Employees on computers filling out employee satisfaction surveys

Best Staff Survey Questions You Need to Ask Employees

Employee Engagement
December 23, 2021
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The adage goes: “If it can’t be measured, it can’t be managed.” Companies often use this saying to focus on analytics and KPIs, but the same can be said about employees and their happiness levels. Staff survey questions provide just one way to measure and manage this very important aspect of business. 

Let’s take a look at what an employee satisfaction survey entails and examples of employee survey questions. 

We will also touch on other solutions that can offer a more accurate way for employees to provide their feedback to your organisation honestly and anonymously (and on a continuous basis).

What is an Employee Satisfaction Survey?

An employee satisfaction survey is a survey that asks your staff how they feel about their job, the workplace, and overall feedback about their experience within your organisation. 

In most instances, staff survey questions are conducted anonymously so that employees feel that they can answer the survey honestly. However, it is important to note that some employees will still respond with some bias as they may feel pressured to respond with answers that they feel management “wants to hear.” We’ll get to how you can overcome this hurdle shortly. 

These days, employee survey questions are typically sent out digitally. They may include many questions, a single question, multiple choice questions, free reponses, or a scale to respond within set parameters.

Why Measure Employee Satisfaction?

Measuring employee satisfaction proves to be a vital exercise for organisations. The goal of these surveys is to receive feedback that provides actionable insights to managers, HR teams, and executives that can be applied to improve the workplace. 

In the same fashion that a company will perform market research to better understand its target customer, an employee satisfaction survey can be used to deeply understand the people who are most important to your business – your staff. 

Organisations look to sustain satisfied and happy employees in order to reduce costly employee absenteeism and increase employee performance. Surveys are just the first step you can take that will reap multiple benefits for your business and bottom line, including:

  • A more productive workforce (research shows that employees who feel heard are 4.6x more likely to deliver their best work)
  • Increased employee engagement and motivation 
  • Better internal communication 
  • An opportunity to spot and resolve issues 

As we touched on above, employees may feel pressured to answer employee engagement survey questions in one way or another based on what they believe the organisation wants to hear, even when they are conducted anonymously. 

To overcome this limitation, organisations are turning to employee wellbeing platforms that allow employees to anonymously self-report how they are feeling over time. With this awareness and insight, management teams can make informed and proactive decisions to support the positive mental health of staff members and ultimately boost employee retention.

What to Consider When Conducting an Employee Survey?

Employee surveys come in all shapes and sizes, or more specifically, varying lengths with varying questions. Since you have the power to ask the questions, they will directly depend on what you are looking to discover. 

When conducting an employee survey, it makes sense to consider the following: 

  • The survey’s goal: Ask yourself why you are conducting the survey in the first place. Is it to help locate issues that the organisation is facing? Is it to help inform business decisions about employee wellbeing programs? 
  • What you wish to measure: In order to receive the right insights, you’ll have to be clear about what you’re looking to measure. Some measurements that you may be interested in better understanding may be: employee engagement, employee satisfaction, employee performance, etc. 
  • Anonymity: Be sure to let your team know that their answers will remain anonymous. This way, you can promote honest answers. 
  • Deadline and Continuity: Add a deadline so that your employees know when the surveys are meant to be submitted by. Additionally, be sure to set adequate survey frequency as a single annual survey will no longer cut it. 

How to Ask the Right Questions in Employee Satisfaction Surveys?

Depending on your responses to the above considerations, the types of staff survey questions you ask will change. That being said, in order to make them “right,” or more accurately, productive questions, it’s helpful to structure your questions in a way that prompts actionable responses. 

To accomplish this, keep in mind the following recommendations:

  • Be concise: The shorter the survey questions are, the more likely your staff members are to understand and answer them in their entirety. 
  • Consider bias in questions: If you frame the questions with a sense of bias, you are implying the types of answers you wish to receive. For example, instead of framing the question as, “What do you think about your incredible manager?” say something like, “What would you consider to be your manager’s strengths and weakness?” This way, your question is structured with balance and prompts a response that follows suit. 
  • Keep it simple: Don’t write compound questions (a.k.a. One question with multiple subjects.) Instead, separate each question to only focus on one point at a time. 

Be Specific: Keep your questions specific so that you can gain actionable answers and insights. For example, rather than having your employees rate on a scale of 1 to 5 how much they agree with a statement like: “I feel supported at work,” you can get more specific by reframing the statement to: “I feel that my manager provides me with the resources and information that I need to get the task done as expected.”

What Should You Include in an Employee Survey?

Employee satisfaction surveys can be broken down into types of questions, with respect to the company culture, specific people, remote working environments, stress levels/wellbeing, personal growth, and more. 

Here are some examples of employee engagement survey questions by type. 

