role in employee engagement. Find out more about manager effectiveness with these survey questions.
Managers should be empathetic and compassionate, but also assertive and decisive when needed. They need to feel comfortable talking with employees about a variety of topics, including:
When employees believe their immediate manager cares about their development, they are 3.1x more likely to be highly engaged. Great managers can coach toward success and help their best employees find pathways to grow and develop.
Beyond a manager’s investment in an individual as a person is their investment in the individual’s career growth and development.
Managers should not only show great listening skills, but they should be advocates for the employee within the organization. Employees should feel that their managers want to see them succeed and are positioning them for advancement - even if that means they might grow outside of the manager's direct team.
Team Dynamics Employee Engagement Survey Questions
Team dynamics are the unconscious, psychological forces that influence team behavior, culture, and performance. How a team functions as a unit can be incredibly engaging or disengaging. Use these questions to understand if your teams are operating effectively and where there are opportunities to boost team engagement.
Clear communication is fundamental to the success of any team. Among the most important factors to clearly communicate are individual and team goals. In fact, trust has major benefits for both employees and organizations. Employees have 76% higher employee engagement in high-trust organizations.
Employees should know who is accountable for achieving, monitoring, and updating goals. Establishing ownership can also empower individual team members and reduce role ambiguity.
Dependability is critical to success and being part of a winning team. Employees need to know that they can rely on other teammates to lend a helping hand, step up when someone needs assistance, and meet deadlines and goals.
When team members are dropping the ball, it falls on other employees to pick it up. The team dynamic can have a massive impact on employee success, engagement, and morale.
Trust in Leadership Employee Engagement Survey Questions
Like team dynamics, leadership relationships are extremely important to engagement. Employees want to work for leaders and teams that:
Consider these questions to learn about employee perceptions of their trust in leadership.
Bridging the trust gap between leaders and employees is a major trend for this year. Leaders will need to focus on closing this gap with thoughtful listening, understanding, and meaningful action.
While 94% of executives and directors reported trust in senior leaders to lead the company to future success in 2022, only 89% of managers and 86% of individual contributors feel the same.
When leaders aren’t transparent or honest about how your organization is conducting business, employees can feel disappointed and disengaged. They want to know that the organization is successful, but also how you’re succeeding.
Employees who intend to stay at your organization want to make sure that there will be a place to come to work well into their future career. If they don’t trust current leaders to guide your business to success, they definitely won’t want to stay.
Building trust will look different in every organization. And things are likely to change quickly. Leaders should consider how they can keep a pulse on trust with a consistent cycle of employee listening.
Future Outlook Employee Engagement Survey Questions
Your employee value proposition is what your organization has to offer employees in return for their work. It can be a magnet that attracts and retains high performing employees. Asking employee loyalty survey questions can help you gather feedback about why they choose to work for you and why they leave.
Employees need to have a clear understanding of the organization’s vision for success. When they can see the big picture they will be more capable and motivated to help you achieve your goals. Ask this question to find out whether you are communicating your vision effectively and efficiently.
Beyond the basic understanding of your organization’s plans for success, employees need to know if and how they fit within that vision. Strong job fit drives employee engagement, but employees also need to see how their current and future aspirations align with the overall direction and success of the business.
Diversity and Inclusion Employee Engagement Survey Questions
Diversity and inclusion has an effect on your organization even if you believe that your team isn’t very diverse. Understanding your employee feedback by demographic can provide critical insight to how certain groups are engaged within your organization.
Not to mention, by prioritizing questions about diversity and inclusion you can give every single employee within your organization a voice in making the company better.
As the trust gap between individuals and leadership grows, understanding the nuance of your organization’s trust gap is critical. Employees need to know that the organization is fair to all employees regardless of their age, race, gender, orientation, role, and more.
Questions like this can help you identify and address trust gaps.
A feeling of belonging can be a key indicator of your organization’s magnetism. When employees don’t feel as though they belong, they are more likely to look for opportunities outside of the organization.
Almost 30% of employees who were not highly engaged interviewed for a job at a different organization within the past 6 months.
The questions you ask are just as important as how you ask them. While you may be tempted to ask for open-ended feedback for each of your engagement questions, this can quickly lead to survey fatigue.
At the same time, asking an employee to answer “yes” or “no” doesn’t give you enough context as to what is a priority.
That’s why we highly recommend you use a sliding scale to capture your survey feedback. Using more than 20 years of survey experience, our team feels confident in the science that supports our six-point Likert sliding scale:
The six-point sliding scale for engagement questions include:
There are a number of benefits to using this sliding scale. The first is that there is no ‘neutral’ option. This forces your survey respondent to lean one way or another, giving you the data you need to know which way your survey base is leaning.
Not to mention, the sliding scale is predictable and easy to answer, making the survey quick and easy for your participants to fill out accurately.
If you take nothing else away from this article, remember that employee engagement is critical to collecting employee feedback. But a single employee engagement survey isn’t enough to accurately capture feedback and develop an action plan.
With that in mind, let’s review a key difference between employee engagement survey questions and other employee survey questions.
Employee Engagement Survey Questions: Are designed specifically to evaluate how engaged your employees are with your organization. This is usually an annual survey that’s given to the entire employee base. It’s an opportunity for every employee to have a voice.
Other Employee Survey Questions: Can include lifecycle survey questions and pulse survey questions. Lifecycle surveys allow you to collect feedback from employees at a specific time in their tenure with your organization. Pulse surveys offer the most flexibility. You can send pulse surveys to any number of employees, at any time, about any given topic.
That doesn’t mean your surveys need to live in silos. In fact, you can use data from all of your survey sources to form a continuous feedback loop. For example, you may notice from your engagement survey that employees don’t feel recognized when they make meaningful contributions at work. With that in mind, you might send a pulse survey to determine what recognition means to a particular team, demographic, or group of employees.
Employee engagement is multifaceted—so your survey should cover a variety of factors that could impact engagement. When building your next employee survey, use these questions as a starting point or download our best practice Pulse Survey Templates.