Employee Motivation Survey: A Complete Guide

Jun 9, 2022 | Employee Engagement, Performance Management, Professional Development

When it comes to team performance, employee motivation is everything. How your employees feel about their work will make or break their team’s success. So, leaders need to keep their finger on the pulse of employee motivation. And an employee motivation survey helps them do just that.

What is an employee motivation survey? Simply put, it’s a great tool for gauging motivation among your staff. We’ll explain the ins and outs of designing an employee motivation survey. And we’ll share what to avoid in the process!

First though, let’s dive into their purpose in more detail.


1. The Importance of an Employee Motivation Survey

2. Designing A Good Employee Motivation Survey

3. Answering Employee Motivation Survey Questions

The Importance of an Employee Motivation Survey

Three colleagues discuss an employee motivation survey in an office
Credit: Thirdman/Pexels

What makes an employee motivation survey such a helpful tool? Other tools like performance management software can help monitor engagement as well. But surveys give you input directly from employees.

Plus, they reveal factors that affect their motivation. Better yet, employees can share the feedback anonymously. This makes them more likely to speak their minds.

But too few companies measure employee engagement regularly. In a survey by Deloitte, 64% of respondents said they measure engagement once a year. And 18% said they don’t measure it at all. 

Yet only 4% of leaders surveyed believed they are good at engaging Millennials and other demographics. 

Those who don’t pay attention to engagement usually pay the price. But they don’t always realize it. 

According to Deloitte, engaged workers are 57% more effective. Plus, they’re 87% less likely to leave their jobs! 

Now, let’s look at what to consider when creating employee motivation surveys.

Designing A Good Employee Motivation Survey

How should you approach an employee motivation survey? 

First, define the scope. “Employee engagement surveys measure employees’ commitment, motivation, sense of purpose and passion for their work and organization,” explains the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). So, surveys should focus on these topics.

Additionally, consider the main factors that affect employee motivation. Your survey should have those sub-topics. Gallup highlights 5 main factors that affect engagement:

  • Purpose
  • Development
  • A caring manager
  • Ongoing conversations
  • A focus on strengths

Don’t make your engagement metrics too complicated, Gallup urges. Focus solely on the things that managers can control. Follow up with action based on the data you collect.

Further, look at previous survey questions and results. Ask follow-up questions to probe into issues those surveys reveal.

Selecting A Survey Tool

Using survey software will make conducting surveys much easier. “Most organizations use electronic surveys because they are more efficient and faster and use fewer resources,” says SHRM. “Using an electronic system for inputting employee feedback usually results in higher participation rates due to ease of access and in quicker analysis of the data.”

Having the option to complete surveys on mobile devices may also boost participation. Employees may then complete them on lunch or coffee breaks, for instance.

Good survey software will offer customizable templates with lists of questions. For example, Primalogik’s survey software provides questions that you can select or modify. Afterward, such software will synthesize your results. This saves you from processing the data. Instead, you can dive right into developing an action plan!

Choosing a Rating Method

You can include a rating scale with descriptors like these:

“Strongly Disagree”  –  “Disagree”  –  “Neutral”  –  “Agree”  –  “Strongly Agree”

Or, you can include multiple-choice questions. Here, you present a handful of options to choose from. Your survey can also include a mix of both.

Try to ask two or three open-ended questions as well. They might provide unexpected insights. Just don’t ask too many. It’s harder to spot trends with open-ended data.

Ideal Employee Motivation Survey Questions

What are ideal questions to use in an employee motivation survey? 

Here are some rating-style questions to ask:

  • I contribute to fulfilling the organization’s mission.
  • I would highly recommend this organization to friends seeking a new job.
  • I feel valued for my contributions and efforts.
  • I find it easy to focus on my work.
  • My work is interesting to me. 
  • I receive excellent feedback from my manager.
  • I enjoy collaborating with my team members.
  • I have the opportunity to express my ideas and insights.
  • I have a high level of trust in my manager.
  • I feel passionate about the organization’s vision.
  • I have a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.
  • I look forward to starting work in the morning.
  • I feel clear on my goals and responsibilities.
  • I feel proud to work for this organization.
  • Our different departments work well together.
  • My current workload feels reasonable.
  • I have the support I need to do my job well.
  • My colleagues engage in healthy communication.
  • My manager demonstrates trust in me and my abilities.
  • I believe my pay is competitive in my field.
  • I enjoy brainstorming on ideas with my team.
  • When experiencing challenges, I know where to turn for help (colleagues, resources, etc.).
  • Those who receive promotions have earned them.

