You could hire a consultancy to run a pre-built employee survey for you.

But will a pre-built survey capture the uniqueness of your organization and culture?

Or, you could randomly choose questions off the internet and run an employee engagement survey.

But will a random mix and match of employee survey questions do the job for you?

Choosing employee survey questions needs a lot of thought.

After all, your entire effort to assess and improve employee engagement, organizational culture, or employee experience depends on writing the right employee survey questions.

And that’s what we tackle in this guide for you - ways to write great employee survey questions, sample employee survey questions, and employee survey templates for your reference.

Read on.

Employee survey questions:

Everything you need to know about how and what to ask in an employee survey.

A good survey is a lot of work; a bad survey isn’t worth doing.

~Googler’s mantra

Virtually all companies - big or small- run employee surveys at least once a year, if not more frequently. And why not, right?

Employee surveys are a great way to check the health of your organization and how your employees are feeling about work. The data from an employee survey - when captured, analyzed, and acted on smartly - can help improve employee engagement, reduce attrition, attract top talent, and enable your organization to be (organically) recognized as a great place to work for.

But running an employee survey is not as easy as it sounds. Nor is capturing the right data! If you’ve ever been tasked with running a survey, you know exactly what we mean.

Your foremost challenge when it comes to running an employee satisfaction survey, employee engagement survey, or employee feedback survey lies in choosing the right employee survey questions.

Of course, thanks to Google, there are a million questions around employee engagement, employee wellbeing, work-life balance, and more that are available to us at a click of a button. But would a random mix and match of these survey questions really help us unearth not-so-obvious issues that may be affecting our work environment or culture?

We’re afraid not.

If you need to get your hands on some real, quality data that can help you drive change within your organization, then you got to get your hands dirty. Dirty enough to identify, choose or write the right employee survey questions.

And that’s why we have put together this extensive guide on “employee survey questions” that’ll help you with articulating the best questions to gather employee feedback.

In here, you’ll find:

  • Why choosing the right employee survey questions is important
  • How to write the best employee survey questions
  • What questions to ask in an employee survey
  • Free employee survey templates + survey question samples
  • Employee survey question pitfalls to avoid

So let’s get started.

You’ll end up doing what you’ve probably been wanting to avoid in the first place - take wrong decisions based on even more wrong data.

Why choosing the right employee survey questions is important?

Whether you run your employee surveys in-house or have outsourced them to a third party who manages them for you, understanding the significance of asking the right employee survey questions will guide you on how to approach the entire process.

Let’s start with imagining a car.

Every passenger of a car experiences the journey differently - the driver might be more focused on control while a passenger in the backseat will most likely talk about comfort, and the owner of the car might be more interested in its mileage.

Now, ask the driver about comfort, the rear passenger about mileage, and the owner about control, and you’ll, in all likelihood, not get the insights that will actually help you improve comfort, control, or mileage.

Your organization is like a car.

To really gauge the experience of employees, you must be able to ask relevant questions about relevant topics to the relevant people.

Else, you’ll end up doing what you’ve probably been wanting to avoid in the first place - take wrong decisions based on even more wrong data.

Add to it the fact that there are so many different types of cars in this world and no two are exactly the same. This means you cannot pick up a bunch of survey questions that are working for some other organization and expect it to work for you too.

For instance, employee survey questions to gauge employee safety and wellbeing would have been different for remote employees and frontline workers during the pandemic. Or, survey questions about employee satisfaction would be vastly different for employees of a non-profit vs. employees of a multinational tech company.

Devising survey questions around employee engagement, employee satisfaction, employee happiness, wellbeing, and more that suit your organization is very critical.

Read again: that suits your organization.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to questions in an employee survey.

And most (most) importantly, if you want the right data or insights, you have to ask the right questions.

Run a survey with wrong questions or wrongly asked questions, and there’s no way for you to know that you are on the wrong track until it’s too late - when you observe that the actions you took based on the insights from the survey are yielding no result!

Do we really have all that time and resources to make such a slip-up?

Write down your objectives: Take out a piece of paper and scribble everything that you broadly expect to achieve from this employee survey.

How to write the best employee survey questions?

