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Surveys, when combined with other forms of employee feedback, are a useful tool to get insights into what’s driving HR KPIs such as employee engagement.

But, as you’re here, you’re probably wondering what questions to ask to get a clearer understanding of levels of engagement in your org.

To help you out, we’ll start by quickly touching on what employee engagement is and what drives it, followed by some ideas for engagement survey questions and best practices to help you get the most from your research.

We’ll cover:

Let’s dive in.

What is employee engagement?

Before we can measure something we need to understand what we're trying to measure. Broadly speaking, employee engagement is the level of mental and emotional commitment a team member has for your organization and the work they do. It has a direct impact on other crucial KPIs such as productivity, turnover, and innovation. Is someone just turning up for the paycheck or are they pushing hard to help drive the company forward?

Drivers of employee engagement (or disengagement) are:

  • A clear mission and vision e.g. “To revolutionize space technology with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets” (Space X).
  • A clear understanding of individual roles and responsibilities and how this relates to the company’s success
  • Regular feedback and performance discussions
  • A supportive manager
  • The necessary tools to work effectively
  • Feeling included and comfortable contributing ideas
  • Stimulating work
  • Training and development opportunities
  • A clear career path
  • Recognition and rewards
  • A good onboarding process
  • A healthy work-life balance
  • Fair compensation.

With this in mind, we’ll give you some examples of what you might want to ask in an engagement survey.

57 Employee engagement survey questions

When conducting any employee survey, it’s important to ask the right questions to get the data you need while ensuring that you don’t inadvertently alienate employees or bias their responses.

Below, we’ve provided a list of employee engagement questions you can use or use as a jumping-off point when drafting your own employee engagement survey questions.

We’ve sorted them into 5 different sections based on the different aspects of engagement they seek to measure.

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Purpose and satisfaction

Employees who feel that their job description closely aligns with their work are 2.5 times more likely to be engaged, which makes sense.

Likewise, an organization’s mission and values—and the action it takes to embody those values—matter to today’s employees.

  • Employees expect their employers to take action on social issues such as climate change (81%), automation (79%), and racism (79%). 
  • For 67% of job seekers, diversity and inclusion initiatives are determining factors in selecting an employer. 

These questions aim to assess an individual’s alignment with your organization’s mission and goals as well as clarity around their role and overall levels of enthusiasm. 

  1. I feel proud to work for [Company Name]
  2. I have a clear understanding of the company's mission and vision
  3. I understand why our values are what they are and feel they guide my work effectively
  4. The company’s mission, vision, and values inspire me
  5. I feel excited about coming to work most days
  6. I feel motivated to go the extra mile for [Company Name]
  7. I rarely think about seeking a job at a different company
  8. I see myself still working here in 2 years' time
  9. I feel motivated to do my best work
  10. I would recommend [Company Name] as a good place to work
  11. I understand what I need to do to succeed in my role
  12. I understand how my role contributes to the overall success of the organization
  13. I feel ownership of my work
  14. I believe that quality and improvement are important to [Company Name]
  15. I find my work for [Company Name] meaningful
  16. I feel that [Company Name] is a socially-responsible organization
  17. I believe that [Company Name] is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and its practices reflect this
  18. I believe that [Company Name] is committed to environmental stewardship
  19. I feel that the company culture at is positive and collaborative

Leadership questions

There’s a strong relationship between great management and employee engagement levels. 

In fact, according to Gallup, “70% of the variance in team engagement is determined solely by the manager.”

Employees who report having regular meetings with their managers and receiving frequent feedback are three times more likely to be engaged employees. They’re also less likely to want to leave. To poach an employee from an engaging manager, you can expect to fork over at least a 20% pay raise. 

These questions seek to measure engagement by getting insight into employees’ view of—and relationship with—the organization’s leadership as well as their direct manager(s). 

  1. Leaders communicate clear goals and objectives
  2. I feel that the leadership are transparent and shares important information that affects the company as a whole 
  3. I feel that the leadership is transparent and shares important information that affects me as an individual
  4. I feel that my manager is someone I can respect and trust
  5. I believe that my manager is capable and effective
  6. I receive regular feedback about my performance and how I can improve
  7. I believe that my manager is invested in my success
  8. I feel that the executives care about creating a positive work environment and company culture
  9. I feel that I receive appropriate recognition for my work

Work enablement questions

There are few things more frustrating or burnout-inducing than not having the resources (whether that be time, materials, or skills) to achieve seemingly impossible goals set by managers.  

These questions seek to measure engagement by eliciting feedback on whether employees feel that the organization equips and empowers them to succeed in their roles. 

