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The best employee survey questions

11th November, 2021.

The best employee survey questions

In 2020 there were 44,000 businesses in the UK with over 50 employees. Our State of UK Employee Engagement research found that 52% of businesses send an employee survey at least once every 6 months. That means, every year, there is a minimum of 45,760 employee surveys going back and forth between businesses and employees. That’s a lot of opinions, a lot of data and a lot of questions to get right!

Before we highlight some of the strongest questions to include in your employee surveys, let’s cover some of the essentials first.

The 15 dos and don’ts of employee surveys

Employee surveys are a hugely valuable method of gathering information from employees but there are many things to consider for you to maximise what you achieve.

1) DO have a clear goal for your survey

Ensure you know exactly what you want the survey to achieve. Do you want to measure employee engagement? Do you want to gather opinions on new company values? Do you want to better understand learning and development requirements? Whatever your reason keep it in mind throughout your survey creation ensuring every question relates to the outcome you want to achieve. This will keep it focused and provide higher quality results.

2) DO NOT send a survey without the relevant leadership team agreeing to its value, goals and output

The leaders of whichever teams you are sending the employee survey to need to understand its purpose, benefit and outcome to ensure they promote it effectively to their teams. Any doubt or uncertainty will reduce the number of people that take part and potentially influence how they answer the questions.

3) DO have a clear understanding of what the employee survey results will contribute to

Will the output from the survey be the decisive factor for a business decision? Will it contribute to other opinions and/or research? While having a goal is a starting point you also need to be clear as to how the survey will contribute to that goal. This also needs to be known and agreed upon by the entire leadership team. Any confusion or disagreement will hamper the effectiveness of the results.

4) DO NOT send a survey without your employees knowing exactly what it is for

To maximise survey participation you need to explain why your employees should take time to fill in the survey. This is your time to “sell” the survey. Include your goal, how the results will be used and expected timescales for the results to be actioned.

5) DO stick to one purpose

So often employee surveys end up covering multiple goals. As a result, they either become very long or don’t ask sufficient questions to get a conclusive result. By having a single goal for every survey you and your employees will have a much clearer picture of what its purpose is.

6) DO NOT exclude employees from taking part in the survey

While you may not intentionally exclude people from answering the survey if they do not have direct access to the survey their opportunity will be limited. Either find an employee survey tool that can be sent and filled in via a mobile device or hold sessions in which those employees can have access to the survey. Without this inclusive approach, your results will never be accurate.

7) DO be consistent

If your employee survey will be repeated set specific times for the survey. We are naturally creatures of habit so this familiarity will help with completion rates. If relevant, also include how the results of the previous survey have influenced or changed the business. The reiteration of how the results were used will further build confidence that their time spent filling in the survey will be time worth spent.

8) DO NOT overcomplicate your survey

Keep your questions to the point. Unnecessary or confusing words in a question will increase the effort required to complete the survey. Avoid using any jargon and keep your wording as simple as possible. Make sure there are no double negatives and ensure every question only asks for one thing.

9) DO mix your questions up

Ensure your questions are varied enough to keep your employees interested. While you may want to ask five questions to really drill into what they think about one thing, your employees are likely to lose interest. Also, use a variety of answer choices such as multiple choice, radio buttons and sliding scales. This encourages the recipient to keep focused.

10) DO NOT include too many open-ended questions

While these are useful to give employees an opportunity to expand on a specific point, they also require more effort to answer. As such, many people are likely to skip the question or abandon the survey. They also make it more difficult when analysing the results of the survey. Due to the manual element of needing to review each answer, open-ended answers can become overlooked.

11) DO keep your employee survey questions neutral

Perhaps one of the hardest things to achieve because you are naturally thinking about how the responses will be used. But effective surveys ensure that every question is neutral. Leading questions that demonstrate opinion will influence the results. Employees will answer the question how they think it should be answered rather than giving their true opinion. For example, instead of asking “How would you rate the success of our leadership team?” ask “How would you rate the performance of our leadership team?”

12) DO NOT miss out answers in your multiple-choice questions

If using multiple choice take a step back from the question and ensure you include all potential answers. Think of it on a scale from worst to best and include a mid-way response that enables the employee to be neutral. If it isn’t clear cut include a ‘none of the above’ or ‘other’ option. As a survey participant, there is nothing more frustrating than not having the option to select the answer you have in mind.

