Top employee engagement survey questions to put to the team

In the not-too-distant past, employers cared far less about their employees and their general level of happiness than they should have done. In many ways, it was a show up, do your job, get paid and go home kind of situation.

Thankfully, we’ve evolved enough to realise that if we want to retain existing, highly experienced and trained staff, we need to focus on the entire employee experience. That means understanding whether employees are happy or whether they would rather be somewhere else entirely.

It makes sense when you delve into the subject a little more. For instance, let’s assume that Sarah has been working in her office job for the last three years.

When she first started, she was full of enthusiasm and had grand ideas of working her way up the ladder and perhaps entering into a managerial role. Three years later and she’s still in the same role, wondering whether she’s gone as far as she can with the company.

Is Sarah happy? You could argue that she must be otherwise she wouldn’t have stayed in the role for three years. But, put yourself in her place. Maybe she feels demoralised.

Maybe her motivation has gone. But, it would only take one small spark of inspiration to make Sarah think, “Hang on a second, maybe I should retrain and go for managerial positions now”, or “I’m going to go for that job I’ve just seen advertised online, I have nothing to lose”.

The company loses an experienced employee as a result of not delving further into Sarah’s situation and asking how it can be improved.

It’s very easy for managers to assume that they have far too much on their plate to think about employee engagement but if you don’t get on this train, it’s going to leave the station extremely quickly, leaving your business firmly in the dust. 

But first, what is employee engagement?

When an employee is engaged in their job, they’re happy, they’re interested in what they’re doing and they’re motivated.

However, when an employee is lacking in engagement, the opposite is true. Their motivation has disappeared and they no longer have the ‘want’ anymore, at least not for the job they’re doing.

A lack of employee engagement simply means that highly qualified and skilled employees will leave the business at some point. Even if they don’t leave, their productivity levels will inevitably drop as a result of low morale.

Engaging your employees at work isn’t as difficult as you might think. It’s often down to treating your employees as individuals, asking what you can do to help, and listening to them.

Making a person feel valued has a huge impact on how they feel about the situation they’re in. The same goes for their working environment.

Put simply, employee engagement occurs when people feel connected to the work they do and the business they work for. They care about their role and the impact they have. They’re motivated, inspired, and feel content in their current situation.

So many things can affect morale within the workplace and the hardest part of it all is that employee engagement is so difficult to measure. There are indicators but sometimes the only way you can measure it is to ask questions and hope that you'll receive honest responses.

But what questions should be asked in an employee engagement survey?

Let’s take a look at some top employee engagement survey questions to help you deduce the overall level of employee engagement and happiness in your workplace. 

It’s best to ask your employees to rate their level of agreement with the question from one to five.

  • 1 - Strongly disagree
  • 2 - Disagree
  • 3 - Neutral
  • 4 - Mostly agree
  • 5 - Strongly agree

15 thought-provoking questions to measure employee engagement

1. I would recommend my workplace to others

This is a good question to start with because most people would only recommend a particular workplace to others if they enjoy it themselves. Employees' responses will speak volumes about your company's culture.

However, it’s important to ask other questions to ascertain just how much they would recommend it. Some people may recommend it not for how the job makes them feel, but for other perks, e.g. pay or holiday entitlement.

2. I feel proud to tell people I work for this company

When we enjoy something, we often feel proud of it. If someone is proud of the work they do for a company, that means they feel proud of the overall package too.

In terms of employee engagement, it’s important for employees to feel like they have a certain amount of pride in the business, otherwise, they may be on the cusp of leaving.

3. I would leave to work for another company if offered a pay rise 

Most people would think twice about this question, but an employee who is fully engaged and who enjoys their work would, in the end, choose to stay in their current role.

It’s difficult to get people to be completely honest when answering this question, but it’s a good way to try and find out what motivates your employees. Whether that’s the job and the way they feel about it, or solely the salary.

But remember, a competitive salary isn't everything. Companies need to build an employee benefits package with perks that employees actually want.

Speaking of, an employee share scheme is a cost-effective, long-term incentive proven to align teams and motivate employees to stick around. 

4. I do not look at other job openings

If any of your employees state that they do regularly look at vacancies, that’s a sure sign that your employees aren’t as engaged as they could be and something needs to change.

Of course, you cannot stop your employees from looking to further advance themselves in their career, but understanding whether they are regularly looking for another job tells you a lot about how they feel when they’re at work.

5. I feel that I can progress within my current role/within the company

A little earlier we gave an example of Sarah, an office worker still in her current role after three years. Some employees don’t want to progress and that’s fine however some do.