Writing questions for employee surveys is as much an art as it is a science. However, it does not have to be as complex as it sounds, if you can follow through on these tips to writing employee survey questions.

Start with the objective

We repeat, start with the objective.

It is, of course, easy to shortlist a bunch of employee engagement survey questions from the internet or brainstorm with your colleagues to come up with a bunch of interesting questions.

But even before you get down to writing or choosing your survey questions, decide why you are running this survey - write down your objective.

What is it that you hope to improve, change, or enhance based on your employee feedback?

Take out a piece of paper and scribble everything that you broadly expect to achieve from this employee survey. All of these put together will point towards the objective of your survey.

For instance,

  • The objective of your new hire survey could be to enhance the onboarding experience of new employees
  • The objective of your 30-60-90 day lifecycle survey would be to track potential disengagement and alleviate the causes before it leads to attrition
  • The objective of your manager effectiveness survey could be to analyze the people leadership skills of team managers and choose the right training programs for them

Employee surveys aren’t simply check-ins about what employees are feeling, they are also meant to enable you to drive action towards improving the workplace culture or employee engagement.

Surveys are only a means to an end and should be mindfully treated so.

What you want to learn is what you ask.

Yes, you hear that right.Once you have the objective in place, then think of what you want to learn from this survey.Yet again, we suggest you take a piece of paper and scribble down these statements.

For instance, for an employee engagement survey on work-life balance, what are the possible things you would want to learn from your employees to know if their work-life balance is good?

  • Whether they are happy with the time they spend with their family
  • Whether they get the time to pursue hobbies outside work
  • Whether they find their workload manageable
  • Whether they are able to finish their work in prescribed office hours

Answers to these statements provide actionable feedback to HRs or managers.

Simply, turn these statements into questions for employees to answer.

However, also note that your questions are not leading employees to give a specific answer that you expect to hear from them.More on this under ‘employee survey question pitfalls to avoid'.

Choose the right type of employee survey question

Along with writing the right employee survey questions, gathering employee feedback using the correct scale is also important.

When framing your employee survey question, ask yourself: what is the ‘type’ of answer that you wish to hear from employees.

Is it a mere yes/no answer? Or, do you want to dig a little deeper?

Do you want employees to write freely about an experience? Or, give them options to choose from?

Answers to these questions will help you choose the format of your employee survey questions.

For example, if you want to simply know if your employees get enough time with family post work to gauge their work-life balance, you can ask them a yes/no question. If you want to know it in a little more detail, a 1-5 scale, with one being ‘completely disagree’ and 5 being ‘completely agree’ could be a better choice.

Simply put, based on whatever the expected response is or responses are, choose the type of question you want to ask.

For your convenience, we are mentioning here the widely used scales.

Yes/No

The simplest of all survey questions. Ask a direct question where the expected answer is only two - either a yes or a no.

Multiple-choice questions

Want to give employees the choice to choose beyond a yes or no answer? This is the type of question you go for if you want to give employees multiple choices to choose from.

Checkboxes

Want to allow your employees to choose more than one answer? Then move to checkboxes from multiple choice.

Ranking scale

The ranking scale allows respondents to rank the given choices in the order of their preference. This is especially helpful when you need to understand how employees feel about certain aspects of an organization in relation to others.

Rating scale

On a scale of 0-10, 0-100 or similar, employees get to choose the number that is closest to their answer. This moves the block from mere black and white - yes or no answers - to more nuanced answers.

Rating scales are most popularly used to identify employee net promoter score (eNPS) - how likely is an employee to recommend the company to friends or family.

Likert scale

One of the most preferred choices for employee survey questions, the Likert scale - a type of rating scale - gives employees a range of options to give specific feedback. These scales range from ‘completely agree’ to ‘disagree’ or say, ‘most likely’ to ‘never’.

Text Box

A blank space when you want your employees to give elaborate answers that go beyond the options you can give. This is often used when you want to gather additional information.

Keep it short and concise.

Both your survey questions and the employee survey itself.

There are so many different types of employee survey questions you can ask but if you create a survey with an endless number of questions, your employees will never get to the last question, compromising on the quality of insights. Moreover, you’ll be washed away by a flash flood of unnecessary permutations and combinations of data.

