Employee surveys are valuable tools for management to gain insight into their organization’s problems and successes and help understand how to better motivate employees. Surveys reveal how employees feel about quality-of-life issues, benefits, work/life balance, diversity, and other specific topics employers want to ask about. Employee surveys can help employers understand and address recruiting and retention challenges and build their employer brand. Employee survey questions can be used to measure specific programs, employer of choice issues, or leading indicators of business success.
How to Write Employee Survey Questions
In “Perfect Phrases for Writing Employee Surveys: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases to Help You Create Surveys Your Employees Answer Honestly,” John Kador and Katherine Armstrong explain that an effective employee survey process starts with defining the goals of the survey. You can ask the most effective employee survey questions when you know who you want to learn from, why you are asking questions, and what specific information you are seeking. Define your survey in the planning stages to get the most out of it. Employee survey questions are the main part of the survey effort, but plan how they are organized, what kind of survey techniques you use, such as answers with a scale or essay response, and how the survey is administered, online or written. Questions should be specific, use clear language, and be directly related to the issues being evaluated. John Kador and Katherine Armstrong advise keeping employee survey questions as short and targeted as possible, and suggest that a regular survey process scheduled at the same time each survey period yields better results than an unexpected or one-time questionnaire.
Employee Satisfaction & Employee Survey Questions
To measure employee levels of satisfaction with their work in your company, ask employee survey questions about how they feel about various aspects of work. The answers requested can be on a numerical scale or essay style.
• How meaningful is your work?
• How challenging is your job?
• In a typical week, how often do you feel stressed at work?
• How well are you paid for the work you do?
• How much do your opinions about work matter to your boss?
Employee Benefits & Employee Survey Questions
If your company is considering changing benefits providers or upgrading benefits, employee survey questions about benefits can help reveal which benefits are most important to employees and how they feel about different providers.
• How comfortable is your work environment?
• How fair is the sick day policy?
• Is your health insurance better, worse, or about the same as other employers?
• Are you satisfied with your dental insurance benefits?
• Would you be willing to pay slightly higher health and dental premiums for expanded benefits?
Management Performance & Employee Survey Questions
Ask questions about management performance to better understand strengths and weaknesses of working relationships and how employees perceive management.
• How approachable is your supervisor?
• How clearly does your manager explain the company’s business plans?
• How well does management handle political issues that affect the company?
• How much support for the company is management able to get from the community?
• How effective is management at public relations?
Common Mistakes When Writing Employee Survey Questions
When writing employee survey questions, Sean McFarlane of The Recruiting Division advises avoiding these common mistakes in survey design:
1. Don’t combine questions, such as “How do you like the vision insurance benefit and how often do you use it?”
2. Don’t ask leading questions, such as “Our corporate goals of growing sales by 15% percent and consolidating service offerings were met last year. Agree or disagree?”
3. Avoid ambiguous questions.
4. Don’t assume anything. For example, if asking a question about employee experience with the salary review process, include a “not applicable” answer option for those employees who haven’t had a review at the time of the survey.
5. Don’t ask about matters you can’t do anything about. For example, don’t ask employees if they would like more vacation days if the company is not considering or in a position to offer more vacation days.
6. Don’t allow employees to self-select for participation or opt out. Either survey every employee or use a random selection method.
7. Don’t use overly broad open-ended questions, such as “Tell us how to improve morale.”
As you can clearly see, this is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Employee Survey questions can be crafted in a myriad of forms to address a wide variety of goals, and must be chosen carefully, thoughtfully, and strategically.
Andrew Greenberg’s roots in recruiting date back to 1996. He has experience both on the agency-side and corporate-side of the staffing business, with a focus in the financial services space at companies like Bloomberg and UBS. He also has core experience with information technology staffing, and has worked for major software companies such as SAP Business Objects and IBM/Informix Software. To get in touch with Andrew, you can reach him by email or by phone at (800) 797-6160.