5 questions you should be asking in your employee engagement survey

employee productivity

Employee insights matter. Who better than your team members to help you understand what is working and what isn’t in your business?

Asking your people for their feedback gives you valuable information about the employee experience, so you can help your people be more engaged and productive. If done well, the very act of asking — and responding — also helps inspire trust and transparency

This is why so many organisations choose to conduct regular employee engagement surveys. Such surveys give their team a voice. They help to quantifiably measure and track employee engagement over time and they can even direct organisational growth.

In order to accurately measure employee engagement (and thereby improve employee engagement levels at a business), at People Insight, we designed the PEARL™model. This model was created by our dedicated team of business psychologists and data scientists, who carried out primary research across hundreds of clients, analysed over 20 million data points and scrutinised the latest employee engagement, stress and wellbeing literature. This means we are able to design questions that assess the various elements that impact the employee experience at your company. We have divided up the key drivers of employee engagement into five key camps:

  • P -Purpose
  • E -Enablement
  • A -Autonomy
  • R -Reward
  • L -Leadership

Using the indicators above, you can really hone in on any issues within your organisation that are impeding productivity and performance. You can pick up on potential red flags, reduce the odds of employee burnout and seriously improve your employee experience.

So what questions should you be including in your next employee survey? Below are five sample questions, each taking the form of a statement, where your employees will rate your business between 1 and 5, with 5 being “Strongly Agree” and 1 being “Strongly Disagree”.

This Company Is Committed to Doing High-Quality Work

This question relates to both purpose and the employee perception of your company’s services and organisational values. Modern employees want to be given more meaning and more purposein their careers. Of course, employees are more likely to be fulfilled and find meaning in their everyday work when they believe in the company and the work it does. Employees should, ideally, take pride in the quality of the products and services offered by your company.

I Can Get the Training and Development I Need to Do My Job

This question relates to enablement — whether your employees are getting the tools, training and development opportunities they need to fulfil the function of their roles. Not only is the right kind of training essential for a fulfilling employee experience and effective performance — access to ongoing training is also a key way to keep employees engaged and excited about their future at your company.

This question gets to the root of the training and development issue and will determine whether employees are being allowed to grow to their full potential at your company. Training and development can create skilled, productive employees, but it is also a valuable retention tool. It has been shown that modern employees are more likely to remain at a companyif they are being offered opportunities for development.

I Have the Freedom I Need to Get on with My Job

According to Forbes, 48% of bosses like to be seen as experts and authority figures. They have a desire to be respected. They have a need to be seen to be leading a perfect team. This can lead managers to micromanage. Unfortunately, micromanagement often backfires, resulting in frustrated, agitated employees.

Employees these days are seeking a certain degree of autonomy and freedom. In fact, the more autonomy you give an employee, the more ownership and pride they will take in their role. This question examines the level of autonomy your employees feel they have. Once you are armed with this information, you can go on to explore ways to increase autonomy in your company.

I Feel Valued and Recognised for the Work I Do

When employees are appropriately recognised and rewarded for their efforts, they are happier and more productive. Recognition and reward are also positively linkedto employee retention levels. What holds most SMEs back are their concerns that employee recognition programmes need to be expensive. In reality, this is far from the truth. While bigger companies can use their resources to invest in travel incentive programmes— which come with a whole host of benefits — smaller companies can show their appreciation in modest (but effective) ways.

All employees are looking for is an acknowledgement of their hard work, effort and dedication. If you are a smaller company, this is something your employees know and appreciate — they aren’t looking for a grand demonstration of your thanks. Luckily, it’s been shown that intrinsic motivators are tremendously successful. Something as simple as a personalised, or public, thank you would be effective. There are many effective and cost-efficient employee appreciation ideas you can implement today.

Senior Leaders Make the Effort to Listen to Staff

A Gallup poll revealed that line managers account for a staggering 70% variance in employee engagement levels. When leaders take the time to get to know their team members, hold regular coaching conversationsand actually listen to their employees, the results speak for themselves. Employees are happier, more engaged and feel more valued. Rather than feeling like another anonymous cog in a large machine, they feel like part of a tight-knit, effective team. If you receive low scores for this question, it’s an indicator that your employees are dissatisfied and disengaged with their leaders.

Thankfully, simply by asking this question (along with the others in your survey), you’ve taken the first step. You’re showing that you are interested in your employees’ insights and committed to positive change. What happens next is important.

You can either simply pay lip service to the survey and ignore the results — in which case, your employees will feel justified in believing that their thoughts and ideas don’t matter to leadership — or you can use the results of your employee survey to analyse your company’s problems while creating a plan to address and resolve them.

Employee surveys can be a tremendously beneficial tool — as long as you use them well. It’s altogether possible that you could dramatically revitalise and improve your employee experience by simply asking your employees what they think and what you could do better.

About the Author: Carolyn Nevitte is HR Director at People Insight, a company that helps organisations measure and improve the employee experience through employee surveys, 360-degree feedback and expert consulting.