A Complete Guide to Employee Engagement Surveys with Sample Questions

How to develop, conduct and best utilize an employee engagement survey

Written by Kate Heinz
Published on Sep. 24, 2019
A Complete Guide to Employee Engagement Surveys with Sample Questions

High levels of employee engagement help companies retain top talent and achieve their business goals. If you’re looking to boost engagement in your office, start by first assessing where you’re at. An employee engagement survey is a quick and cost-effective way to get a sense of how your employees view their role, work and your company. You can then use the results to inform and make improvements to your workforce engagement strategy. Read on for a comprehensive guide to successfully create, conduct and utilize an employee engagement survey.


Free Guide: How Marketing and People Teams Can Work Together

Putting your marketing and talent acquisition teams’ efforts toward a single strategy makes branding twice as effective and half as expensive.

Table of Contents


Recap: What Is Employee Engagement?

Image via Shutterstock

Employee engagement is defined as the extent to which employees feel passionate about their work and the company they work for. Employee engagement is often confused with employee satisfaction, which refers to an individual’s level of happiness at work. While satisfaction plays a part in keeping employees engaged, workforce engagement runs deeper. 

Engaged employees use discretionary effort, meaning they voluntarily go the extra mile at work. They want to perform well in their role and help the company achieve its long-term goals. Ultimately, employee engagement indicates how strongly a workforce believes in an organization’s mission and the role each individual plays in getting the company there.


Employee Engagement Definition

Employee engagement is defined as the extent to which employees feel passionate about their work and the company they work for.


Why Is Employee Engagement Important?

Image via Shutterstock

A highly engaged workforce has a tremendously positive impact on its company’s success. Don’t believe us? Take a look at some of the most impactful employee engagement statistics below.


Highly engaged employees are 87% less likely to seek alternative employment. 

Your recruiters work tirelessly to ensure the best candidates are on your team, and prioritizing employee engagement is key to retaining top talent


Companies with a highly-engaged workforce have 41% lower absentee rates.

Engaged employees are invested in their work and can be counted on to show up, leading to lower absentee rates for the company.


High levels of employee engagement yield a 17% increase in productivity.

An engaged workforce will give its all to help your organization achieve its goals, which translates to increased employee productivity.


Evaluating Employee Engagement

Image via Shutterstock

It goes without saying that boosting employee engagement can do wonders for your business. Before doubling down on your efforts, use an employee engagement survey to take stock of where you’re at with your current strategy. Chances are, your impression of your employees’ engagement is different from their own.

According to G2, 66% of HR representatives feel that employee engagement has improved in their organization over the past year, while only 34% of employees report being more engaged with their work. By regularly evaluating your workplace engagement, you can mitigate this disconnect and identify how effective — or ineffective — your employee engagement strategy is.

Below are five steps to successfully evaluate your strategy using an employee engagement survey.


Step 1: Provide Context

Always give your employees a reason as to why you’re conducting an employee engagement survey. Without providing context, employees may view the survey as a time suck and something they can quickly fill out between meetings. By emphasizing the importance and impact it can have on your company, your team will be more likely to provide genuine feedback on how they view their engagement in the workplace.


Step 2: Establish a Benchmark

Having a baseline to compare survey results against will help you better understand how your employee engagement efforts are working and what you may need to improve on. Analyze key employee engagement metrics such as an employee’s relationship with their manager, opportunities for growth and your employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). To start, use industry benchmarks for drivers of employee engagement, paying particular attention to the scores of companies similar to yours. Once you’ve established a cadence for evaluating your employee engagement, use your quarterly or annual data as a baseline.




Step 3: Implement the Survey

It’s important to make employee engagement pulse surveys a part of day-to-day operations. While there’s never a bad time to evaluate your employees’ engagement, when and how you implement surveys may have an effect on the results. For example, if you survey your sales team at the end of the month, they’re probably not going to dedicate as much time or be as thoughtful with their responses as they might be after the month’s close. Additionally, they may be anxious about missing their quotas and have less than positive things to report about their work engagement.