13) DO ensure you and/or colleagues have the time to analyse the results

Recent research found that only 28% of those responsible for sending employee surveys are completely satisfied with how the survey results are used. Typically, this is often due to a lack of resources or time to fully delve into the results. It is also caused by a lack of buy in from leaders in the business who don’t listen to the insight gained from the survey. Therefore, ensure you have the time to tease out every bit of insight from your survey and ensure point 2 is fully completed before you embark on the survey.

14) DO not forget to communicate the results of the survey and the actions that will follow

The moment employees think survey results aren’t used or listened to is the moment your employee survey participation rate plummets. Once you have analysed the results ensure your share these with your employees and include the outcome of the results. What will happen next? What will change? What are the timescales?

15) DO consider the user experience

A survey that is clunky to complete or visually unappealing will increase abandon rates. You need to make it as easy and as pleasant an experience as possible. The right employee survey tool should do a lot of this for you but always take a moment to fill the survey in as an employee to ensure it engages you and flows naturally.

Find further tips on how to improve employee survey response rates here

The best employee survey questions

Employee surveys can cover a vast array of topics from learning and development to cultural alignment. To help you get the most out of your employee survey we have selected questions for the five most common types of employee surveys; professional development surveys, employee satisfaction surveys, employee wellbeing surveys, employee engagement surveys and company culture surveys. All of the questions listed have been chosen because of the quality of the output they generate.

For each closed-ended question consider your pre-defined answer set. Some may benefit from multiple choice answers while others may be better suited to a scale. This consideration combined with the dos and don’ts listed above will help ensure you gather highly valuable insight from your employees.

Questions for professional development employee surveys

Whether you want to understand what your employees need and expect to progress their careers with you, or you want to assess how effective your learning and development programmes are, these questions will help you get the answers.

  • Do you feel you have the knowledge and support necessary to successfully do your job?
  • Are your tasks and responsibilities clearly defined and achievable?
  • Does our organisation support you in your career progression?
  • On a daily basis, how challenged are you at work?
  • Can you visualise a career path at [organisation]?
  • How invested is your line manager in your success?
  • Do you see yourself working here in two years?
  • How well does your manager support your career development?
  • Do you utilise all of your strengths in your role?
  • What would you change about our learning and development programme?

Questions for employee satisfaction surveys

These are the questions to ask if you want to gauge overall employee satisfaction. They will collate the views, attitudes and perceptions of your employees. An employee satisfaction survey is often used if you suspect an element of dissatisfaction because the results can help to define what that dissatisfaction is.

  • How satisfied are you with your job requirements and targets?
  • Does your line manager value your opinion?
  • If you could, what’s the one thing that you would change about your job?
  • When was the last time your manager recognised your achievements at work?
  • How satisfied are you with your current compensation and benefits?
  • Do you feel your role impacts the future success of our company?
  • Do deadlines and workloads regularly cause you stress?
  • How effective do you think our leadership team is?
  • Are you confident in our organisation’s financial stability?
  • Hypothetically, if you were to quit tomorrow, what would your reason be?
  • If you were given the chance, would you reapply for your current job?
  • Do you look forward to starting work each morning?

Questions for employee wellbeing surveys

The following questions will help you understand the level of wellbeing within your organisation whilst also identifying if there are any opportunities to improve your wellbeing initiatives.

  • How would you rate your work-life balance?
  • How valued do you feel at work?
  • Do you have all the tools and equipment you need to fulfil your role adequately?
  • How comfortable do you feel providing feedback to your manager?
  • Does your physical workspace fulfil your needs?
  • How connected do you feel with your colleagues?
  • When something unexpected comes up in your work, do you usually know who to ask for help?
  • Do you believe you’ll be able to reach your full potential here?
  • Do you feel comfortable and relaxed at work?
  • How could your work environment be improved?

Questions for employee engagement surveys

These questions will help you understand employee engagement by delving into the levels of commitment and drive each employee has for the work they do at your organisation.

  • How transparent is our company when communicating company performance?
  • Are you proud to work for [organisation name]?
  • How inspired are you by the company vision and values?
  • How likely are you to recommend [organisation name] as a good place to work?
  • Do you understand the strategic goals of the organisation?
  • Do you feel like you are contributing to the strategic goals of the organisation?
  • Do you look forward to coming to work each morning?
  • How empowered do you feel at work?
  • How can we improve your engagement at work?
  • Do you believe we will reach our organisational objectives?
  • Are we a better organisation now than we were six months ago?
  • Within your role, do you believe you have a positive impact on the organisation?

Questions for company culture surveys

Is the way that your employees view their work environment aligned with your company culture vision? These questions will find out by helping you measure the effectiveness of your corporate values.