  1. I feel I am equipped with the skills and knowledge to do my job well
  2. I have access to the resources, tools, and materials I need to succeed in my role 
  3. I feel that my team is equipped to meet our objectives
  4. I feel I have access to the training I need to excel in my role 
  5. I think that the systems and processes in place to support employees in getting their work done are effective
  6. I feel I have a good working relationship with my team members
  7. I feel comfortable and safe voicing my opinions and contributing ideas
  8. I feel comfortable asking for help if I don’t have the resources, time, or skills I need to perform a task
  9. I usually have enough time to do my work well 
  10. I often work long hours or take work home to complete projects
  11. I feel I have a healthy balance/separation between work and my personal life
  12. I feel that if I ask for help, I will receive it
  13. I know who to ask for help if I need it

Work environment questions

Work Institute’s 2020 Retention Report found that 7.7% of avoidable employee turnover are the result of issues stemming from the work environment—that is, their physical and cultural surroundings. 

With the rise of remote and hybrid work environments, tracking the relationship between engagement and the work environment will only become more important. 

These questions aim to measure engagement by establishing whether employees are satisfied with the physical and cultural environment of the workplace or office space itself.

  1. I feel that the workspace is conducive to work
  2. The workspace or office is well-equipped for the work at hand
  3. The workplace offers comfortable places to take a break, relax and socialize with my colleagues
  4. The workspace or office is set up for collaboration as well as work that requires concentration
  5. I am satisfied with the amenities available in the workplace

Development questions

Employees invest in companies that invest in them. Companies with high internal mobility (that hire/promote from within) retain employees for twice as long as companies that don’t prioritize promoting from within—and these internally hired employees are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged.  

These questions seek to measure engagement by asking how employees feel about their career and development prospects with your organization.

  1. I believe there are good career opportunities for me here
  2. I have access to professional development opportunities
  3. My manager or supervisor is interested/invested in my career aspirations
  4. I feel my work is the right balance of achievable and challenging
  5. I feel that my work is contributing to my professional development
  6. I believe performance management initiatives are sufficient

Free-text questions

Free-text questions provide an opportunity to ask your employees for more general feedback on issues they deem important. 

Including open-ended questions allows you to gather qualitative data in addition to the quantitative data you gather through scale-based questions. 

These questions give employees a chance to be heard, address anything you didn’t think to ask about, and raise issues that you may not even be aware of. 

  1. What things are [Company Name] doing really well?
  2. What do you think [Company Name] could be doing better? 
  3. Is there anything we didn’t ask you about in this survey that you feel we should know?
  4. Are there any specific things we could do to help you feel more engaged at work?

Employee engagement survey best practices

Here are some best practice tips to make the most of your engagement surveys:

culture amp survey screenshot
Source: Culture Amp.

Survey design best practices

  • Consider the type (or types) of question and response you’ll use. Will you ask open-ended questions? Will you use a rating system or sliding scale (strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree)? Will you provide a comment field so employees can give their opinions and/or explain their ratings? 
  • Clearly communicate the reason for the survey and how ultimately it’s designed to benefit the participants
  • Use frequent pulse surveys instead of annual surveys to continuously measure and improve engagement and track improvement over time
  • Give the option for people to complete the survey anonymously to encourage employees to be honest in their criticism without fear of reprisals
  • Use automation available in tools such as employee survey software to set up survey completion deadlines and reminders
  • Use shorter surveys with fewer questions to encourage survey completion. Under 20 minutes is a good rule of thumb. 
  • Beware of using emotive language or phrasing that could influence or bias the respondent’s answer.
  • Don’t leave an implied answer. If your questions include words that convey a value judgment (e.g. “what do you think of our terrific new hybrid model?”) you’re implying what kind of answer you want to hear, which defeats the purpose of the survey.
  • Don’t try to kill two birds with one stone. Avoid referring to two subjects within the same question, as this can lead to confusion and inaccurate answers. 
  • Use simple, inclusive language
  • Use a simple response scale such as the Likert Scale to keep survey responses fast and low-effort to improve participation.

Post-survey best practices

  • Communicate to your employees what you’ve learned and what you’re making it a priority to improve employee engagement and learn from them
  • Use data analysis to identify trends and gain insight into fluctuations in survey responses over time 
  • Use follow-up surveys or interviews to dig deeper to understand specific employee concerns and how to fix them
  • Invite employees to be part of the conversation and take ownership of their engagement
  • Take deliberate action to address issues revealed through the survey responses
  • Clearly communicate the actions you’re taking to improve engagement
  • Embed engagement goals throughout your organization—and at all levels
  • Offer employees transparency by sharing the survey results

Beyond surveys

While engagement surveys are a great way to measure how your employees feel about your organization, just running a survey isn’t going to fix—or even find—all your problems. 

To more accurately measure employee engagement, it’s worth combining feedback from multiple sources such as:

For more on running successful surveys, check out An Easy Guide To Employee Surveys (With Questions), and for detailed advice on improving engagement in your organization, read The Y Factor: How To Successfully Increase Employee Engagement.

For further guidance, subscribe to the People Managing People newsletter and join our supportive community of HR and business leaders passionate about sharing knowledge and organizations of the future. 

By Finn Bartram

Finn is an editor at People Managing People. He's passionate about growing organizations where people are empowered to continuously improve and genuinely enjoy coming to work. If not at his desk, you can find him playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors.