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25 Employee Engagement Survey Questions Every Leader Should Consider

May 5, 2022
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9 mins

Employee engagement surveys are a key way to build an engaged and productive team. Ask these 25 engagement survey questions to assess and improve your company initiatives.

Lawrence Barker
Employee engagement surveys are a key way to build an engaged and productive team. Ask these 25 engagement survey questions to assess and improve your company initiatives.

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There aren’t many topics everyone agrees on in business. 

But ask a hundred leaders whether they’d prefer a team of disengaged employees or a team of engaged employees and chances are they’ll agree that the answer is: engaged employees (by far). 

Leaders intuitively know that employees who are excited about their jobs and feel connected to their company are better for business. Engaged employees are more productive, loyal, and present. They enjoy their jobs and are more likely to achieve great results. 

But how do you know if your employees are actually engaged? Start by sending regular employee engagement surveys.

Why are regular surveys a sure-fire way to measure employee engagement?

Employee engagement is a measurement of how your employees feel about their work and your company. Just like any other feeling or emotion, engagement will ebb and flow over time. 

That’s why using regular surveys to measure employee engagement is key. 

Engagement is driven by many different factors, most of which are hard to isolate. Regular surveys over time allow you to establish a baseline and to keep your finger on the pulse of how engaged your employees are. As you make changes throughout your organization, consistent surveys help you gain insight into how those changes are affecting engagement. 

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Structuring your employee engagement survey

Building an effective employee engagement survey is part art and part science.

You’ll want to be strategic about the questions you’re asking, but simply copying and pasting someone else’s survey is a recipe for failure. A better approach is to first understand the fundamentals of how to build an engagement survey, then to get into specific questions you can use. 

So before jumping into specific survey questions, here are a few foundational things you should know:

  • Question consistency is important. While it’s fine to adjust survey questions over time, you should aim to keep the core questions you use to measure engagement consistent. Remember, surveys help you establish a baseline and see changes. If you’re constantly changing your questions, this will be difficult or impossible.

  • Use structured questions and answers for easier analysis. A good example of a structured engagement survey question is the standard employee net promoter score (eNPS) question. Typically, you’ll ask something like, “How likely are you to recommend us as a place to work for your family and friends?” Employees will respond on a scale of 1-10, and you’ll measure eNPS by subtracting the percentage of detractors (scores of 0-6) from the percentage of promoters (scores of 9-10). The structured approach enables easy analysis and comparison against other companies (so you know how you’re doing relative to your industry benchmark).

  • Open-ended questions are useful for gathering context and specifics. Open-ended questions help you get the full picture of engagement. It’s often useful to follow up a structured question (like eNPS) with an open-ended question, such as “Why did you choose that score?” or “What actions could we take to improve the score you chose?” Questions like these give your employees the freedom to share whatever’s on their minds.

25 employee engagement survey questions

We’ve compiled 25 employee engagement survey questions below. Most of these are examples of structured questions, and you can have employees respond on a 1-10 scale or a Likert scale

Feel free to add open-ended questions to dive deeper into specific areas, just be cautious about making your survey too long. You’ll need to find a balance that works for you, but typically the longer the survey, the lower the response rate. 

Core engagement questions

These are examples of core questions you can ask to understand your employee’s engagement with your company. They’ll help you assess how connected your employees feel to your organization and highlight areas you need to work on.

  1. I am proud to work for [company].
  2. I would recommend [company] as a great place to work (note: this is a common variation of the eNPS question).
  3. I still see myself working at [company] two years from now.
  4. If you were offered the same job at another organization, how likely is it that you would stay with [company].
  5. Overall, I am satisfied working for [company].
  6. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you feel like you belong in this organization?

Jon Hill, CEO at executive search firm The Energists, shared that last question. 

“Belonging is crucial for all other aspects of engagement, and it comes from feeling respected, heard, and valued in the workplace,” he says. “When [our score at this question] is lower than we’d like, I’ll meet with individual team leaders to review how they’re giving feedback and praise to their reports. We also look at these responses along demographic lines to determine if we need to do more work on inclusion and bias reduction.”

Leadership questions

It’s often said that “people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers.” These survey questions will help your leadership team understand employee perception around goal-setting, communication, and their direct managers. They’ll also help you catch issues early so that you can provide appropriate training and support where needed.

  1. I find the mission of [company] to be meaningful and motivating.
  2. The leadership of [company] clearly communicates the goals and strategy.
  3. I believe the strategy set by leadership is taking [company] in the right direction.
  4. My manager cares about me as a person.
  5. My direct manager is a great role model for employees.

Enablement questions

It’s hard to stay engaged with your job if you feel unsupported or unequipped. These questions will help you uncover areas where you can invest to make your employees more effective in their roles.  

