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23 questions for your employee engagement survey

August 9, 2019
4 minute read
Last updated January 7, 2020

Thinking of conducting an employee engagement survey? That’s great! Gallup reports that highly engaged organizations have 21% higher profitability

But what questions should you ask to measure employee engagement? And are open-ended employee engagement survey questions better?

First, it’s necessary to consider the four key drivers of engagement: 

  1. Job
  2. Manager
  3. People
  4. Organization

Employees can become disengaged where there’s an imbalance or misalignment in any of these areas.

By asking questions that pertain to each of these categories, you can pinpoint specific problem areas and ensure you’re asking a balanced range of questions. We recommend a combination of open-ended questions and 5-point Likert scale questions.

23 questions to ask on your employee engagement survey

Here are 23 employee engagement survey questions:

(Note: For the first 20 questions, we use a 5-point Likert scale to measure responses from strongly disagree to strongly agree. The last three questions are open-response.)

Questions to measure engagement at the job level

Questions 1-5 help you understand if you’re placing people in the right roles and if your employees have the resources they need to perform at their best.

  • I’m excited about the work I do every day.
  • I have the resources to perform my work at a high level.
  • In my day-to-day work, I’m gaining valuable skills and experience that will help me in my future career.
  • I’m appropriately recognized for a job well done.
  • My work responsibilities do not interfere with my life outside of work.

Questions to measure engagement at the manager level

The purpose of this category is to measure how managers are impacting engagement. Are they creating a work environment that empowers people to thrive?

Questions 6-10 can illuminate how employees feel about their managers and how they’re managed:

  • My manager helps bring the best out of people.
  • I feel comfortable reaching out to my manager when I need their help or support.
  • My manager communicates clear performance expectations to our team.
  • My manager has helped create opportunities for my growth and development.
  • My manager keeps me well informed about what is happening in the organization.

The employees have spoken.

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Questions to measure engagement at the people level

How do your employees feel about the co-workers they interact with daily? 

In their book Connected, authors Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler shared how the people we interact with regularly can massively impact our emotions. They found that a person is 15% more likely to be happy if directly connected to a happy person. Conversely, each unhappy connection decreases the likelihood of happiness by 7%. Your engaged employees are contagious. They motivate the people around them. But your disengaged employees are making an impact, too! 

Questions 11-15 measure how people feel about their colleagues:

  • The people I work with are clear on each person’s roles and responsibilities.
  • The people I work with communicate effectively with each other.
  • When conflict arises, the people I work with resolve it respectfully and quickly.
  • I trust the people I work with to do the right thing.
  • I feel respected by the people I work with.

Questions to measure engagement at the organizational level

The 2019 employee engagement report found that nine out of the 10 top drivers of turnover intent were related to the organization—meaning the primary reason people are quitting is because of their workplace.

Questions 16-20 dig into how workers are connecting with the overall organization and how they feel about the senior leadership team:

  • I believe my organization has an outstanding future.
  • I trust the senior leadership of my organization.
  • The senior leadership of my organization has communicated a vision of the future that motivates me.
  • I believe this company puts as much energy and investment into its people as it puts into achieving its business goals.
  • Our organization is stronger because of its culture.

23 questions to ask on your employee engagement survey

Open-ended employee engagement survey questions

Not all questions need to be asked using a Likert scale or other objective measures. Free-response questions allow you to gather qualitative feedback from your employees that provides insight into their experience in their own words.

Questions 21-23 are open-ended so you can hear exactly what your employees want to tell you:

  • What is one thing about your work experience that is really positive?
  • What is one thing about your work experience that needs significant improvement?
  • What three words or phrases best describe your organization’s culture?

Tailor your engagement survey to your organization.

Remember these are all just suggestions. Your survey should be tailored to what your company is ready and willing to take action on. There’s nothing more disengaging than conducting an employee engagement survey and not doing anything with the results.

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