How to Create a Great Employee Engagement Survey

Nov 14, 2019 | Employee Engagement

As an HR professional, you know the importance of an engaged workforce. Highly engaged teams earn 21% more profits and have up to 59% less turnover, Gallup has found

Employee surveys give you an easy way to stay up-to-date on how employees feel about their jobs as well as their organization’s policies and programs. By prompting employees to share their feelings about a broad range of workplace issues, surveys encourage a feedback-oriented culture and provide you with a continual flow of ideas for strengthening your organization. 

Your organization might opt to use several types of surveys:

  • The employee engagement survey: An in-depth survey that gives you a broad understanding of how employees feel about their company, its policies, and its culture.
  • The pulse survey: A quick look at how employees feel about a given issue, like a proposed change. Pulse surveys can help you gauge progress on changes you’ve made in response to the feedback you received on an employee engagement survey. 
  • The new-hire survey: A way to learn whether new employees feel supported and confident in their roles and to determine where they might need additional support.

These are just a few of the most useful types of surveys. Using all three can give you a high level of insight into employees’ needs and concerns. Now, we’ll show you how to design a survey that delivers valuable input on any organizational issue. 

Design a clear workflow process

Implement a clear workflow process for carrying out surveys. Here are the key steps:

  • Appoint one staff member to bottom-line the entire process. 
  • Use software that allows you to quickly tally results. Intuitive, user-friendly survey software like Primalogik will allow you to easily make sense of the survey data. 
  • Decide when and how to share the survey results. 
  • Synthesize and summarize the results so everyone can easily understand them.
  • Announce the results in a reasonable timeframe. Sharing the results with employees no more than a week after they come in will create a sense of transparency, encouraging participation in future surveys.

Hit the right length and frequency.

Make the survey a reasonable length — otherwise, employees might just start checking boxes to finish it, says the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). A pulse survey should take less than five minutes to complete, while an employee engagement survey might take fifteen minutes. 

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Give yourself ample time to implement changes between surveys to show employees that you’re taking their feedback seriously, which will make them more likely to continue taking the surveys seriously as well. You might send a pulse survey each month and a longer employee engagement survey once per quarter, for instance.

Choose your words carefully

Focus survey questions on specific behaviors to gain the most accurate results. Great survey questions ask employees to make observations about their own everyday actions as well as the behaviors of managers and coworkers. Thinking in terms of behaviors rather than abstract ideas will help everyone to be as objective as possible.

Word the questions in neutral or positive language, too. That way, you’re less likely to bias the answers, and employees can offer constructive feedback without feeling like they’re being overly critical.  

Finally, make sure your surveys cover a well-rounded range of key themes that relate to employee satisfaction, such as wellness, training, benefits, and company culture. This will reinforce your commitment to success in all of these areas.

Sample questions:

  • “Does your manager check in with you to offer feedback at least two to three times per week?”
  • “If a conflict arises, do team members constructively work to resolve the issue right away?”
  • “Do you usually know which staff member to ask about any given concern?”

Ask about actionable issues

Ask questions about issues that you have the ability to act on. Asking for input suggests you’re willing to take action based upon that feedback, and when employees see their company taking action, they’ll know their input is valued.

To gain detailed input that helps you take action, include multiple choice questions on your survey. Multiple choice answers often give you more detailed insight on employee preferences than “yes” or “no” answers, helping you to quickly target specific solutions.

Choose questions that directly pertain to employee satisfaction, too. Your choice of questions reflects your highest priorities as an organization. 

Sample questions:

  • “Would you like more options for flex-time or telecommuting?”
  • “Would you like to see increased wellness-related perks, like a healthy snack bar or gym membership?”
  • “Which type of compensation matters most to you: “vacation,” “salary,” “matching contribution,” or “health insurance”
  • “Would you like more frequent and detailed feedback about your job performance?”
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Include open-ended questions

Give participants the chance to answer several open-ended questions. This will provide you with more detailed input on their feelings. Employees will appreciate having the chance to voice their own suggestions for how to improve various aspects of their organization, too.

Sample questions:

  • “What types of wellness-related perks would you most appreciate?”
  • “Could our organization enhance its commitment to social responsibility? If so, how?”
  • “How could we better tailor training opportunities to your learning style?”

When employees see that surveys can genuinely make their organization an even better place to work, they’ll value the opportunity to take them. Through these steps, you’ll show employees that you appreciate their insights and will leverage their collective wisdom to take your company to the next level. By partnering with employees to strengthen your processes, programs, and performance management, you’ll do exactly that. 

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