In this guide, you’ll learn how to create a questionnaire on employee engagement, find out why it’s important and discover what you can do to put your findings into action.
Do you know how your people are feeling?
Are they happy? Or are they frustrated and considering roles elsewhere? Do they have the tools to do their jobs properly? Do they believe in the company culture? Do they feel like they are being recognised for their effort?
If you’re a business leader, then these are vital questions that you should be asking your people. But short of stopping every individual in the breakroom for a quick one-to-one, how can you gather the insight you need on your employees’ engagement?
The answer is employee engagement surveys.
So what are they and how can you create a questionnaire on employee engagement that gives you a snapshot of your entire organization? Read on to find out…
Before we get started we should probably define exactly what employee engagement actually is.
Put simply, employee engagement is a term used to represent the level of enthusiasm that your people feel for their work and your organization. It’s a measure of how motivated they are to come in and perform the role to the best of their abilities, or to go above and beyond in order to help your business to achieve success. It’s also a sign of commitment, a barometer for their happiness and an indicator of whether they will stay in the job or search for employment elsewhere.
There are two very important caveats to the definition we’ve outlined above, however. First is that employee engagement is fluid. It’s constantly changing, ebbing and flowing along with your employees’ day-to-day lives. Second is that employee engagement isn't just defined by your people, it’s also impacted by the actions your organization takes, the way your leadership team operates and the kind of culture you have built.
From recruitment and retention to remote working and the rise of technology, business leaders are facing a number of challenges right now. But perhaps chief among them is the issue of employee engagement.
That’s because, over recent years, employee engagement has been trending downwards. According to Gallup, it’s been in steady decline with engagement rates falling from 36% in 2020 to 34% in 2021, 32% in 2022 and 31% in 2023.
It’s a worrying slump, especially as employee engagement can be a crucial part of business success. It’s no wonder then that employee engagement has become one of the most talked about issues in recent months, with trends like so-called “Quiet Quitting” and “Lazy Girl Jobs” dominating the headlines.
Motivated workers can raise sales by up to 37%. Harvard Business Review.
Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies more than $550 billion a year. The Engagement Institute.
Highly engaged teams boost company profitability by 21%. Gallup.
Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 x more likely to feel empowered to perform to the best of their abilities. Salesforce.
Highly engaged workplaces experience up to 41% less absenteeism. Gallup.
Just 37% of companies use annual employee engagement surveys. People Management.
The reason why the downward trend in employee engagement is causing so much concern is because it plays a key role in the success or failure of an organization.
When employees are engaged, they become more productive and deliver higher-quality work. Workforces with high levels of engagement are more motivated, have higher morale and are dedicated to achieving the company’s goals.
On the flip side, however, disengaged workforces are more likely to have high levels of absenteeism, low levels of motivation and low productivity. Teams who aren't engaged will also have higher levels of turnover as a greater number of employees actively seek alternative opportunities. They will also have lower satisfaction levels and could even cause a greater number of workplace safety incidents.
📈 Increase productivity
⬆️ Improve morale
🙂 Reduce stress
🙋🏾 Lower absenteeism
📣 Boost retention
✅ Improve recruitment
🤒 Increased absenteeism
📉 Lower productivity
⏲️ Taking longer to achieve tasks
❌ Higher employee turnover
⬆️ Increase operational costs
⬇️ Reduce quality of work
If you want to know how engaged your employees are, all you need to do is ask.
Employee engagement questionnaires are an invaluable tool to help you measure your people’s commitment, motivation, purpose and passion for their work. These surveys give your employees a platform to anonymously share their open and honest feedback - that means you won’t only get to hear about what your organization is doing right, but also what it needs to improve upon.
By creating an employee engagement questionnaire you will have a baseline, a tangible score that lets you know exactly where your organization is succeeding, and where it needs improvement. Armed with this invaluable insight you can take steps to address people’s concerns, and over time, create a more effective and efficient environment that makes more of your employees feel engaged.
Then, if you want to know if your efforts are working, you can conduct another survey to see if anything has changed. Conducting your surveys on a year-to-year basis is a good way to benchmark your results and ensure that your activity is constantly focused on improving your engagement.
But that doesn't mean that you can’t conduct employee engagement questionnaires more regularly. You could run smaller questionnaires on a monthly basis to ensure you’re constantly kept up to date with your people’s opinions. You could even run smaller, pulse surveys, that gauge your workforce’s thoughts on a specific subject. The key is to find a cadence that works for you and the unique needs of your organization.
— Simon Sinek.
“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”
If you don’t actually stop to ask, how will you know how your employees are feeling?
