Employee engagement is critical to any thriving business. Listening to workers’ voices, meanwhile, lets you find ways to nurture it.

Understanding the pulse of your personnel, however, isn’t just about maintaining morale—it’s about cultivating a culture where they’re not only appreciated and motivated, but also aligned with your organization’s goals.

To develop such an awareness, your efforts must begin with one vital tool: an employee engagement survey. By thoughtfully crafting and regularly deploying one, you can learn about variables that drive or deter your team’s engagement, then identify areas of improvement.

Although creating your own employee engagement survey may seem like a challenge, we’ll simplify the process by exploring:

  • What an employee engagement survey is
  • Why consistently conducting one matters
  • Questions that let you connect with your workforce
  • Best practices that guarantee success

What is an employee engagement survey?

To start, an employee engagement survey is a structured instrument that measures how invested personnel are in their work and your organization. It consists of a series of questions designed to gauge workers’ sentiments on various job aspects, such as their:

  • Responsibilities and tasks
  • Relationships with colleagues and managers
  • Perceptions of company culture and values
  • Opportunities for career advancement

Overall, an employee engagement survey provides quantitative and qualitative data that indicates how employees see their roles and work environment. Their feedback, meanwhile, is invaluable for pinpointing your company’s strengths, problem areas, and ways to address them.

One can be deployed annually, semi-annually, or even quarterly, but its regularity actually depends on your organization’s needs.

Why conduct an employee engagement survey?

Routinely administering an employee engagement survey nets your company the following benefits:

Lower turnover

Engagement questionnaires aim to reveal what prevents employees from fully investing in their jobs, then devising countermeasures that create a conducive environment and make them feel more valued.

Whatever the case, when someone perceives their role as essential, they’re typically more satisfied and motivated—this compels them to stay. Research indicates how engagement influences turnover as well:

  • Organizations with over 40% annual turnover, for example, enjoy 18% less turnover when they attain excellent levels of engagement
  • Those with less than 40% yearly turnover, on the other hand, reduce turnover by a whopping 43% upon achieving stellar employee engagement

Cost savings

At the same time, reducing turnover can significantly lower organizational expenses, seeing how voluntary turnover costs U.S. businesses approximately $1 trillion annually. Replacing an individual can net you half to double their annual salary as well!

Better organizational performance

Understanding what makes your employees tick lets you come up with strategies that keep them focused and committed to their tasks. Then, the more invested they are in their roles and your organization, the more they’re willing to go above and beyond.

Such individuals deliver better business outcomes compared to their disengaged counterparts as well.

A study by Gallup, in fact, found engagement to significantly impact a company’s performance, with work units in the top quartile outdoing those in the bottom by 21% in productivity and 22% in profitability.

Enhanced communication and collaboration

Employees who feel heard and appreciated are typically more positive, as seeking their input shows you care about their thoughts and opinions. Such workers will readily pitch in and contribute to their projects and colleagues as well.

Their initiative also improves communication and opens more collaboration opportunities, enabling team members to individually engage. Although not everyone may be free to do this due to role limitations, they’ll at least be more committed to proactively delivering results.

Improved employee well-being

Since your post-survey efforts will be built around enhancing or maintaining engagement, your efforts could entail:

  • Conceiving wellness initiatives
  • Offering learning and development opportunities
  • Providing stellar compensation

At the same time, Gallup reports that engagement is 3.8 times more influential on employee stress than location, clearly indicating the importance of such strategies geared towards worker well-being.

Don’t forget that your employees’ relationships with team members, managers, and colleagues also impact job satisfaction, so prioritize open communication and workplace harmony as well.

Stronger company culture

You can’t expect employees to perform well when their experiences don’t match your organization’s mission, vision, and values.

Your surveys can uncover such misalignments, let you devise corrective measures, then take steps toward a desirable workplace with a cohesive and positive culture.

Encourage innovation

We previously mentioned how engaged individuals are more receptive to open communication and seamless collaboration.

When such employees come together to attain a common goal, their combined efforts and perspectives can give rise to creative solutions that help achieve it.

More satisfied customers

Dedicated employees don’t shy away from bringing more effort and energy to their jobs, and this can positively influence how they interact with customers and deliver quality service.

Astoundingly, 92% of executives agree with this correlation, stating that organizations with highly engaged employees have happy customers.

Consistently providing positive customer experiences, meanwhile, secures buyer loyalty and establishes an exceptional company reputation.

