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How to Create an Employee Engagement Survey [+ 24 Sample Survey Questions]

Employee engagement is fundamental to the success of any business. Engaged employees drive performance and inspire innovation. When employees feel connected and committed to their role and the organization, they improve essential business outcomes like retention, productivity, and profitability.

The Hugo Team
The Hugo Team
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How to Create an Employee Engagement Survey [+ 24 Sample Survey Questions]

Employee engagement is fundamental to the success of any business. Engaged employees drive performance and inspire innovation. When employees feel connected and committed to their role and the organization, they improve essential business outcomes like retention, productivity, and profitability.

In 2021, just over one-third (34%) of all U.S. employees reported being "engaged" in their work. Amid the ever-changing work landscapes today, more companies are beginning to prioritize the experience of their most valuable asset - their people.

To better understand and assess how employees feel about work, simply ask. An employee engagement survey is a simple yet effective way to measure employee engagement rates and uncover opportunities for growth within the organization.   

In this article, you'll learn:

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What is an employee engagement survey (and why do they matter)?

An employee engagement survey is a tool used to measure how an employee thinks and feels about work. Surveys measure employee engagement and collect data about the employee experience. Employee engagement surveys quantify employee levels of motivation, satisfaction, and commitment to the organization. 

Benefits of Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement surveys serve an essential purpose within an organization. They provide a glimpse into each employee's personal experience at work and help inform necessary organizational changes. Some of the benefits of employee engagement surveys include:

  • Building trust with employees: employee engagement surveys give a voice to every employee and build a greater sense of trust between employees and company leadership. When organizations consistently create opportunities for feedback and improvement, employees are more likely to feel respected and valued for their thoughts and opinions.
  • Increasing levels of job satisfaction: Job satisfaction drives engagement. Employees who find their work meaningful are 4.6x more likely to feel engaged at work and perform well. Employee engagement surveys ask direct questions about job satisfaction. Responses uncover opportunities for improvement in areas of engagement that impact how satisfied (or unsatisfied) an employee feels about their work.   
  • Improving employee retention rates: Retention rates are an important measure of employee engagement. Employees who feel dissatisfied, unhappy, or undervalued are more likely to leave their job. High turnover negatively affects morale, company culture, and the bottom line. Engagement surveys help companies detect trends and determine why employees might leave the organization. 
  • Informing growth and culture changes: Employee engagement surveys are the catalyst for organization-wide improvement. Tapping into the pulse of an organization and the attitudes of its people creates opportunities for growth and shifts in company culture. 

Types of Employee Engagement Surveys

There are several different types of employee engagement surveys. In addition to traditional, annual employee engagement surveys, companies might also consider implementing:    

  • Pulse surveys – short surveys repeated regularly (weekly, monthly, quarterly)
  • Lifecycle surveys – onboarding or exit surveys
  • Meeting effectiveness surveys – used to assess the quality and effectiveness of meetings

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Best practices for creating an employee engagement survey

Before implementing an employee engagement survey, let's review some of the best practices for creating an employee engagement survey.

Define clear goals for each survey

Before writing the survey questions, define the survey goal(s). Clear goals will allow you to design engagement questions based on the insights or data you'd like to gather.

  • Are you looking to gauge general employee sentiments about work or company culture?
  • Do you want to assess employee feelings towards a recent policy change?
  • Are you seeking to improve a particular engagement area, such as meeting effectiveness or workplace safety?

Create a variety of questions

Choose a variety of different question formats and styles. Options include scale questions (e.g., on a scale of 1 – 5, how likely are you to recommend [company] to a friend?), binary questions (e.g., true/false, yes/no, etc.), multiple-choice questions, and open-ended questions.

Avoid ambiguous or leading questions

Survey questions should be specific - only asking one question at a time. Avoid questions that are confusing or leading. Stick to questions with neutral wording and a clear objective.

Make surveys short and easy to complete

Accurate results rely on high completion rates. If the survey is too long or questions are confusing or misleading, employees are less likely to complete the survey.

Offer anonymity and privacy

Allow your employees to remain anonymous and only identify themselves if they'd like to discuss their feedback individually. Similarly, offer a private, quiet space for employees to complete their survey.

Do surveys more than once a year

Measuring employee engagement several times a year will help your organization keep up-to-date metrics on engagement rates and trends over time. Frequent surveying will also help you evaluate progress on actions you've taken to improve employee satisfaction and engagement.

Follow-up with timely, actionable solutions

Once you've received the results, analyze the feedback and create an action plan for implementing the necessary changes. Build trust with employees by sharing survey results with the entire company and giving people the opportunity to share feedback on proposed solutions.  

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24 employee engagement survey questions  

There are six subcategories for the survey questions listed below, each seeking to measure employee engagement in various areas of the employee experience.

The questions below are best suited for a "scale" format (e.g., on a scale of 1 – 5, 1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Agree) – apart from the open-ended questions at the end. Consider including a space for additional comments or feedback under each scale or binary question.

Survey Question Categories

  1. Job Satisfaction
  2. Leadership
  3. Company culture
  4. Communication
  5. Career Development
  6. Open-Ended

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction questions are a central component of any employee engagement survey. It is crucial to understand how and why employees feel satisfied (or dissatisfied) at work.