When it comes to something as important as your workforce you can’t base your decisions on hunches, or hearsay. Instead, you need cold hard facts. And the only way that you will get an honest assessment of your current engagement levels is through a survey.
The feedback you receive from creating a questionnaire on employee engagement will help you spot problems that you weren't even aware of, or identify trends that you need to keep a close eye on. By measuring results across your entire workforce you won’t just have a big picture of how your organization is feeling, you can also break the data down into granular detail.
Perhaps you want to see how your new hires are feeling, or whether your leadership team are as engaged as they should be - by comparing and contrasting results you can see how different subsections of your organization feel.
Beyond the invaluable insight that they can offer, conducting an employee engagement survey also tells your people that their voice matters. Ask the right questions and your employees will feel like they are being heard and that you care about the issues that affect them. If you take this a step further and actively make changes based on their feedback, your people will feel like active participants in the future direction of your organization.
It’s a virtuous cycle that makes your employees a key part of your bid for greater engagement.
If you’re creating an employee engagement questionnaire, then having the right questions in place is an important step in ensuring you have the insight you need to take action.
In any employee engagement questionnaire, you will want to put together a mix of best practice questions (such as those outlined below) and questions that are unique to your organization. The more you survey your employees the more you will learn what questions provide the best insight.
So what makes a good employee engagement question?
In order to gauge exactly how your employees are feeling you will want to include a number of quantitative questions. These are queries that enable your employees to respond on a set scale providing you with hard data that you can easily interpret. It’s important to be as specific as possible with these questions.
Alongside your quantitative questions, you will also want to include a few qualitative questions. Though they don't provide the same kind of cold, hard facts - these questions are a great tool for generating detailed, in-depth responses from your people. Open-ended questions will encourage your people to provide feedback. They will also give your employees a platform to share their feelings, helping them feel like their voice is heard and valued.
Finally, be sure to collect demographic information as part of your survey. Information like location, gender, tenure and race will help you to sort your data and identify trends among different groups.
When thinking about creating your employee engagement questionnaires you will also want to consider the type of topic that your survey will cover. A good survey will use a broad range of questions to assess how committed your people are, as well as how satisfied they are in the job and how invested they are in your company’s mission. In order to gain this insight you’ll need to assess their opinions on a range of subjects that impact their day-to-day working lives.
Some of the topics you may wish to consider include:
To get you started, here are a few questions that you might want to consider including when you are creating your own employee engagement questionnaire. The first 18 questions are quantitative and should give your employees the opportunity to respond on some kind of measurable scale, the final three are examples of the type of qualitative questions which can also be included.
Sometimes known as the “barbecue test” this question is designed to analyze how proud someone is to tell a friend or family member where they work. Presented with a sliding scale for employees to answer on, a high score on this question reflects how your mission and brand are viewed both internally and externally.
Your employees are your most valuable advocates when it comes to recruitment, so their response to this question will provide you with a good barometer for their overall engagement. Similar to how a Net Promoter Score helps you to understand how your organization is viewed by customers, this question can be one of the most important things you ask your employees.
If your people feel like they have a future at your organization and that their aspirations can be met, then they are much less likely to look for a role elsewhere. This question can help you to see if you are giving your people a roadmap to follow or if you need to do some work to make your career development path clearer.
This question not only explores how committed your people are, but also puts a definitive timeframe on it. We’ve put a year here, but you could just as easily change that to two or three. The goal is to get an overview of the long-term retention picture at your organization so that you can plan accordingly.
Sometimes if you want to find out how engaged your employees are then you just have to come right out and ask. Unlike some of the other questions we’ve laid out here, this entry is all about the big picture rather than attempting to explore the individual pieces that make up the whole puzzle.
This is an agree / disagree question that looks at whether your people are willing to go beyond what is laid out in their job descriptions to help your organization succeed. It’s a way of exploring how motivated your people are and is especially important if you use seasonal or temporary staff who may not be able to respond to the questions above.
The great thing about this question is that it can quickly identify any technology or communication gaps that are stopping your people from performing at their best. These are easy fixes that you can implement off of the back of creating a questionnaire on employee engagement.
We know that employee development is crucial for the long-term success of an organization. This question can help you to identify any gaps, but also give you a good idea of whether your leaders are playing their part in supporting staff to unlock their potential.
Yikes - this is a big question. If your scores are low you have big trouble as it shows that your people have lost confidence in the leaders who are guiding them. Not only does this provide you with valuable insight into how your workers view senior management, but it can also be a warning sign that information isn’t being properly communicated to all levels of your organization.
We all know the importance of a good company culture and this question can help you to get right to the heart of whether yours is working or not. If you score highly then you’re on the right track. If not then you may want to make culture a key priority for your HR team.
