Trying to figure out which survey questions to use in an employee satisfaction survey is tough.
You want to know everything, but you have to balance what you want to collect, with trying to not overwhelm employees or influence their answers at all.
Is there a perfect science to it?
Kind of. It really is an art and a science. You want to ask just enough to get everything you need, and do it in a way where employees will be comfortable expressing themselves.
Much easier said than done though, there are so many little things that could go wrong.
But we’re here to help.
Things To Keep In Mind When Designing Surveys
Before we go into each question, I want to share a few tips to keep in mind when you’re creating your survey.
These are important to know, and will make a huge difference in your ability to have a successful survey process.
The biggest mistake I see people make with surveys is that they make them too long.
They want to measure too much, and they don’t take into account how quickly employees tune out (we have incredibly short attention spans).
You should be aggressively eliminating questions before they go out.
One important thing to keep in mind is that with survey fatigue, it’s not simply the number of questions, but also how they’re worded. If your wording on a certain question is too complex, it takes too long for people to figure out what you’re trying to say, and so that survey fatigue will kick in.
My personal goal whenever I create a survey is to have it be not longer than two minutes to take. Ideally shorter, but two minutes is the max I give myself.
As simple as it might seem, the wording on your survey questions is by far the toughest and most important thing to get right.
This is the thing that I personally struggle the most with.
Even if it makes sense to me, will others understand it? More importantly, is the wording going to help me measure what I actually want to measure?
There are three important things to keep in mind here:
- Avoid leading questions that get respondents to lead towards a certain answer. Something like “what do you think of our new amazing website?” is bad because it steers them towards thinking it’s amazing.
- Ask only one question at a time. As an example “Do you like the lunches we serve here? Do you find they’re healthy enough?” are two totally separate questions. When asked together they only lead to confusion.
- Use simple language and avoid any acronyms that not everyone might know. Any chance of confusion is only more opportunity for them to disengage.
Quantitative vs Qualitative
Quantitative questions are numeric, with specific choices (like multiple choice, scale, etc.) These are great for data collection and analysis across the team.
Qualitative are written responses and help you dive deeper to get to the bottom of issues.
Ideally, you should use both in your surveys to get the best response, but be careful how and when you ask them.
I’d recommend starting with a few light and easy quantitative questions to get people comfortable and then introduce a qualitative.
If you have more than one qualitative, I would simply spread them out to avoid having to type too much. That survey fatigue could easily kick in.
Another important thing to keep in mind is the order in which you ask your questions.
Should you ask demographic questions at the beginning or the end? Does it make sense to order them from easiest to hardest?
These are the types of questions you’ll need to ask yourself, but pay attention to the order of the questions.
There should be some logical flow to the survey, so make sure to test it multiple times and potentially with multiple people to get insight into where you can improve.
There are few things more frustrating then being asked to take a survey at your company and have nothing done with the results.
It’s such a tease.
To be asked for your opinion and then not even take the time to do anything about it is not only insulting, but a waste of time and energy.
My advice would be to communicate to employees before you even start the survey. Cover things like:
- why you’re doing the survey
- what you’re planning to do with the results
- when they can expect to hear back from you
- the importance of them being honest
If you want more advice on making sure your survey goes smoothly, read this book about pitfalls to avoid.
Surveys Questions To Use
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here are 20 survey questions you can use in your next survey.
On a scale from 0-10, how happy are you at work this week?
This is a classic question that I love using in all of my surveys.
It’s simple, straightforward, and measures one of the most important things about engagement.
It’s okay to ask this question many times (in theory, every week), so feel free to reuse this question if you run surveys more often through the year.
On a scale from 0-10, how would you rate your work-life balance?
I’ve been saying this for a while now, but I think work-life balance will be the most important engagement issue of the next few years.
It’s the thing that most of us are terrible at.
This is a super important question to ask, and something that every organization should be keeping an eye on.
Do you have a clear understanding of your career path?
If the answer isn’t “Yes, definitely” to this question, it’s a huge issue.
Personal growth and having a career plan is one of the keys to employee engagement.
Managers should be having regular conversations about goals and the future with their employees.
Do you see yourself working here one year from now?