Of course, if there are big ideas that you want to explore, break them down into smaller questions.

For instance, if you want to understand if employees are satisfied with the recognition they get within the organization, you might want to ask two questions - one, about the frequency of recognition they get and the other about the ‘type’ of recognition. This way, there will be more clarity in the answers.

But at the same time, don’t forget your audience. To get positive, faster, and guaranteed responses from them, keep your surveys short and concise including your questions.

Want help with choosing the right employee survey questions?

Check out 50+ employee survey templates on CultureMonkey’s platform and customize them to suit the unique needs of your organization. Run these surveys via CultureMonkey and get access to results in minutes.

Depending on what you hope to measure and improve using your employee survey, the meaning of your survey changes. Let your survey objective - what you want to learn from the employee survey - be the cornerstone for your journey.

What questions to ask in an employee survey?

We tend to use terms such as employee satisfaction, motivation, employee engagement, and culture very loosely.

The truth is, they aren’t all one and the same thing!

In that sense, employee engagement surveys, employee satisfaction surveys, employee experience surveys, and culture surveys can’t be the same either - they do not measure the same outcomes!

We would highly recommend not falling for a survey just because it is called one of the above.

Rather, depending on what you hope to measure and improve using your employee survey, the meaning of your survey changes. Let your survey objective - what you want to learn from the employee survey - be the cornerstone for your journey.

Pro tip: Do not start by naming your employee survey as satisfaction, motivation, wellbeing, culture, or engagement survey, instead define your objective and find questions that help you achieve that objective.If you are hiring a consultant or an employee survey platform to do the job for you, convey your objective to them and how they can help you meet your end goal. On the other hand, if you are planning to run the survey on your own, let your objective and what you hope to learn from the survey guide you to the right questions. What you need are validated and reliable questions that measure aspects that you want insights about; an effort that will go awry if you simply pick and choose employee survey questions from one of those many random lists on the internet.

Choose any employee survey and you’ll ideally be measuring employee’s perception, behavior, and attitude towards an organization across 15 drivers, in varying capacities. These 15 drivers have, time and again, emerged in researches as consistent factors with a direct impact on employee productivity, commitment, and loyalty to an organization.

15 Drivers to Measure Employee Behavior, Attitudes & Perceptions About a Workplace
  • Rewards
  • Recognition
  • Autonomy
  • Work-life Balance
  • Work Environment
  • Management
  • Leadership
  • Innovation
  • Involvement
  • Growth & Development
  • Social Connection
  • Purpose Alignment
  • Meaningful Work
  • Communication
  • Wellness

To make choosing or writing employee survey questions easier for you, we have listed down the best survey questions for each of these 15 drivers. You can choose questions that are relevant to your employee survey’s objective and the learning that you wish to gain from the survey.

Employee Survey Questions on Rewards

Rewards are basic to an employee-employer relationship.

For the efforts and commitment your staff demonstrates at work, they naturally expect direct returns.

These tangible and intangible returns include their salary, bonus, monetary rewards, and additional perks - stock options, unlimited leave policies, and more.

But here’s something you need to know.

Yes, money matters to the extent where employees feel a basic level of satisfaction and fairness. Post that, employee engagement is largely dependent on the other 14 factors defined here.

Do you feel fairly rewarded (salary and compensation) for your contribution to work?

Are you satisfied with the additional perks (benefits and bonuses) your organization provides?

Do you have a clear understanding of what you can do to see an increased reward for your work?

Do you feel that employee rewards are handled fairly in your organization?

Employee Survey Questions on Recognition

People want to feel appreciated at work and otherwise.

It is an important factor that encourages people to do more and be more.

Now, when measuring employee engagement or employee satisfaction at your organization, it is crucial to understand how appreciated and valued employees feel at work.

And when it comes to building your culture, establish the practice of recognizing behaviors that you want to be part of your culture. For example, client centricity, integrity, innovation, etc.

The more you recognize the right behavior, the more it will become enmeshed within your culture.

Have you felt appreciated at work in the last 30days?

Do you feel like you are a valued member of the team?