How to craft your employee engagement survey questions

Designing engagement survey questions that resonate with your employees requires a strategic approach. To help you devise ones that yield valuable insights, we’ll give you a basic overview of the process:

Step 1: Define your objectives

Your questions should be built on goals that hone in on factors that impact employee engagement. Start by establishing what your survey aims to achieve.

For instance, are you looking to understand your company culture or identify training needs in an effort to improve overall engagement and employee retention?

Step 2: Use different question types

Next, utilize a mix of quantitative and qualitative questions:

Likert scale questions

These assign concrete figures to variables you aim to measure. For example, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your role?” Using a larger scale offers a greater variability of responses, so we recommend going with a 10-point range rather than a 5-point one.

Open-ended questions

These obtain subjective, yet deeper, employee insights. For instance, “What changes or improvements would you make to our current processes?”

Since the answers you glean will stem from first-hand experiences, open-ended questions are extremely valuable for identifying and addressing individual engagement drivers and deterrents.

Step 3: Target crucial engagement drivers

To gain real insights, your questions must target factors that affect employee engagement. So, make sure to ask about:

  • Recognition and rewards
  • Career development
  • Responsibilities and tasks
  • Work-life balance
  • Organizational leadership
  • Salaries and benefits
  • The overall work environment

Step 4: Be concise

To prevent any misunderstandings, be concise. Avoid jargon and complex wording, as these may lead to confusion. Remember, your goal is to extract detailed and accurate answers. To maximize comprehension, make your questions straightforward.

Step 5: Ensure anonymity and confidentiality

At this point, your questions should be nearly finalized. Keep in mind, however, that some employees may hesitate to answer honestly, especially if they fear there may be repercussions.

Before moving on to the next step, assure them that their responses are anonymous and confidential.

Although their input will be documented, put in place measures that protect workers’ identities. This shows you value their feedback and job security, encouraging them to be more open.

Step 6: Test, improve, and launch your survey

Before fully rolling out your survey, test it with a select group of people. The samples you get should weed out any issues, like vague questions, ensure measurement accuracy, and indicate whether it functions as intended.

If any problems arise, ensure foolproof proceedings by making any necessary changes. Once done, you can go ahead and conduct your survey.

19 Employee engagement survey questions you should ask

A basic overview doesn’t equip you enough to uncover more specific information. To help you paint a clearer picture of employee sentiment, here are some survey questions that encompass various engagement aspects:

1. Job satisfaction: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how satisfied are you with your current role?”

Job satisfaction is a fundamental engagement driver, and asking employees to rate how pleased they are with their jobs instantly gauges their overall contentment. A significant variance in scores, meanwhile, clearly indicates the existence of problem areas.

Low ratings, for instance, could arise from misalignments between workers’ job expectations and their actual duties. They could stem from employee dissatisfaction with workloads or career trajectories as well.

Whatever the case, understanding this aspect is critical to ensuring talent retention and workplace productivity.

2. Goal alignment: “Do you know how your role contributes to company success? Could you describe it to a stranger?”

This lets you recognize whether employees understand the organization’s broader mission and feel connected to it. This alignment is important, as it nurtures a sense of purpose that drives team performance.

Since their results are more visible, individuals who see this direct link between work and company objectives are more likely to be engaged. Misalignments, however, signal a need to improve how company goals are conveyed, or even a reevaluation of job classifications.

3. Recognition and rewards: “Do you feel adequately recognized for your efforts? Please elaborate.”

Recognition is a powerful motivator, and this question seeks to reveal whether employees feel their contributions are appreciated. Asking this is key, as those who feel valued are more engaged and willing to go the extra mile:

  • In truth, 83.6% of them say recognition affects their drive to succeed
  • At the same time, 81.9% of workers agree that recognition improves their engagement

By understanding how employees perceive your efforts to reward their work, you can form tactics that boost morale, such as introducing new reward systems or improving existing ones.

4. Career development: “Are you satisfied with the growth and development opportunities we offer? Why or why not?”

Employees want to know that they have a bright future. Those who see one, in fact, are more likely to be engaged and committed, with 94% of them saying they would stay at a company longer if it showed a commitment to helping them learn.

By assessing how employees see their access to growth resources, you can identify and offer appropriate upskilling and reskilling opportunities, whether they be targeted development programs, mentorship opportunities, or clear career roadmaps.

5. Work-life balance: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your freedom to maintain a healthy work-life balance? Why?”

Work-life balance is critical to maintaining well-being and productivity, and this question measures whether employees are able to sustain an equilibrium between personal and professional life.

