Our Employee Engagement Survey Questions, Revealed

It’s no question that employee engagement plays a central role in your workplace. It’s a core driver of happiness, productivity, and retention. The good news is that there are myriad ways to gauge and boost engagement, from learning and development to office design.

As Namely grows, employee experience continues to be a top company-wide priority. And we’re not alone in this—at our recent HR panel, our speakers were flooded with audience questions on what to ask on their employee engagement surveys.

We believe that the future of HR is open, so we want to share our secret sauce. Below we reveal six of our key engagement questions that help us drive Namely’s employee experience. We frame our survey items as statements and ask employees to select a response on a five-point scale (i.e. Strongly Disagree / Disagree / Neutral / Agree / Strongly Agree). 

1. I would recommend [company] as a great place to work.

This question—which is otherwise known as eNPS, or employee Net Promoter Score—is critical to get a top-level pulse on employee sentiment. As your company culture evolves, this question allows you to track employee engagement over time and measure the direct impact of your efforts. This metric is also helpful when reporting to senior leadership and the board of directors who want an overview of how things are going.

Follow this question with more specific prompts that drill into the specifics of what is going wrong, and use this feedback to implement new initiatives that address pain points. Don’t forget to leave room for employees to make open-ended comments too and encourage them to share honest (and anonymous) feedback.

2. I am proud of the work that I do.

This question stems from a popular theory around work engagement by Bakker and colleagues, who proposed that work engagement consists of three parts: 1) Dedication (pride and commitment to one’s work), 2) Vigor (energy and resilience at work), and 3) Absorption (full concentration while working).

Asking this question reveals whether employees recognize themselves as valuable assets to the company. If they do not, there may a disconnect in the work done and leadership recognition of that work. In addition to this question, consider asking employees who at the company makes them feel valuable, and how they measure their own value.

3. When I get up in the morning, I’m excited to go to work.

Employees who feel burnt out, overworked, or bored are likely not contributing as much as they could in an environment where they felt motivated and inspired. In line with Bakker’s model, measuring the vigor of your workforce can help you identify whether employees are feeling disheartened or distracted in their work. Do they simply need to take more vacations? Is there not enough social downtime spent with colleagues? Or perhaps more manager recognition is needed? There are many creative ways HR can help increase the energy level across the office, but first you need to identify the disconnect.

4. I’m happy when immersed in my work.

To bring Bakker’s model full circle, you’ll want to gage employee absorption in their work. Of course, most employees won’t go home dreaming of the next day at work, but you want to ensure they do not leave with a dread for tomorrow (or a permanent case of the Sunday Scaries). It’s crucial to promote work-life balance that lets employees disconnect once they leave the office. That said, when employees do think about the work day, you want them to have good thoughts rather than animosity. Rewarding good work and encouraging managers to let employees recharge after hours can help ensure that any post-work reflections are positive.

5. I would recommend my manager.

A great manager can make or break the employee experience. You want all employees to feel supported, heard, and appreciated by their managers. This question gives you a pulse on the overall impact of leadership across your company. The results will help uncover trends in different departments, which is especially useful if certain teams have traditionally had lower engagement. Follow this with more in-depth questions on manager competencies to help identify areas for improvement.

6. Diversity is a priority at [company].

In an increasingly global workforce, diversity is top of mind for employees and leadership alike. As HR, you want to ensure that you are supporting your company’s drive toward a diverse and inclusive workforce. This is not a question for HR or leadership to shy away from, but to face head on. If the survey reveals a problem here, it’s time for HR to prioritize this and gain employee trust. Having an entire company hold you accountable will help ensure that this initiative doesn’t fall by the wayside long-term.

The questions above are not intended to be directly actionable; instead they are intended to provide a high-level snapshot of employee sentiment and help HR probe deeper into areas that need improvement. As you craft your own survey, the questions will almost certainly depend on the values, priorities, and structure of your company. If you do your homework and make informed decisions based on survey results, you will find these scores moving consistently up and to the right.

Need the numbers to back it up? Our guide to HR metrics makes it easy to use the employee data that comes from survey results.

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