A satisfied employee is engaged, happy, and motivated to reach company goals. A satisfied employee is an asset to the organization – creating a positive working environment for themselves and others. If employees are proud of their work and organization, they are more likely to promote the brand and its mission to others. Moreover, if employees feel appropriately compensated for their work, they are less likely to look for other jobs.

This section aims to gain insight into your employee's personal feelings towards work, compensation, team dynamics, and the organization.

#1 – I am excited about coming to work.

#2 – I enjoy working with my team.

#3 – I am proud to work for this company.

#4 – I am satisfied with my compensation and benefits.

Leadership

The relationship between employees and management is one of the top measures of job satisfaction and employee engagement. Leadership is not only responsible for developing a clear vision and strategy, but they are also responsible for motivating, mentoring, and inspiring employees to reach their highest potential.  

Employees rely on their leadership team to communicate the company vision and direct employees to use their skills to reach company-wide goals.

The questions in this section aim to evaluate the quality of leadership and the relationship between employees and managers.

#5 – The leadership team is clear about the direction and strategic goals of the organization.

#6 – I understand how my work aligns with the larger company goals.  

#7 – My manager is a role model for the rest of the team. 

#8 – My manager effectively delegates and manages the project plan.

Company Culture

Company culture is a fundamental aspect of the employee experience. It is the sum of the entire organizations' values, attitudes, and behaviors. It dictates how and why a company prioritizes and completes tasks, projects, and organization-wide goals. A positive work culture cultivates trust, team effectiveness, and employee engagement.

A company culture that is supportive, inclusive, and positive makes for an excellent place to work. Highly engaged employees feel connected to the company values and are passionate about their work. A strong company culture ultimately drives up rates of productivity and profitability because employees feel connected to the company goals both personally and professionally. 

The following survey questions seek to better understand employee attitudes and alignment with the current company culture. 

#9 – I feel aligned with the company values.   

#10 – Our company has a supportive and inclusive work environment.

#11 – Our company prioritizes work-life balance. 

#12 – I would recommend this company to friends as a great place to work.

Communication

Effective communication is critical to employee engagement – especially in new remote work landscapes. Company leaders who model effective communication styles establish a baseline of respect and trust among their employees. In doing so, employees feel heard, valued, and respected. Moreover, employees who are recognized for their accomplishments are more likely to feel motivated at work, think creatively, and promote innovation.  

Use the questions below to gauge employee feelings about communication practices within the organization. Where appropriate, create interventions or actionable solutions to address shortcomings in communication, recognition, and role clarity. 

#13 – I am recognized for my accomplishments.   

#14 – The executive team communicates frequently and transparently.

#15 – I feel comfortable expressing my opinions and ideas.

#16 – My roles and responsibilities are clearly communicated to me.

Career Development

Career development and opportunities for growth within the organization are key to employee engagement and retention. If employees feel stagnant, understimulated, or undervalued at work, they will likely seek opportunities outside of the organization.

Managers are responsible for consistently investing in their team's personal and professional growth. Employees who feel excited and challenged at work are often motivated to go above and beyond what is asked.

The questions below aim to understand employee sentiments about the value of their work and how well managers facilitate career development opportunities. This section can also gauge an employee's commitment to the organization and intentions to stay or leave within a specific time frame.

#17 – My current role challenges and excites me. 

#18 - I have opportunities to advance my career at this organization.

#19 – My manager supports my personal and professional growth. 

#20 – I plan to stay with the company for at least two years.

Open-Ended

In addition to the scaled questions above, consider including open-ended questions that allow employees to leave comments and feedback in their own words. Open-ended questions provide qualitative data that is important for creating an effective survey action plan. 

Tailor your open-ended question section to fit the goals of your survey – this is an excellent place to ask pointed, direct questions about the employee experience.

#21 – How can we improve the company culture?

#22 - What processes or systems can we change? 

#23 - How can we improve employee engagement and satisfaction at work?

#24 – Do you have any other comments or feedback to share? 

 

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Next steps for employee engagement survey responses

Creating and implementing an employee engagement survey is just the first step. After surveying your employees, you must analyze, interpret, and act on the survey results. 

By taking the following steps, your organization can ensure that you are effectively responding to employee feedback and creating positive change within the organization. 

  • Start by thanking your employees for completing the survey. In your response, provide a clear timeline or deadline for actionable solutions.
  • Next, analyze the data and identify the organization's strengths and weaknesses in specific areas of engagement. If you've completed this survey more than once, use past survey data to extract trends and patterns.
  • Once you've analyzed the findings, create a report to summarize the survey responses. Evaluate the critical areas for improvement and create an action plan to implement any necessary changes.
  • Share the survey findings and action plan with the entire team or organization. Consider hosting individual or team meetings to discuss the results and get feedback from employees on the proposed actions.
  • Employ all the necessary resources – whether internal or 3rd party – to ensure accountability and follow through on the action plan. 

 

Embracing change is vital to organizational growth and long-term success. Employee engagement surveys facilitate meaningful, employee-driven change within an organization. Listening to your employees and valuing their feedback is the first step in building an engaged, passionate, and high-performing workforce.   

 

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