These days, the very best talent aren't just looking for a big salary and a corner office. Purpose is vital. So if you want to create the kind of workplace where people are motivated to go above and beyond to help you achieve your goals, then you need to know if your efforts to inspire them are working or not.
Further to the previous question, if your mission and values are going to be effective then they first need to be communicated. This entry will help you to determine whether your internal comms are helping employees to see the bigger picture.
Do your people feel like cogs in a machine or individuals who are valued? Wellbeing is playing an increasingly prominent role in the workplace and this question can help you to judge how well you are supporting your people’s health.
While it’s not the only reason people will leave a role, bad management is one of the biggest motivating factors for people who quit. A question like this will help you to identify any weak points in your organization, giving you the opportunity to address issues before they become a problem.
Recognition isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a basic human need. When employees feel recognized and rewarded then they are more likely to be engaged in their work. And that’s just one of many benefits recognition can deliver for your organization.
Nobody wants to work somewhere where their voice isn't heard. This question will help you to see if you are giving your people a platform to share their concerns. You can also measure it over time to see if your employee engagement questionnaires are helping to alleviate this issue.
People who believe that their health and wellbeing are supported by their employers are more likely to stay in their roles and help your organization to succeed. This question will help you to see if you are doing enough to support your people, it will also help to flag potential issues surrounding absenteeism and burnout.
As the old adage goes: teamwork makes the dream work. So do your people feel like they are part of a team or are there issues that are stopping people from feeling like they are able to raise concerns? This question gets to the crux of the matter, helping you to see if you have a culture where people feel safe to share.
Unlike the questions above, which attempt to gather hard data on your employee engagement, this is an example of a question that’s designed to attract open-ended feedback. These questions tend to focus on more tangible aspects of work and you can expect to receive some direct action points as a result.
Free text questions can also be a good way to elicit any negative feedback that your employees may not have a platform for sharing elsewhere. This can be a great tool for signposting issues or potential issues so that you can address them.
Even the best systems and processes can be improved. So if a large number of people feel that the survey doesn't address a particular topic, then you can consider including new entries focused on that subject in future questionnaires.
- Steve Jobs
“You cannot be successful doing something you don’t love. If you genuinely love your job and are emotionally connected to the higher purpose of a company, you will do great work.”
Now that you have a starting point for creating a questionnaire on employee engagement, then it’s almost time to start crafting your survey.
How you design and implement your employee engagement questionnaire can be just as impactful as the kind of questions you ask. It’s important that you take the time to think through how you can make the process as valuable as possible for both your employees and your organization.
Everyone is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach that guarantees success. However, there are a few key points that you should consider when creating a questionnaire on employee engagement.
Each survey question should be simple and to the point. The goal is to gather as much actionable insight as you can, so make sure the questions are accessible to everyone.
Think about your goals and the reason why you are conducting an employee engagement survey. These should be the North Star around which all of your questions are based. Are there any areas of employee engagement that are of particular concern? Or have you made any recent changes that you want to gauge opinions on? Knowing what information will be most valuable to you will help you to structure your surveys to make them as valuable as possible.
Most organizations perform annual surveys. This is a good idea, but annual surveys alone might not give you the information you need. Ideally, you’ll ask questions over a period of months or years, so that you can assess how your engagement is progressing. Just be careful not to overdo it, bombarding your people with surveys could achieve the exact opposite of what you set out to accomplish.
Anonymity is vital if you want your people to feel like they can answer your employee engagement questionnaires honestly. You can offer your people the opportunity to identify themselves if they have any immediate issues that they want HR to follow up with, but above all you want to make sure people aren’t worried about recriminations so that they can be as direct and honest as possible in their responses.
There are a host of tools and platforms that make it easy for you to anonymize your surveys. But if you do need people to fill them out in person, make sure that you give them a private location where they can fill out and submit their responses. Your people may be less forthcoming if they have to answer their questions when they’re surrounded by colleagues.
Your people are busy and adding another thing to their to-do list isn’t necessarily going to be the most popular decision in the world. Make sure that they have plenty of time to complete the survey and ensure that managers understand its importance so that they can give their teams the space they need to complete them properly. You should also set expectations for how long the survey will take to complete so that people can set aside an appropriate amount of time to complete them.
In this guide, we’ve given you everything you need to start creating a questionnaire on employee engagement. Now all that’s left to do is to go and put your ideas into action. Get it right and you can not only gain valuable insight into how your employees are feeling, you can also start taking action to address any issues before they become problematic. Best of all you can begin to improve your engagement levels across the entire organization, reaping the benefits that this brings in the process.