  1. I have access to the tools I need to do my job well.
  2. I know what is expected of me to be successful in my role.
  3. Generally speaking, the processes and systems we have in place at [company] help us work together effectively.
  4. I get enough feedback to understand if I’m doing my job well.

Learning and development questions

Opportunities to learn and grow are the top driver of workplace culture. Study after study shows how important learning and development (L&D) is to employee satisfaction and retention. Questions like these will help you understand if your employees feel their expectations around growth at work are being met. 

  1. I feel that I’m growing professionally.
  2. My job enables me to learn and develop new skills.
  3. My manager has shown a genuine interest in my career goals and aspirations.
Source: direct quote from Harriet Willmott at Remotion

Recognition and compensation questions

Asking about compensation can be tricky when about half of employees feel they are underpaid for their roles. But compensation is a vital part of employee engagement and retention, so you can’t ignore it. Surveying your team about their entire compensation package—salary, benefits, and other forms of recognition—is the best way to understand their overall perception. 

  1. If I do great work here, I know that it will be recognized.
  2. I am satisfied with the current benefits offered by [company] (excluding your salary).
  3. I feel that I am fairly compensated for the work I do at [company].
  4. The processes for determining pay at [company] seem fair and unbiased.

Open-ended questions

As mentioned before, you can drill down into any of the above areas by following up a structured question with an open-ended question. On top of that, it’s often useful to include a few places for employees to provide general feedback about their experience at your company. 

While open-ended questions aren’t as easy to analyze, they’re often a gold mine of candid feedback and improvement ideas that you’d do well to capitalize on.

  1. What are your suggestions for what [company] could do differently or could improve right now?
  2. Is there anything preventing you from doing your job well?
  3. What’s working really well?

Emily Sander, Chief of Staff at FusionZONE Automotive and certified coach at Next Level Coaching, is a big fan of this last question because of how flexible it is. “You can preface this with whatever context is most relevant or helpful—make it big picture and company-wide, or focus it on a specific team or process.” 

How often should you send employee engagement surveys?

Think of engagement surveys as you do with medical checkups. It’s important to do them regularly enough to get ahead of potential issues and keep a healthy workplace culture. If you do them too often, people will start skipping them or will get annoyed. 

At Kona, we do a whole company engagement survey each quarter. 

We think this is a good default rhythm for most companies. It gives you several data points across each year to check engagement, but it’s not so frequent that you’ll risk frustrating your employees. We also supplement these quarterly engagement surveys with daily check-ins through Kona, the product, which helps managers know how their team members are feeling and builds camaraderie and rapport across the board.

What to do with the results from an employee engagement survey?

An employee engagement survey that doesn’t lead to action is a waste of everyone’s time. Once you’ve received feedback from your team, here’s a crash course on how to take advantage of it:

  1. Thank your team. Providing candid feedback to your employer is an act of trust. Start by letting your team know you’re grateful for their input—good and bad—and you’re working on an action plan.

  2. Analyze results. Your survey software may make high-level analysis easy, but don’t stop there. Look at the data to understand your biggest strengths and opportunities as an organization. If it’s not your first survey, then compare your results with previous surveys to identify trends and changes.

  3. Share results transparently. After you’ve digested the results, share them with your entire company. While each employee may not need every detail, make sure they’re familiar with the broad themes, strengths, and opportunities. Don’t gloss over or ignore constructive feedback.

  4. Cascade down. You’ll only be able to tackle some issues at the company level. Every employee’s experience is significantly impacted by their team and manager, so empower your managers to share additional details, solicit additional feedback, and take action directly with their teams.

  5. Create action plans. You probably can’t solve every problem, so prioritize and focus on areas likely to have the largest impact. Create clear action plans with deadlines, then share them with your employees so they can hold you accountable.
  6. Take action and follow up. Deliver against your action plans on the timeline you promised. We can’t overstate how important this is. Your employees will notice if you’re dropping the ball and not responding to their feedback. On the other hand, don’t take it for granted that they’ll see the progress you’re making. Create an avenue to regularly share updates with them on how you’re performing against your engagement goals and action plans. 

When combined with analysis and an effective action plan, an employee engagement survey becomes a powerful tool for continuously building a better company culture. While we’ve tried to provide a great selection of survey questions to make launching your engagement survey easy, it’s in the follow-up and taking action that most companies get stuck.

This isn’t easy work. But it’s worthwhile, and it’s what separates the good companies from the great ones.

Meet the Author

Lawrence Barker

Lawrence uses his decade of customer experience leadership to create content for B2B SaaS companies that love their customers. He writes on a broad range of topics, all with the aim of helping human-centered companies attract the right customers and empower them to be successful.

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