How to Create an Employee Engagement Survey

How to Create an Employee Engagement Survey

Engaged employees are happier, more productive, and are more likely to stay with your company longer. Employee engagement levels can even impact the level of expected success from a company. In fact Harvard Business Review has stated that engaged organizations may have double the rate of success compared to less engaged organizations. Of course, this makes a lot of sense! Employees who are engaged likely enjoy their work more than those who aren’t engaged. This engagement therefore leads employees to do better work, longer work, and be more invested in their work. All of which leads to a company’s success. So the real question becomes: How do I know if my employees are engaged? One way is by creating employee engagement surveys. How do you create an employee engagement survey? Read on and find out.

Preparing Employee Engagement Surveys

Before creating the questions for your survey, you first need to do a little prep work to understand what you’re trying to learn, as well as to help employees understand why they should share this information. To do this, consider the following questions:
  • What is the goal of the survey?
  • Who will we ask to participate in the survey?
  • Will we have employee responses be anonymous? Why or why not?
  • Will we share the results of the survey with the company?
  • Will we make changes to our organization based on the results?
Each of these questions is important to answer, and should help determine the questions you include, and maybe even whether you conduct the survey at all. For example, if you plan on conducting the survey but do not plan on changing anything in your organization based on the results, we might suggest that you forego the survey. Why? Because without action, what’s the point? It’ll be a waste of your time preparing the survey, and a waste of the employee’s time to take the survey.

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Employee Engagement Survey Questions

The questions you ask will obviously depend on your goals, so we cannot tell you exactly what questions you should focus on. However, we have provided a list of useful questions that you may choose from when creating your employee engagement survey. We’ve broken the questions into categories that correspond with question types (i.e. on a scale of 1-5 vs. yes/no type questions).

Scale Questions

Each of these employee engagement survey questions should be prefaced with “on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree.
  • I am happy to work at this company
  • I’d recommend my friends to come work at this company
  • The majority of the work I do excites me
  • My manager’s expectations for me are clear
  • I feel motivated to do my best work
  • I believe this company will be more successful in the future than it is today
  • I feel like I have work-life balance
  • I am happy with my benefits package
  • I feel like I am fairly paid

Yes/No Questions

  • Hypothetically, if you were given the opportunity to leave this company for the same job and same pay at one of our competitors, would you leave?
  • If given the chance to go back in time, knowing what you know now, would you still apply for this job?
  • Do you foresee yourself working here one year from now?
  • Do you feel respected by your co-workers?
  • Do you wake up in the majority of mornings excited to come to work?
  • Do you feel comfortable submitting thoughts or ideas to company leadership?

Test of Knowledge Questions

  • To the best of your knowledge, what is the mission of the company?
  • Without looking, can you list all of the company’s core values?
  • What are the major company objectives that we’re striving to achieve?

Open-Ended Questions

  • When was the last time you felt like you were appropriately recognized for a project you completed?
  • What are one or two things that we could change in this company that would have a significant positive impact?
  • If you were talking to a friend and needed to describe our company’s culture in three words, what would you say?
  • How frequently do you have fun at work?
  • What can the company do to help you achieve your personal or professional goals?
  • What skills would you like to develop that the company could help with?
  • What are your primary reasons for working at this company?

Crafting the Survey

Now that you’ve seen a long list of questions, you might be tempted to include many of them on your survey. We strongly recommend against this. Rather than conducting one long survey every year or every quarter, we recommend conducting short surveys on a slightly more frequent timeline (every 4-6 weeks seems to be good practice).
Survey response fatigue is very real. The longer a survey is, the less likely an employee is to give a genuine response to each question. Also, the more frequently you survey, the fewer responses you’re likely to get. If your goal is to collect accurate information then you’ll shorten your employee engagement survey, and resist the urge to survey too frequently.
The length of your survey should not immediately inflict anxiety on the mind. Employees are busy, and interruptions of any kind can be annoying, but long interruptions can be down right miserable. For this reason, we recommend that the majority of your employee engagement surveys take 2-3 minutes to complete, and that they never take longer than 5 minutes. How will you know if your survey fits into these blocks of time? Take it yourself. This practice of taking your own survey will not only help you better understand how the survey flows and if the questions work together, but how long it’ll take the average employee to complete the survey.

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Administering the Employee Engagement Survey

There are many ways you can administer a survey, but we are partial to online survey tools that will collect and organize your data. Survey tools such as Qualtrics, CultureAmp, SurveyMonkey, or WorkHuman are all good options, and many of them have free versions you can try. You’ll be able to design your questions, designate that survey responses be anonymous (or not), send your survey to employees via email or with a link, and then the tool will collect your data.

Sharing Results and Acting on Them

As mentioned previously, we strongly encourage you to share the results of your employee engagement survey and act on them accordingly. We do not know what your results will be, and in some cases, they may even be inconclusive. If this is the case, do not fear! Continue to administer regular engagement surveys, and you’ll find answers to your questions over time. In cases where the data does clearly point to weaknesses or inefficiencies within your organization, please discuss these seriously with your leadership team. These results come directly from employees, and if you lose the trust of your employees, they’ll likely become disengaged or even leave the company. Being open and honest about survey results, even when it doesn’t paint the company in the most flattering light, will build trust and confidence in the organization’s determination to improve. Making organizational changes based on these results will show employees that the company puts people over profits and is willing to change when change is needed.
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