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:
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.
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:
There are several different types of employee engagement surveys. In addition to traditional, annual employee engagement surveys, companies might also consider implementing:
Before implementing an employee engagement survey, let's review some of the best practices for creating an employee engagement 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
Engaging employees is crucial for keeping talented employees, since unengaged staff are more likely to leave their positions. It’s also a crucial factor for increased employee satisfaction, productivity, and innovation.