Is the recognition that you get from your manager meaningful enough?

Employee Survey Questions on Autonomy

Autonomy means giving employees the agency to do their work well.

Of course, not all organizations can have the same level of autonomy.

While some may be able to give flexible work timing, others might be able to give only the freedom to do the work in the way the employee chooses but within a specified deadline.

Whatever autonomy looks like for an organization, there are two counterproductive traits to autonomy - micromanagement and control - that all organizations must steer clear of.

Do you have access to tools and resources to do your job well?

Do you have the flexibility to do your work well?

Do you feel that your job responsibilities are clearly defined?

Do you have the freedom to put your best foot forward?

Employee Survey Questions on Work-Life Balance

Sometimes an overworking employee can look like an engaged one. But that may not be true.

A lack of work-life balance will only push the employee to the edge of disengagement and burnout.

Rather, a fully engaged and productive employee is one who feels he/she isn’t making compromises in their personal or professional lives.

Especially with the Millenials and Gen Zs, work-life balance is a crucial determinant of loyalty and employee retention.

Do you often have to compromise on your personal life to meet your professional commitments?

Are you aware of workplace policies and practices that facilitate work-life balance?

Do you often miss personal commitments to meet professional timelines?

Do you have enough energy to do the things you need to post work?

Employee Survey Questions on Work Environment

Physical workspace and who and how employees are sharing their workspace with having a significant impact on the productivity and motivation levels of employees.

And not just an aesthetically appealing workspace but a safe one is also important.

Ultimately, you want your employees to be at their productive best. And if their work environment is a hindrance to it, then you’ll definitely want to do something about it.

Do you feel at ease when you’re around others at work?

Do you think your work environment enables you to be more productive?

Do you find your work environment safe?

Do you think your work environment is inclusive?

Employee Survey Questions on Management

A manager-employee relationship lies at the heart of employee engagement.

A manager can greatly influence an employee’s perception and attitude towards work and the organization.

We all have had experiences where we chose to stay or quit an organization because of a manager.

Do we need to say more?

Do you think your manager is the right fit for the role?

Does your manager value your opinions?

Do you receive timely constructive feedback from your manager about your work?

Do you think your manager treats everyone on the team equally?

Employee Survey Questions on Leadership

Trust in the leadership equates to trust in the organization.

And trust is built in small moments - when leadership communicates effectively with employees, is visible and seen often, acknowledges other employees, cares for the people, and demonstrates the capability to scale the company.

Do you trust what the leadership has to say?

Do you believe the leadership has the expertise to take the organization to new heights?

Do leaders consider the impact of their decision on employees?

Are leaders approachable and friendly?

Employee Survey Questions on Innovation

Companies grow when they constantly innovate. And employees feel engaged when they are able to explore, ideate, and grow.

Companies grow when they constantly innovate. And employees feel engaged when they are able to explore, ideate, and grow.

However, most organizations - with time- fall into a rhythm where there could be a resistance to change. This directly stands in the way of innovation.

Are employees encouraged to try new ideas at your organization?

Are you afraid of the consequences if you make a mistake at work?

Is ‘we’ve always done things this way' a hurdle within your team?

Does the leadership encourage employees to share ideas and views?

Employee Survey Questions on Involvement

Who wouldn’t want to be fully involved in the work that they do - especially if it is challenging, and the environment they work in is supportive.

And the more involved the employees are, the more passionate they will be about their work and thereby, more happy and engaged.

Is it easy to get work done in this organization?

Do you get to do challenging work here?

Do people work well together in this organization?

Are you involved in decisions that impact your work?

Employee Survey Questions on Growth and Development

Employees want to work for an employer that will upgrade their skills, give them opportunities to grow professionally and climb the ladder of success.

When employees do not see the possibility for growth and development within an organization, it causes disengagement, and eventually, they will quit the organization for a better opportunity.

Do you feel that you are growing professionally?

Do you feel your job allows you to develop new skills?

Are you satisfied with the opportunities for you to grow and learn in this organization?

Has anyone in the last six months spoken to you about your professional growth?

Employee Survey Questions on Social Connection

You cannot take the human side out of people. We are social animals, at work and outside.