Uncovering this is critical, as stress and burnout often stem from poor work-life balance—these factors, meanwhile, significantly affect performance and turnover. The results you gain can then guide necessary policy adjustments, such as:

  • Allowing flexible working hours
  • Providing remote work options
  • Supporting employee wellness
  • Enabling manageable workloads
  • Discouraging micromanagement
  • And more

6. Management support: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your manager’s support? What’s the reason behind it?”

Statistics clearly show that the relationship between employees and their managers strongly impacts engagement, job satisfaction, and retention:

  • 76% of Americans, in fact, say their manager sets the culture, yet 36% say their superior doesn’t know how to lead a team.
  • On the other hand, 52% of workers who voluntarily leave their jobs say their manager or organization could have done something to prevent their departure.

By asking this question, you gauge whether your managers competently meet their team’s needs. Understanding this dynamic is also vital, as it reveals which managers need further training or which practices need tweaking.

7. Communication: “Are you well-informed about company updates and changes?”

Open and effective communication maintains trust and transparency within your organization. This question assesses that, gauging whether employees think they receive timely and adequate information.

This is of utmost importance, particularly during organizational developments, as poor communication during major shifts in roles and operations can result in confusion, disengagement, and take its toll on employee well-being.

This question’s results, meanwhile, open up opportunities to improve internal communication strategies and establish clear channels, ensuring that people across all company levels are kept in the loop about key updates and decisions.

8. Company culture: “How would you describe the organization’s culture in one word?”

A single-word description of your workplace culture provides a powerful snapshot of how the work environment is perceived. It encourages employees to boil down their overall experiences into a concise, impactful term.

Their responses, meanwhile, can point out cultural strengths and weaknesses that allow you to take steps towards a more positive, inclusive, and engaging workplace that aligns with the organization’s values and goals.

9. Team dynamics: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate collaboration and teamwork in your department?”

Collaboration and teamwork are pillars of organizational success, and asking about them reveals how well teams and departments interact and cooperate.

Do your employees need more team-building activities to improve chemistry, or do they need emotional intelligence training to improve conflict resolution?

Strong team dynamics often lead to higher productivity and job satisfaction, so use this question’s insights to identify any problem areas.

10. Work environment: “Does your work environment let you perform at your best?”

This gauges whether workspaces are conducive to your employees’ productivity and well-being. This is a key consideration because the physical and psychological aspects of one’s environment significantly impact their comfort, performance, and engagement.

Feedback, meanwhile, can highlight issues such as your office’s noise levels, layout, or ergonomics.

11. Feedback mechanisms: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable are you about providing feedback to managers or colleagues?”

This measures how confidently employees can give and receive input. Low scores indicate they’re uncomfortable with sharing their thoughts or suggestions, which hinders personal and organizational growth.

A typical approach to mediocre results is to establish or improve existing feedback mechanisms, as it encourages honesty and open communication, as well as builds trust.

Such an initiative not only fuels continuous improvement, but also compels talent to stay, as companies who conduct regular feedback experiences enjoy 14.9% less turnover.

12. Job security: “Do you feel secure in your role within the company? Why or why not?”

Job security is a fundamental concern for most employees, as having stable livelihoods is key to their well-being and, most importantly, survival. On the other hand, insecurity can lead to high stress levels and disengagement.

Answers to this will reveal whether employees feel their jobs are safe, or are confident they’ll grow within the organization.

If you gather negative outlooks, however, addressing concerns will become a priority. To do this, clearly communicate the company’s future and offer workers clear career prospects.

13. Motivation and engagement: “What drives you to come to work each day?”

Understanding what makes employees tick uncovers valuable engagement and job satisfaction insights. Since this question offers workers opportunities to express their personal motivators, you learn whether you’re effectively meeting their needs.

Based on its results, you can tailor strategies that align with employees’ intrinsic and extrinsic drivers.

14. Tools and resources: “Do we provide the tools and resources needed to perform your job effectively?”

Adequate tools and resources are essential to employee efficiency, and asking this question lets you recognize whether workers are equipped to meet or exceed organizational expectations.

Gaps in resources can lead to frustration and hinder productivity, so, to ensure employees have what they need to succeed, use their feedback to identify and address any deficiencies.

15. Diversity and inclusivity: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate workplace diversity and inclusivity? Please expound.”

Feeling included, regardless of background, is critical to one’s engagement and job satisfaction. Research by McKinsey found that, compared to their peers, employees who experience this are around 3x more likely to be excited by and committed to their organizations. 