Regular evaluations will help you chart employee engagement levels throughout the year and eliminate the influence of variable stressors, thus improving data accuracy. Plus, the repeat check-ins will signal to your team that you truly value their input. Cutting-edge software developments have made it easier to automate your efforts. Utilize employee engagement tools like Officevibe or Emplify to implement more regular surveys while reducing your staff's time commitment.


Step 4: Analyze the Data

Image via Shutterstock

Meeting benchmarks shouldn’t be your primary goal. Be thoughtful with the way you analyze the results — improving a low score should only be a priority if it’s a priority to your employees. Once you’ve reviewed the results, share the findings and the C-Suite’s plan to address weaknesses with the rest of the company.


Step 5: Put the Data to Use

This is arguably the most important part of evaluating employee engagement. Data is as useful as you make it, so follow through on your plan to improve engagement levels. Doing so will earn your team’s trust and reinforce the importance of regular evaluations. Seeing leadership take feedback into account and actively try to improve will encourage employees to complete additional surveys and provide honest feedback.


How to Structure an Employee Engagement Survey

Image via Shutterstock

If you work for a startup or smaller company and don’t have the resources to implement an employee engagement software, you can develop your own survey to poll your team. Because employee engagement is a complex idea with a multitude of influential factors, varying the types of questions asked is crucial to understanding the full picture. 

A successfully structured survey will include Likert scale prompts, ten-point scale questions that help quantify subjective answers and free response questions where employees can provide detailed feedback. Of course, anonymity should be ensured at every stage of the survey. In this section, we’ll dive deeper into the structure and purpose of these types of survey questions.


Likert Scale Questions

The Likert scale is a five-point system used to measure attitudes and opinions. The scale ranges from 1 to 5, with 1 being the negative end of the spectrum (“strongly disagree,” “very dissatisfied,” etc.) and 5 being positive (“strongly agree,” “very satisfied,” etc.). The middle of the scale (3) is representative of a neutral or undecided opinion.

Likert scale questions are structured as a statement, which makes it easy for employees to quickly determine whether or not they agree. Because there is a number assigned to each response, it’s easy to analyze the results. For example, if most employees respond to the statement “I have the resources I need to be successful in my role” with 4s and 5s, your team can feel confident in the way you’ve prepared your staff for their jobs.


Ten-Point Scale Questions

Replacing “Yes or No” responses with a ten-point scale allows you to get more granular with the data. Using the same example question, a ten-point scale could be used to gauge just how prepared and supported in their roles your employees feel. Let’s say 1 is indicative of a negative response ( “definitely not”), 10 represents the positive end of the spectrum (“absolutely”) and 5 is neutral territory (“somewhat”). In this case, mostly 8, 9 and 10 responses should tell you that employees feel mostly well-prepared for their jobs. On the other hand, 2, 3 and 4 responses should signal to your team that you need to improve your onboarding efforts and make additional resources available to your team.


Free Response

Open-ended questions are a great way to get specific details about your employees’ engagement levels. Position free response questions as follow-ups to Likert or ten-point scale questions. You could follow the statement “I have the resources I need to be successful in my role” with an open-ended question that asks, “How does the organization provide you with the resources you need to be successful in your role?” Responses to this question can help you better understand which resources your employees view as valuable assets to their productivity and performance and which you can eliminate.

Don’t make open-ended questions required to submit the survey. Instead, provide them as an option that employees can choose to respond to or skip past. Free response questions add to the time it takes to complete the survey, and while you want quality, detailed responses, the primary objective should be to collect feedback from as many team members as possible. Optional open-ended questions will help strike an appropriate balance.


Sample Employee Engagement Survey Questions

Image via Shutterstock

Now that you know how to structure and conduct an employee engagement survey, let’s dive into the types of questions to include. The following sample questions get at the heart of some of the major drivers of employee engagement and can help you understand your organization’s areas for improvement and what truly matters to your unique workforce. Scaled questions can be rephrased as open-ended questions, and vice versa.