Good questions like these deliver detailed insights from workers themselves.

What Does a Good Employee Motivation Survey Look Like? 

This template provides an example of how to format employee motivation surveys. When using quality survey software, they might look something like this.

Employee Motivation Survey Template

Use the following rating scale to answer each of the questions below. 

      Strongly Disagree        Disagree       Neutral           Agree    Strongly Agree

  • My work gives me the opportunity to grow my skills.                                                              
  • I feel appropriately challenged by my work.                                              
  • My manager provides me with the guidance I need.                                              
  • I have a clear personal development plan.                                              
  • I feel excited to start the day when coming in to work.                                              
  • I feel a strong sense of purpose about my work.                                                
  • My work supports the organization’s mission and vision.                                               
  • My supervisor has supportive conversations with me
    at least once a week.                                              
  • My manager points out my strengths on a regular basis.                                              
  • My coworkers and I strive to support one another.                                              
  • I trust my fellow team members.                                              
  • Organizational leadership maintains strong communication 
    with employees.                                              
  • I feel inspired to do my best work.                                              
  • My team and I collaborate effectively.                                              

What portion of your time do you spend engaging in work that excites you?

  • 25%
  • 75%
  • 90%
  • 50%
  • 10% or less

How do you feel when preparing to start work in the morning?

  • Low-energy or bored by my work.
  • Overwhelmed by the tasks on my plate.
  • Somewhat motivated to get started.
  • Excited to dive into my work!
  • Neutral

What aspect of your work do you feel least excited about? 


What would help you to feel more inspired by your work?

What would help you to feel more focused?


Thank you for completing this survey! We will strive to use the results to improve the employee experience in our organization. 

You could include fewer rating questions and more multiple-choice questions if you prefer. 

SHRM also provides employee motivation survey templates. Browse through them for more examples of well-formatted surveys.

What to Avoid in an Employee Motivation Survey

What does a bad employee motivation survey look like? 

First, it might overwhelm employees with a long list of questions. They may keep putting it on the back burner as a result. 

Instead, make sure employees can complete the survey in 5 to 10 minutes. That way, you’ll ensure a higher response rate for your employee motivation survey. Conducting short, frequent surveys will also impart the most timely information.

Second, bad surveys might present the same list of questions each time. Vary the questions (or even type of questions) they include. You might even focus on particular themes for some of them. Here are a few theme ideas:

  • Work relationships
  • Personal development
  • Sense of purpose
  • Enthusiasm for work

This will allow you to dig into particular issues in more depth. And employees might view themed surveys as more vital to complete than one general monthly survey. Each will stand out as unique and important.

And, of course, avoid collecting data but not acting on it. Employees will feel demoralized if their input doesn’t lead to real change. Not acting on these surveys can become an “employee relations disaster,” emphasizes SHRM.

As a first step, be accountable by sharing some of the findings. Highlight several main results that you’ll take action on.

Diverse group of colleagues discussing employee motivation survey
Credit: Kindel Media/Pexels

Answering Employee Motivation Survey Questions

Employees may need some guidance on how to approach the survey. How should they go about answering employee motivation survey questions?

First and foremost, stress that you appreciate honesty. Let them know that results will remain anonymous (if that’s the case). 

Second, encourage them to go with their instincts when answering questions. If they’re deliberating for too long, they may be second-guessing themselves. If they felt inclined to choose a particular answer, there was probably a reason.

Your employee motivation surveys will help you better understand the employee experience. Track their results over time to spot longer-term trends. Then, you’ll know where you’re improving. This data can help you adapt in real-time to employee concerns. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing where you’re succeeding.

And employees will appreciate that you take their feedback seriously and use it to continuously improve.

Employee Motivation Survey Template

Employee motivation surveys are a great tool for gauging motivation among your staff! So what questions should you be asking? Download this free template to find out!

Want to see how Primalogik’s software can help you assess employee motivation? Sign up to demo our product!

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