If you have many employees who feel like they can’t progress, it may be time to start looking at promotion and development opportunities, before you lose valuable, skilled staff.

6. I feel valued at work

A huge aspect of employee engagement comes down to morale, and in turn, a large amount of morale comes down to feeling valued.

Employees deserve to be treated as human beings, with respect, kindness, and to be consulted on issues that directly affect them. Far too many businesses overlook this fact and as a result, their employees feel undervalued.

7. I feel I'm kept up to date with what is going on within the business

This particular question is not only to find out how employees feel about staying up to date but also how their leaders are performing.

It’s important to keep your employees in the loop about anything that is going on that directly impacts them, but also about the wider picture too.

It’s a far better idea to consult with your employees before making decisions if you want them to feel valued and listened to.

8. I feel I can approach my manager to discuss anything I am worried about

Employees need to feel that their manager is not only approachable but that they’re also someone who is going to listen to what they have to say.

Poor management is one of the main reasons for employees leaving a business and this question gives you a heads up on how your employees feel before the situation worsens.

If an employee is unable to talk about situations or problems that worry them, they’re going to either hold everything inside and their performance at work will suffer, or they’ll simply leave because the situation has become untenable.

9. I feel motivated by the direction in which the company is going

The best businesses have a mission statement that lays out what they want to achieve and the direction in which they want to go. It also talks about their values and what they stand for.

It’s important that your employees agree with this and feel motivated by it. If they don’t, they’re far more likely to feel not only demotivated but also lacking in belief.

If the results of this particular question show that several of your employees don’t feel motivated by the company's direction, it’s time to simplify the message and make sure that it connects with everyone working within your organisation.

10. I have everything I need to perform well within my role

There is nothing more frustrating for an employee than not having what they need to do their job well. That means physical equipment but also training and it's especially important for hybrid and remote teams.

You cannot expect an employee to excel in their role if they’re always compensating for something that isn’t in place. As an employer, it’s your basic responsibility to give your employees what they need.

11. I feel I have access to training and learning opportunities

Not only should employees feel that they’re able to progress in their role, should they want to, but they should also feel safe in the knowledge that they’re able to access further training and learning opportunities should they request them.

This also forms part of your employees having everything they need to do their job well. If they feel they need further training on a particular aspect of their job, perhaps a software package, then they shouldn’t feel worried about approaching their manager to request this.

12. I receive feedback from my managers that is both constructive and motivating

Constructive feedback is vital for continued improvement, however, many managers do not know how to give this effectively. Giving no feedback is just as bad as giving poor feedback.

This question will allow you to measure how secure your employees feel in their role and how they receive feedback. Again, this is a good learning tool for managers.

13. I feel like a strong part of the team

At the heart of employee happiness, is the need to feel like they belong. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves and in their working role.

An employee should feel that they’re a strong and valuable member of the team. And understand exactly how the work they do makes a difference and helps the company achieve its goals.

14. Decisions made by my managers clearly show a strong desire to improve and give a good quality service

When an employee sees that managers are making clear and strong decisions, it helps them to feel safe and part of something that is moving towards greater things.

Poor decision-making simply shows a lack of direction and poor leadership. These are both things that can cause employees to feel demoralised and demotivated.

This also means that employees look to their managers for inspiration. Part of the managerial role is to act as a role model and inspire employees to push forward and improve.

When employees see managers making strong, firm decisions, it’s not only a safety net but also a sense of inspiration. And demonstrates to employees that they're important.

15. What do you feel could be improved within this company?

Giving your employees a free text question at the end of the survey is a great way to get some constructive feedback and comments to take forward.

Make sure you leave enough space for your employees to write whatever they want to, as a short amount of space could indicate that you’re not interested in what they want to tell you.

Asking this question also shows your employees that you’re keen to learn more from them and you want to listen to their suggestions and make use of the ones that could really make a difference to the future of the company and their working experience as a whole. 

Employee engagement surveys are one of the best ways to ascertain the level of employee engagement within your company.

It’s always a good idea to conduct an anonymous survey and make sure that you’re not tracking replies in any way. We use CharlieHR to send out surveys regularly, and all responses are totally anonymous. 

This will help your employees to feel more comfortable being honest, as being identified could make them feel like they can’t speak their minds without consequences.

Focusing on engagement and understanding its importance will help you to move forward as a business while also ensuring the retention of your highly qualified, experienced staff.

Nobody wants to recruit new staff too often; recruitment drives are expensive, time-consuming, and often result in the wrong person being recruited for the job.

By focusing on retainment, you’re side-stepping that problem and ensuring loyalty and motivation throughout the workplace.