Employees who are able to build even a single bond of friendship within the organization are believed to stay with the organization for longer.

Employees' social connections are a strong indicator of employee engagement and thereby, retention within the organization.

Do you feel comfortable asking your colleague/s for help?

Do you have at least one person who you can call a friend at work?

Do you feel your manager is supportive?

Can you fall back on your team to help you in case of any personal crisis?

Employee Survey Questions on Purpose Alignment

What motivates people to truly wake up in the morning and come to work is when they have a view of the larger picture - how their efforts are contributing to the success of the company.

When employees know the impact of their work, they are committed to working harder and connecting more emotionally with the vision of the organization.

Do you feel aligned with the company’s goals?

Are you aware of how your work contributes to the company’s success?

Do you know what is expected of you at work?

Are you aware of the vision of the organization?

Employee Survey Questions on Meaningful Work

Meaningful work means how much value an employee gives his/her work.

Based on various factors that are often very personal, employees either find their work meaningful or not.

And if they find their work meaningful, they are bound to engage and contribute more.

Do you feel like your work is creating an impact?

Do you find your job exciting and challenging?

Do you feel your skills and abilities are being engaged to the fullest at work?

Do you feel happy coming to work every morning?

Employee Survey Questions on Communication

Any relation is as good as the communication between the people involved.

In an organization, the ease and quality of inter-team, intra-team, top-bottom, and bottom-up communication defines an employee’s ability to voice their opinions and be heard; which, in turn, impacts employee engagement.

Do you have tools and platforms to collaborate with your team effectively?

Are you regularly updated about the company’s growth, progress, policies, etc.?

Do you find it easy to share your thoughts and opinions in this organization?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your manager’s openness to receiving opinions and ideas?

Employee Survey Questions on Wellness

Employees want to know that the organization cares for them as individuals.

Beyond just resources that deliver results, when organizations show empathy towards employees, it translates into engagement.

And the best way for an organization to care for employees is by focusing on their wellness.

Do you feel your organization is concerned about every employee’s wellbeing?

Do you find stress manageable at work?

Are you aware of the policies and programs at your organization for employee wellness?

Do you often feel very tired at work?

Sample employee survey templates & when you should use them

Employee satisfaction survey

Employee satisfaction surveys are a quick dip-stick to gauge how content your employees are at work. This employee survey will let you know the overall mood of the organization i.e how much percentage of employees are satisfied at work and how many aren’t.

The insights you derive from your employee satisfaction survey will help you understand if your employees are willing to wake up every morning and come to work and that they are not actively looking out for another job.

Pretty much scratching the surface of understanding an employee, we would say.

Sample Employee Satisfaction Survey Template

On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you to come to work?

On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend your workplace to friends or family?

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your company’s culture?

On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to accept an opportunity that gives you a 10% hike from your current salary?

On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your working relationship with colleagues?

On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you with your manager?

On a scale of 1-10, how much do you like the work that you do here?

On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your work-life balance?

Employee engagement survey

If you want to delve a little deeper into what’s working and not working at your organization, then an employee engagement survey is your best bet.

Employee engagement surveys usually touch upon all 15 drivers and unearth insights on how much an employee feels motivated to go above and beyond the call of duty at work. An engaged employee doesn’t just do the work but is also constantly thinking of the organization as their own and looking for means to improve and enhance operations.

Actively engaged employees are the best an organization can ever ask for.

But to truly engage employees, you should constantly keep a tab on the 15 factors that directly impact engagement.

Sample Employee Engagement Survey Template

I feel fairly rewarded (pay, benefits, promotion) for my contribution to work.

I find stress manageable at work.

I know what is expected of me at work.

I have the freedom and flexibility to do my job well.

I feel like my work is creating an impact.

It is easy to get work done in this organization.

I have at least one person who I can call a friend at work.

I have been appreciated at least once in the last 30 days.

I believe that the leadership can take the organization to new heights.

I am encouraged to share new ideas in this organization.

My work environment helps me be productive.

I am able to balance my personal and professional commitments seamlessly.

My organization regularly shares company updates with us.

I am happy with the relationship I share with my manager.

