Tips for Writing Employee Engagement Survey Questions

It's that time of the year again - year end reviews, bonuses and, for many companies, it's survey time. Employee Engagement Survey (EES), that is.

What is an EES?

An Employee Engagement Survey is designed to check in with a variety of staff that are occupied in different roles about how engaged they feel at work. “Engaged” refers to the ways and extent to which the employee is committed to the organization. The results give management a bird’s eye view of how the employees are feeling about their work environment, their roles, their peers, and their professional development opportunities. Having that baseline is important, particularly if the executives are envisioning making changes in the organization.

Why Ask the Questions?

Are you opening up Pandora’s Box if you ask your employees about how engaged they are at work? In other words, can your business react to the answers you receive, or is this just lip-service being paid to let the employees think that you are going to action some of the items that come back from the survey?
It is essential, before a business can decide what questions to ask on an employee engagement survey, to understand why they are asking the questions at all. Like all change management tools, it is only effective if the survey is asking the right questions.

Questions to Ask

This will vary widely depending on the nature of the business and if the executive does in fact have plans to make changes in the organization. There are, however, some basic questions that could be useful baselines for virtually any organization. While there are some who would argue that these questions are vague and the answers would not be actionable, Gallup has a list of twelve questions that provide a good starting point:

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Professional development is addressed several times in the questions - it is an integral part of a person’s engagement in their work environment. An organization considering adopting e-Learning strategies for individual learning and development would do well to ask their employees these questions.

Questions to Avoid

As mentioned earlier, never ask a question that you do not want the answer to. If you can’t fix a certain problem, don’t ask employees how they feel about the problem.

“Every survey question you ask implies a promise that you’re going to take action based on the answer you get. And if you break that promise, things will get ugly. (Here’s an experiment: Tonight at home, make some popcorn. Ask your spouse if they want some and when they say “yes,” just ignore them. Now multiply that by a few thousand and you’ll see what I’m talking about.)” The source.

The inability to action a negative response would call into question the leadership abilities of the organization’s executive or management.

Change management is a delicate process - take it one-step at a time!

Make Your Own Survey

The days of pen-and-paper surveys are long gone. There are lots of tools on the Internet for making electronic surveys and collecting the results, and one of them is iSpring QuizMaker. There is a free version with 3 survey question types, and a paid version with 12 advanced survey questions, including Likert Scale question. Check out this example of a survey created with iSpring QuizMaker.

Conclusion

Employees don’t work in a vacuum; the environment at work plays a central role in whether or not an employee is engaged, and therefore productive. Conducting employee engagement surveys is a useful way to find out whether their work environment is conducive to happiness and productivity, and then take steps to increase those factors.

Have you had successful results with an employee engagement survey? Share your stories in the comments below!

Posted in e-Learning