Diversity and inclusion are conducive to collaboration and decision-making as well, as solutions are built on many unique perspectives. Gartner even projected 75% of organizations with diverse and inclusive decision-making teams to surpass their financial targets through 2022.

By evaluating this aspect of your company, you can devise initiatives that aim to make all employees feel respected and welcome.

16. Change management: “How well does the company handle changes and transitions?”

Effective change management maintains stability and morale, particularly during major organizational shifts.

For example, industrial, technological, or regulatory changes could push your company to transform its policies and structures—a process that may shake up livelihoods and subject employees to uncertainty and heavy stress.

Assessing perceptions on how well your organization manages such changes, meanwhile, points out how it can properly cope with such situations and prevent employees from disengaging.

17. Company values: “Do the company’s values reflect in your daily work?”

When one’s work is driven by purpose, performing daily feels more natural. Aligning it with the organization’s values is critical to fostering such cohesiveness and motivation.

By asking about it, you learn whether employees see a connection between their experiences and your company’s principles. Misalignments, however, indicate a disconnect that hinders engagement.

When such instances arise, reinforce the company’s principles through communication and training, ensuring that they’re truly integrated into your employees’ activities and the business’s operations.

18. Trust in leadership: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you rate your trust in company leadership?”

Trust in leadership is a cornerstone of employee engagement and organizational success. In fact, according to Gallup, managers account for 70% of the variance in team engagement.

This gauges the belief workers have in their leaders’ direction and decision-making. Low ratings, meanwhile, can indicate issues beyond the lack of trust, such as low morale and productivity.

If you’re faced with such a scenario, it’s of utmost importance that you rebuild your employees’ faith in the organization, whether it be through increased transparency, better management practices, or further leadership training.

19. Overall engagement: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how engaged would you say you are with your work and the company?”

This final question is a broader measurement, capturing your employees’ general sentiments towards their jobs and the company. It provides a quick snapshot of overall engagement, indicating whether it’s at a healthy level or in need of deeper investigation.

Ratings to overall engagement may vary for each role or department, so understanding it lets you identify focus areas, then aim your initiatives and resources towards them.

Best practices for employee engagement survey success

At this point, you should be ready to build and launch your own employee engagement survey. To maximize its impact, consider these best practices:

Conduct them regularly

Employee sentiment changes over time, and they’re affected by many variables. To keep a pulse on it and track the progress of your engagement initiatives, deploy surveys at consistent intervals.

As we previously mentioned, you can follow a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual schedule, but keep in mind that it will depend on the efforts you wish to monitor.

For example, learning and development is a continuous process, so you may want to check how it impacts engagement on a quarterly basis.

Prioritize actionable insights

Focus on extracting actionable insights from survey data. Identify trends and areas where you can implement tangible changes.

For instance, when asking about work-life balance, you may learn that some employees face long and tiring daily commutes, affecting their performance and reducing the time they spend with their families.

After gleaning this information, you can start offering more flexible schedules or setups to address the issue.


Once you’ve gathered the survey results, share them with your employees and outline the steps you’ll take in response to any uncovered issues. This demonstrates your commitment to meeting their needs, which enhances engagement and builds trust.

Incentivize participation

Promote your survey by highlighting how your employees’ input will be used to address their concerns. Simply advertising it across the organization, however, may not be enough to maximize participation.

To ensure many workers take part in your survey, incentivize their involvement. Whether it be through simple tokens or gift cards, use small rewards that entice employees to share their perspectives.

Leverage technology

To streamline data collection and analysis, use HR tools and platforms. Some ease the process of creating and conducting online surveys, make interpreting results simple, thus enabling swift action. Here are a few we recommend:

Maintain anonymity

This is to reiterate a step of the process we tackled earlier. Protect the identities of your respondents, as this encourages honest and candid feedback. You can’t expect them to be completely open when they fear their answers may have repercussions.

Wrapping up—Use employee engagement surveys to nurture a driven workforce

Employee engagement surveys are more than just questionnaires with checkboxes—they’re powerful tools that help you foster motivated, committed, and successful personnel.

By thoughtfully designing and asking the right questions, then following best practices, you can transform feedback into meaningful insights that drive organizational improvements.

Remember, by regularly tuning into your employees’ perspectives and embracing their insights, you enhance their overall experiences and, ultimately, help your organization flourish.

Published: November 10, 2015

Updated: July 4, 2024

About the Author: Joseph