I am aware of how my work contributes to the company’s success.

I have access to resources to do my job well.

I find my job exciting and challenging.

I am satisfied with the opportunities to grow and learn here.

I feel comfortable asking my colleagues for help.

My organization is concerned for my well-being.

I feel like a valued member of my team.

Someone has spoken to me about my career and progression in the last 60 days.

The leadership is transparent in its communication.

I am involved in decisions that impact my work.

My manager trusts me to do good work without looking over my shoulders.

Employee survey on culture

Culture is what makes you a dream company to work for.

A great culture attracts top talent like bees to nectar.

Workplace culture is the sum total of all the values and beliefs that shape the attitude and behaviors of employees at an organization.

When you are looking to assess and improve the defining factors of your organizational culture is when you should run this survey.

Sample Organizational Culture Survey Template

People from all backgrounds are treated fairly at my organization.

The work environment here helps me be more productive.

I know what behaviors and values are appreciated here.

I am provided with the tools and resources to do my work well.

I feel like a valued member of the organization.

The leadership is capable of taking the organization to success.

There is a strong emphasis on employee well-being.

My levels of stress feel manageable.

It is easy to get work done here.

My manager respects me as an individual.

I think my manager is the right fit for the role.

I’m fairly rewarded (pay, benefits, promotion) for my contribution at work.

We are regularly updated about the organization’s progress, policies, and more.

I don’t have to compromise on other things that are important to me to meet work deadlines.

I’m aware of the growth and learning opportunities in the organization.

People work well together in this organization.

Employee problems and complaints are effectively handled.

Employees are encouraged to try need ideas to improve business.

Everyone here is mostly aware of what drives our success as an organization.

I feel confident that my organization can effectively handle change or crisis.

I know how my work adds value to the organization.

I am satisfied with the opportunities to share my thoughts, concerns, and opinions.

I am at ease when I'm around others at work - regardless of their title, position, or stature.

I’m satisfied with the opportunities for career progression and development I get here.

I will recommend my company to my friends and family.

Employee wellbeing survey

Employee wellbeing is an emerging topic and in the light of the pandemic has gained great popularity among HRs.

Employee wellbeing is mainly about reducing work-related stress and instituting incentives for healthy living. The focus here is on the physical, mental, and psychological health of an employee.

Sample Wellbeing Survey Template

My organization is concerned about employee wellbeing.

I feel well supported by my manager at all times.

Our leaders consider the impact of their decision on employees.

The frequency of communication from senior leaders is good.

I feel confident that my team will support me through any crisis.

I am able to effectively manage both my personal and professional commitments.

I am aware of practices and programs within my organization for employee wellbeing.

Manager effectiveness survey

Managers are the microcosm of an organization.

Employees don’t often quit the organization, they quit their managers.

Therefore, managers' effectiveness as people leaders is of utmost importance to organizations.

Manager Effectiveness Survey Template

I have been appreciated by my manager at least once in the last 30 days.

I feel like a valued member of the team.

My manager sets reasonable deadlines.

I have enough flexibility and freedom to do my job well.

My manager proactively discusses my career and aspirations.

My manager directs me to sufficient learning and development opportunities at work.

My manager communicates what is expected of me in this role.

My manager offers constructive feedback and timely guidance.

My manager treats everyone on the team fairly.

My manager involves me in decisions that directly impact my work.

I know my manager has the necessary skills & expertise to lead the team to success.

I feel comfortable reaching out to my manager for help.

New ideas and suggestions are welcomed by my manager.

I feel confident to take risks at work as I have my manager’s support.

My manager recognizes the importance of my personal/family life.

My workload is reasonable for my role.

My manager shares with the team the vision, mission, and larger goals of the organization.

My manager provides clear goals for the team.

My manager should continue…

My manager should stop…

Employee experience survey

Unlike employee engagement, culture, or satisfaction surveys, employee experience surveys gauge an employee’s experience across various touchpoints.

For example, your new hire survey will check in on how a new employee's onboarding journey has been. Insights from this employee survey will help you improve the experience of new hires.

Similarly, lifecycle surveys are another apt example of employee experience surveys. It gathers information on an employee’s experience at the organization over a 30, 60, 90, 120 day period until their exit.