  • How comfortable do you feel contributing ideas and opinions at work?
  • Without looking them up, can you recite our company values?
  • How comfortable do you feel asking for help?
  • What three words would you use to describe our culture?
  • Do you believe we are achieving our company values?
  • Does [organisation name] adequately addresses discrimination and inequality?
  • Do you think [organisation name] is socially responsible?
  • To what extent do colleagues respect one another?
  • How well does the leadership team listen to your feedback?
  • What can we do to improve the company culture?
  • Do you think the results of this survey will positively impact the future of our organisation?
  • In your opinion, how does this organisation define success?

Do you have the right employee survey tool to conduct your employee surveys?

Our employee survey tool enables you to create bespoke employee surveys whenever you need them. Results are presented in real-time dashboards making it quick and easy for you to analyse the results. Thanks to the employee app, everyone in your organisation receives the survey no matter where or when they work. This, combined with the ability to communicate the results with everyone through the internal communications tool, makes VRAMP a very effective employee survey tool. Discover more here.

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Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

I am a focused and highly organised communications professional with over 15 years marketing experience in the B2B sector.

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6 quick wins to improve employee survey response rates

6-quick-wins-to-improve-employee-survey

July 2, 2021.

6 quick wins to improve employee survey response rates

Surveys are a very well-known and proven way to get employee feedback, however, sometimes you are left wishing more people would take part, or the answers were a bit more involved. If you do find yourself asking these questions it is a clear sign that your employees may be finding it difficult to complete the survey. The good news is there are some really quick wins that can turn your employee survey response rates around.

Before you implement these tactics, you must be confident that your employees aren’t feeling fatigued. Our blog, ‘How to avoid survey fatigue’ discusses this in more detail and ultimately, if your employees have lost faith in the output of the surveys, the following steps will either have very little impact or simply won’t work.

But if you know that you have a solid employee survey communication loop in place, here are 6 quick wins that will help you see the survey responses you want:

  1. Predict the time required to fill in the feedback survey.
    By advising your employees how long it will take to complete the survey they know exactly what to expect and are less likely to put it off.
    Top tip: estimate how long it will take and add a bit more. Finishing the survey ahead of the expectation will give your employees a little boost!
  2. Make completing the employee survey part of their day.
    Designate a specific time when employees are invited to complete the survey so that it becomes one of their tasks rather than a task to fit in around everything else.
  3. Utilise advocates.
    Establish who your advocates are and encourage them to spread the word about the employee survey. A good employee survey platform will monitor who these people are, enabling you to ask for their support at the outset.
  4. Only send the survey to relevant people.
    Segmentation is key if you are to maximise survey participation. Most employee survey tools should enable you to segment your employees so just ensure you spend time identifying the most suitable groups.
  5. Use the right tone of voice.
    Ensure the terminology you use is relevant to the employees you are sending it to and avoid any loaded questions. It’s easy to fall into this trap when you are writing the questions so we would also suggest you get someone else to proofread the survey.
  6. Ensure there is value in every question.
    As you write a question think about the possible answers and how you can utilise those answers. Unless every question will generate responses that will confirm theories or inform actions there’s no point asking it.

If you feel like you need to find a better way to gather feedback, get in touch and we will show you how our employee engagement survey tools will help you achieve better results from your employee feedback survey.

daniel wright

Daniel Wright

Marketing Assistant

Driven to learn and better myself physically, mentally and professionally.

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Blog Employee Surveys

How to avoid employee survey fatigue

how-to-avoid-employee-survey-fatigue

June 25, 2021.

How to avoid employee survey fatigue

Surveys are unquestionably an extremely valuable way of gathering employee feedback. But in a world when many organisations turned to employee surveys to ‘check-in’ on their employees during lockdown, the term “survey fatigue” is increasingly being used. But survey fatigue needn’t become an issue. This blog looks at the reasons employees suffer from survey fatigue and the steps you can take to prevent it happening.

What is survey fatigue?

Survey fatigue occurs when an employee becomes frustrated or lacks enthusiasm towards an employee engagement survey. Those who feel fatigued are likely to either not complete the survey in the first place or provide inaccurate results. Both, of which will hamper employee engagement strategies.

There are two ways to define survey fatigue:

  1. Survey response fatigue – employees feel like they have been asked to complete too many surveys.
  2. Survey taking fatigue – whilst completing the survey employees lose interest and disengage.