Employee retention is a huge issue for many companies, and this question offers you some insight into whether employees are planning to stay or not.
This question could easily be followed up with a qualitative question digging into why they might stay or leave.
Do you believe your manager takes your feedback seriously?
This question is great for measuring how valued an employee feels at work.
If they feel like their manager isn’t taking their concerns seriously, that’s a major problem that needs to be addressed asap.
On a scale from 0-10, how comfortable do you feel giving feedback to your manager?
Are employees scared to talk openly and honestly with their managers?
They shouldn’t be.
This is something that every organization should keep an eye on. The secret to having engaged employees is by removing that fear from your culture.
Making employees feel comfortable enough to talk to their managers is a great way to remove that fear.
Has your manager given you any recognition in the past two weeks?
One important thing to note about this question is the date range (past 2 weeks). Humans are terrible at remembering things that happened a long time ago (or they remember them inaccurately).
A good tip for surveys is to do them frequently, and ask questions that make employees only recall a short period of time.
When dealing with self-reporting, this is the best way to ensure that your results are as accurate as possible.
On a scale from 0-10, how likely is it that you would recommend our organization’s products or services to a friend or colleague?
This question is what’s known as the employee net promoter score.
We’ve written a lot about the employee net promoter score, and for good reason.
It’s the most powerful way of measuring employee advocacy.
The thinking is, if you truly like an organization, you’d be willing to recommend it.
How proud are you of your employer’s brand?
Measuring pride is an important thing to do, because it shows that employees enjoy where they work and are proud to say where they work.
This is a good sign of engagement and loyalty.
Does your job make good use of your skills?
For employees to be engaged, they need to be evolving and growing. Like I mentioned earlier, personal growth is, in my opinion, the most important metric of engagement.
You don’t want employees sitting at their desks twiddling their thumbs, so this question gives you insight into how well you’re doing of utilizing their full potential.
When something comes up at work, do you know who to ask for help?
Employees need someone at work they can turn to for help, which is why I’ve often recommended mentorship programs or “buddy” programs at work.
If an employee knows they have someone they can always turn to, they’ll be more relaxed and comfortable.
Does your team help you to complete your work?
Teamwork is an important thing to measure when looking at relationship with coworkers.
Instead of only looking at friendships at work (do you eat lunch together, do you consider them friends, etc.) we should also look at how coworkers are affecting your work.
Do your coworkers make you feel included at work?
Research has shown that being ignored at work can be even worse than being bullied.
People need to feel included, and you’ll want to look at this to measure where you stand and what you can do to improve that sense of inclusion.
On a scale from 0-10, how meaningful do you believe your work is?
People need to feel a sense of purpose in their work. They want to know that their work matters, and they’re not just punching in and punching out.
Help employees understand the true meaning behind what they do.
Does your manager make you feel included at work?
It’s important to separate the sense of inclusion from managers and coworkers to see if either one is an issue.
While it’s good to know that coworkers make each other feel included, your relationship with your manager has so much of an effect on you that it’s good to look at as well.
On a scale from 0-10, how well do your personal values align with the company’s values?
For there to be a true “culture fit”, your personal values have to line up with your organization’s values.
Without that, you won’t be true to yourself and will likely be unhappy and unfulfilled.
Are you encouraged to give feedback to your manager?
There was a question earlier about how comfortable you are giving feedback, but even if you’re comfortable with it, are you encouraged to do so? If you do, will you get in trouble?
Managers should be creating an environment where open and honest discussion is encouraged.
Have you noticed your job taking a toll on your personal life?
This is another way to take a look at work-life balance.
Even if they think their work-life balance is good, if they notice their personal life taking a hit, that’s an issue that they might be overworked.
Do you have the flexibility to take time off when you need to?
This goes back to removing that fear from employees.
They should never be scared to use their flextime, and they should feel like they have enough autonomy to manage their work and their own schedule.
Do you believe in the bigger vision of your organization?
Are employees proud of where they work? Do they believe that their company will truly make a difference?
If they believe in their organization’s purpose, they’ll be much more likely to go above and beyond in their work.
Which Survey Questions Do You Use?
Any useful ones to share with our audience? Let us know in the comments below!