Professional Development Survey Questions

Scaled Questions 

  • I have opportunities to grow in my role.
  • I have opportunities to explore interests that relate to my role.
  • I have opportunities to explore interests outside of my role.
  • I feel that the organization supports my professional development.
  • How would you rate the level of autonomy you have in determining your work?

Free Response Questions

  • How does the organization allow for autonomy within your role?
  • How does your manager allow for autonomy within your role?
  • Do you have opportunities to grow within the company?


Professional Purpose Survey Questions

Scaled Questions 

  • I am proud of the work I do.
  • Most days I feel a sense of accomplishment from my work.
  • I feel that my work serves a purpose.
  • My work is fulfilling.

Free Response Questions

  • Do you feel your role and responsibilities were clearly explained to you? 
  • Do you feel your role has value to the company?
  • How do you feel your work adds value to the company?


Relationship with Manager Survey Questions

Image via Shutterstock


Scaled Questions 

  • My manager always treats me with respect.
  • I feel that I can go to my manager when I have a problem at work.
  • My manager supports my professional growth.
  • My manager is understanding when I have a personal issue that I need to deal with.
  • My manager embodies the organization’s core values on a daily basis.
  • How would you rate your manager’s skill set?

Free Response Questions

  • Do you feel that your manager is friendly and approachable?
  • Do you feel that your manager’s is well-suited for their responsibilities?
  • How does your manager support your professional development?
  • How does your manager ensure your team is achieving its goals?


Relationship with Peers Survey Questions

Scaled Questions 

  • My coworkers were welcoming toward me when I first started at the company.
  • My coworkers show each other respect.
  • My coworkers treat me with respect.
  • I respect and think highly of my coworkers.
  • I feel like I am part of a team at work.
  • How would you rate communication at the organization?

Free Response Questions

  • Do you feel your peers are committed to quality work?
  • How often do you spend time with your coworkers outside of work?
  • Do you feel employees are transparent with one another?
  • Do you enjoy collaborative work with your colleagues?
  • How do your coworkers treat each other with respect?


Company Objectives Survey Questions

Scaled Questions 

  • I understand the company’s mission and long-term goals.
  • My coworkers embody the organization’s values on a daily basis.
  • I am motivated by the organization’s mission.
  • I have confidence in the organization’s leaders.

Free Response Questions

  • Do you feel the company is on track to achieve its goals?
  • How do you think the leaders of the organization embody the core values?
  • How do you think the organization’s strategies are helping to take it in the right direction?


Company Pride Survey Questions

Image via Shutterstock

Scaled Questions 

  • I would recommend the company as a great place to work. 
  • I believe the company will be successful. 
  • I would be happy to be a customer of the organization.
  • I would recommend job openings at the organization to my friends.

Free Response Questions

  • When you tell people what company you work for, how do you feel? 
  • Do you feel the company makes a positive contribution to society?
  • How do people respond when you tell people where you work?
  • Do you feel the organization's brand image is accurate?


Feedback and Recognition Survey Questions

Scaled Questions 

  • My manager provides me with feedback to be successful in my role.
  • My manager recognizes my achievements.
  • I feel my coworkers receive more recognition for their achievements than I do.
  • I am happy with the way the organization recognizes employees.
  • I feel that employees are recognized equally across departments.
  • How would you rate your manager’s feedback style?

Free Response Questions

  • How often do you feel you’re recognized for your achievements? 
  • What would you change about the way your manager provides feedback?
  • Do you feel that recognition is meaningful when you receive it?

Conducting an employee engagement survey requires thoughtful planning and should result in deliberate action. Ensure your team has the bandwidth and resources to carry out a new or updated employee engagement strategy before you survey your team. That way, employees will understand there’s a purpose to the survey and feel inclined to provide their honest feedback.


Free Toolkit: Employee Retention Rate Calculator

Use our template to seamlessly calculate your own employee retention rate.

Hiring Now
Munchkin, Inc.
3D Printing • Consumer Web • eCommerce • Enterprise Web • Kids + Family