Questions About Workplace Culture 

  • Do you have the resources you need to complete your job duties? 
  • How well are you paid for the work you do? 
  • How often do you feel stressed at work?
  • Do you find your work to be meaningful? 
  • How satisfied are you with your salary?
  • How satisfied are you with your benefits? 
  • How well do you communicate with colleagues? 

Questions About Employee Satisfaction 

  • How happy are you at work? 
  • Would you recommend our company as a good place to work?
  • What was your main reason for joining this organization? 
  • Do you feel the reason you mentioned still holds true? If it has changed, what’s your reason for staying? 
  • What are this organization’s greatest strengths and weaknesses? 
  • On a scale 1 to 10, how reasonable is your workload? 
  • True or false: “My manager cares about my wellbeing.” 
  • True or false: “I can trust my direct manager.”  
  • On a scale 1 to 10, how much do you feel like you are part of a team? 

Questions About Personal Growth 

  • Do you have opportunities for promotion? 
  • Do you feel you have access to learn on the job? 
  • Have you accomplished your career goals in the last 3 months? 
  • What kind of training would you like to receive? 
  • On a scale of 1 to 10, how challenged do you feel in your current role? 
  • What motivates you at work? 

Questions About Management 

  • Does your manager motivate you?
  • Does your manager keep you informed? 
  • How often do you receive feedback (good or bad) from your manager? 

Questions About Working Remote 

  • Do you feel like your work environment provides you with a distraction-free space? 
  • Are you physically comfortable in your work environment? 
  • Do you need anything to make your current set-up more comfortable or productive? 

Questions About Recognition and Rewards 

  • Do you feel valued at work? 
  • How frequently do you feel recognised for your work? 
  • Do you feel that recognition is provided in a timely manner? 

The above questions are aimed to provide inspiration and serve as a jumping off point to create your own employee satisfaction survey. However, devising your own employee engagement survey can lead to misinterpretation and less than optimal outcomes. 

For starters, they can be misunderstood if not written correctly, leading to ambiguity. Unless you are experienced and understand what it is you need to be measured and the right questions to ask to help you measure it you can get invalid information and they can lead to bias. Not to mention incorrect questions will lead to your analysis and interpretation being misleading.

Instead, you can accurately gauge your employees’ level of engagement with the use of an employee wellbeing platform. With the right wellbeing solution, you benefit from questions that have been written by experts, are backed in science, and evidence-based. 

These questionnaires are designed to be comprehensive. Plus, with some platforms, the data is analysed by an expert in a fast turn-around time, resulting in less ambiguity. In turn, you can rest assured knowing that the results are more actionable and trustworthy.

What are the Types of Employee Satisfaction Surveys?

As you  can see from the example questions above, there are different types of employee satisfaction surveys. The type of survey is based on what you wish to focus on and gain insights about. 

For example, you can send out a general workplace culture survey, or you may prefer to focus on a single aspect to gain more clarity about your employees’ sentiments. You may choose to send several surveys at different points in time so you can cover all the bases, like: professional development opportunities, workplace culture, wellbeing and satisfaction, etc. 

But instead of having to select different types of employee satisfaction surveys only when you think you need to use them, you can support your teams’ emotional wellbeing year-round with the use of an employee wellbeing tool. 

This way, you will always have access to real-time insights on how your employees are feeling. By supporting your peoples’ mental wellbeing, you can promote a more positive and engaged workplace culture.

What Staff Satisfaction Survey Templates Are There?

You can also find staff satisfaction survey templates online. Depending on your need, you can find templates that focus on a variety of topics, such as: 

  • Compensation 
  • Financial benefits 
  • Personal wellness 
  • Inclusion and belonging
  • Supervisor performance
  • Career development 
  • Health benefits
  • Gender in the workplace
  • Team performance 

By Hybrid From Unsplash

To Survey or Not to Survey: That is the Question 

You’re aware of the benefits your organisation gains (reduced turnover, higher productivity, etc.) when you know what your employees are thinking and feeling about their job and the company overall. However, creating staff survey questions can be extremely open-ended and end up resulting in misleading interpretations of the data. 

While you’re spending time trying to devise a staff survey and process the results, your employees’ sentiments may very well have changed. Instead, you can skip the time-consuming nature of employee surveys and implement an employee wellbeing tool. 

Don’t forget that when it comes to emotions and opinions, constant and timely monitoring is crucial. The same can be said about the importance of transparency and eliciting honest, unbiased feedback. 

This is where a wellbeing platform can truly shine as it is inherently unbiased and your team members have access to the platform on a daily basis. Therefore, they feel comfortable to honestly share their thoughts, and then, HR teams and management have access to real-time analysis about their employees’ mood and can better support the workforce.

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