The reasons for survey fatigue

If you ask your employees the reasons for feeling fatigued, they are likely to give you a number of reasons but actually, if you drill into them, most employees will be experiencing a lack of action fatigue rather than survey fatigue. If they do not feel like their responses will be used, or if they have not seen evidence of how their input has been used, they will quickly question the value of contributing to a survey. Four out of five employees stated that their managers would not act on survey results in a study by HR Magazine. This is an enormous proportion and highlights just how important it is to structure your entire employee survey process effectively.

Five steps to prevent employee survey fatigue

The golden rule to preventing survey fatigue is to drop the term “survey fatigue”! Instead focus on “lack of action fatigue”. As the statistic above highlighted, 80% of employees believe there is a lack of action within their organisation so by addressing this first, the rest will follow. The prevention is a simple one, albeit multi-faceted: communication, communication, communication.

Step 1: With every employee survey you complete you must first explain the purpose of the survey and how the results will be used.

Step 2: Once you have your responses and have analysed the results it’s time to communicate the findings to your senior leadership team and agree on the actions.

Step 3: Next you need to relay this message to line managers so that they understand what actions will be taken, why and what is expected of them.

Step 4: At this point don’t rely on your line managers to spread the message to your wider teams. We would always recommend you communicate directly with each employee to ensure everyone receives the same consistent message. Whether through an employee app or a company briefing, you need to know that everyone has seen what you are doing with their survey response.

Step 5: There is then one final step to close the employee survey loop. As actions come to fruition remind your employees why the changes are occurring. Some changes can take time to put in place so a gentle reminder that “you told us X, so we did Y” will reconfirm the value you put on their opinion.

Once you have a survey communication loop in place and you are confident that all actions are being followed through on, there are other best practices for employee engagement surveys than you can call upon to further improve survey participation rates. Take a look at our 6 ways to improve employee survey response rates blog for more information.

If you would like any support preventing survey fatigue and improving employee engagement, get in touch today.

daniel wright

Daniel Wright

Marketing Assistant

Driven to learn and better myself physically, mentally and professionally.

Categories
Blog Employee Surveys

5 Great Employee Survey Questions

employee surveys

5 great staff survey questions

Happy employees are more productive and engaged at work. Employee surveys are a great way to gauge the current mood and highlight issues you may have in the workplace but they will only work if you ask the right staff survey questions.

Employee surveys must be short, easy to understand and not an exercise in fishing for compliments. If you are looking to refresh your employee engagement survey the following 5 questions can help you evaluate employee connection to your company.

Do you find your work worthwhile?

Employees need to feel their work has meaning. When asked in a recent global survey why employees stay with their current company, 32% said they felt the work they did was meaningful.

They chose this option over others like money, company culture and colleagues. In an ideal world you would only hire employees who see the benefit in what your company provides, but that is easier said than done! Using these kinds of staff survey questions in your employee surveys helps measure how many employees find meaning in their work and in turn much more likely they are to remain at the company.

Do you enjoy our company culture?

Creating an enjoyable company culture is necessary for retaining hard working employees. It’s critical your people enjoy your work culture, which includes workplace environment, company goals and expectations, and company values.

A good workplace environment can build better working relationships between colleagues and reduce absenteeism which in turn creates greater collaboration and efficiency.

How likely are you to recommend our company to a friend as a place to work?

This classic Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) question seeks to measure not just employee satisfaction or connection to your company, but whether employees like your company enough to tell their friends about it.

Many companies offer referral schemes when an employee recommends a strong candidate for a position. This helps reduce recruitment costs and your current employees are likely to be good judges of someone who would fit in well with your company’s culture.

Do you feel valued at work?

A really critical point to cover in your staff survey questions because feeling valued and appreciated at work is a very necessary component for low staff turnover rates and high employee satisfaction. 79% of employees who leave their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving.

If your employees feel valued they will often go the extra mile. Staying late, volunteering to help other teams and putting maximum effort into their work without constant need for praise. On the flipside, if they don’t feel respected and valued by the company, they won’t feel as inclined to deliver results.

Fun Question

As part of forming a good company culture one of your staff survey questions should be more relaxed. Break up the targeted questions with fun ones like “rate the coffee in the breakroom from 1 (hot mud) to 10 (Java gold)”.

Don’t make them personal – keep the focus on inanimate objects. These fun questions can uncover hidden gems too, maybe the coffee is terrible and by changing brand you see an increase in overall happiness!

If you are ready to send employee surveys and need an easy way to create the survey and analyse the results, have a look at our employee survey feature. 

author-darren-hepburn

Darren Hepburn

Director

Bon Jovi loving, social media junkie and F1 fan. I spend most of my time thinking about the impact technology is having on our society. And my pug Winston…