Or, consider the exit interview/survey. Here again, we are seeking to find out an employee’s experience of the organization.

In all of these surveys, our attempt is to improve an ‘experience’ for the employees.

Employee Experience Survey Template

The goals and objectives of my onboarding have been clear.

I have been informed about what is expected of me.

I understand the benefits and policies of this organization.

I have been provided with the materials and resources needed to do my job.

My manager has been supportive throughout the onboarding journey.

My job responsibilities are what I expected them to be.

I understand this company’s culture, mission, and values.

I feel comfortable reaching out to my coworkers for help.

The training I have received so far has been effective.

Bonus

If you are worried about survey fatigue that comes with long-form surveys or if you want to track the progress of your efforts towards employee engagement consistently and in real-time, then try pulse surveys.

Pulse surveys are when you either:

  • Ask not more than 4-5 questions repeatedly over regular intervals to gauge the progress in certain areas
  • Ask short and fewer questions to get instant employee feedback on a recent policy change, merger, etc.

For instance, want to keep a tab on work-life balance over a period of time?

Choose 1-2 questions, define a frequency (monthly, quarterly, etc.), and assess the changes in work-life balance over a period of time. This will help you closely monitor the impact of your actions to improve the work-life balance.

Common mistakes in employee survey questions you must avoid

Using industry jargon

Do you have the bandwidth to do all of the tasks assigned to you?,
vs.
Do you have enough time to complete all the tasks assigned to you?

Simplify questions to make them easy for employees to understand

Ultimately, how well they understand a question is how well they will answer it.

Any misunderstanding can skew your data and insights in the wrong direction.

Writing leading questions

“Don’t you think your manager is supportive at work?”

A question like this already puts an answer in the employee’s mouth, completely negating the point of writing employee survey questions.

Instead ask:

“Is your manager supportive at work?”

This question encourages an honest response. Instead, if your question already has an implied answer, your staff is going to feel coerced into agreeing with what you say.

Remember to read through your employee survey questions again to ensure you haven’t accidentally put in a leading question.

Including double-barreled questions

Any question that introduces more than one issue will make it difficult for employees to give the right answer.

For example,

“Do you feel that your organization has a great work culture with supportive leadership?”

This question actually asks two things:

If the work culture is great.

And, if the leadership is supportive.

Ask these questions as two separate questions. Clubbing the two will confuse employees and give you inaccurate data to work with.

Incomplete employee survey questions

Ensure the answer options are exhaustive and include all possible choices for employees.

Just in case, you are not able to predict all answers or are unsure, add an open field as ‘other’ for employees to add in their response if it is any different from the options available.

Asking too many open-ended questions

Always remember, while employees would love to see their feedback valued and being acted on, they would still not place as much value and importance on it as you do.

Let’s accept this: filling an employee survey will always be secondary to their work commitments and even personal plans.

So keep these employee surveys as short and crisp as possible.

And one way to do that is by avoiding the overuse of open-ended questions.

Use open-ended questions only when you think you need more information about a certain driver or aspect.

Overdo it and it’ll result in survey fatigue and low response rates.

Book recommendation

Want to learn more about writing survey questions?

Check out “The Art of Asking Questions” by Stanley Payne

Finally

Your employee survey is only as good as the survey questions you ask.

If you don’t get the start right with the right employee survey questions, then your efforts are bound to fall like a pack of cards.

If you are serious about running employee surveys, we would recommend choosing an employee survey platform (and not just because we are one!) that will give you choices of validated and reliable employee survey questions that are also customizable for your organization.

One place where most pre-built survey platforms fail is in running the same set of questions for all organizations. While it is a great benchmarking metric, it miserably fails to capture the uniqueness of the organization.

And on the other hand, running an employee survey on your own is tedious, to say the least. Imagine putting in all that manual effort to write questions, aggregate data, analyze the results, present it to the leadership, and then drive an action plan around it.

Want help with choosing the right employee survey questions?

Choose from 50+ employee survey templates (Employee engagement, manager effectiveness, pulse survey, lifecycle, new hire, and more)

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