16 employee engagement survey questions and best practices - Zendesk (2024)

Several studies show that employee engagement increases team productivity, job satisfaction, and profitability—encouraging positive business outcomes. While these results are great for business, it’s often difficult to know how to increase engagement when your staff is uncomfortable speaking up or feels that they don’t have the opportunity to.

Some employees may fear angering management due to a lack of anonymous reporting, may feel that their opinion doesn’t matter and leadership won’t take action, may assume leadership already knows about issues, or may not know who to talk to.

Help prevent these barriers by encouraging communication and feedback through regular team surveys.

In this complete guide, we will focus on employee engagement surveys and provide sample questions, best practices, and tips for using employee engagement survey data.

  • What is an employee engagement survey?
  • Employee engagement survey questions
  • Why are employee engagement surveys important?
  • How to carry out an employee engagement survey
  • Employee engagement survey best practices
  • What to do with engagement survey results

What is an employee engagement survey?

An employee engagement survey is a questionnaire sent to team members to gain insight into their relationship with the company.

At its core, the purpose of an employee engagement survey is to measure an employee’s:

  • Emotional commitment to the business they work for

  • Dedication to achieving business goals

  • Enthusiasm and drive to succeed in their role

Types of employee surveys

16 employee engagement survey questions and best practices - Zendesk (1)

In this section, we’re focusing on questions that measure engagement levels, but it’s important to note that there are six key employee surveys you can administer. Some people lump these survey types together when, in fact, they’re subsections of employee surveys. We recommend focusing on one type per questionnaire.

Focusing on just one part of the employee experience can help you obtain more actionable data, prevent confusion, and elicit more well-rounded responses. The survey types are as follows:

  • Employee engagement survey: Learn more about your staff’s sentiment towards your organization, their commitment to the job, and how dialed in they are to company initiatives.
  • Employee satisfaction survey: Discover how happy your employees are with their jobs and the company.
  • Workplace culture survey: Gain insights from your employees about company culture and pick up tips for improvement.
  • Employee onboarding survey: Get ideas for improving the employee experience (EX) journey for new hires.
  • Employer improvement survey: Allow employees to provide honest feedback and suggestions to improve leadership within your organization.
  • Employee support survey: Check in with your employees to ensure they’re receiving the level of support needed to do their job, whether that’s through tech support, better equipment, additional training, or something else.

Employee engagement survey questions

Now, let’s dive into some sample employee engagement survey questions. We’ll break down employee engagement objectives and share some questions, along with the best way to ask them.

Feel free to jump through this section to see the survey question samples that match your company’s objectives.

  • Employee commitment survey questions
  • Employee involvement survey questions
  • Company pride survey questions
  • Employee motivation survey questions
  • ​​Employee support survey questions

Use the following sample employee engagement survey question templates to successfully conduct your own survey.

Employee commitment surveys can help you understand how committed your staff is to the company and its goals, and help you brainstorm ideas for employee retention.

1. How do you see yourself growing with [Company Name]?

Employee engagement is often an early indicator of how long an employee will stay with the company. If they are actively considering internal career paths and have a growth plan for their career development, it’s more likely you’ll be able to retain them long-term.

  • Ideal answer format: Open-ended questions or short answer

2. Are you experiencing any barriers that lower your overall job satisfaction?

If you don’t have an established work culture that encourages honesty and transparency, this question may put your employees on edge. However, if you can get a clear answer, it can provide insights that ultimately prevent employee turnover.

  • Ideal answer format: Open-ended questions or short answer

3. How do your core job responsibilities align with company goals?

This question can get employees thinking about their role within the organization and hopefully encourage them to participate or take more initiative. It’s possible that they enjoy their job and plan to stick around, but may not be particularly engaged.

  • Ideal answer format: Open-ended questions

Employee involvement survey questions help gauge how much employees participate in business-related activities—including mandatory, social, and team-building.

4. On a scale of one to 10, how likely are you to participate in optional activities?

This type of survey question is more of a baseline check, but it can tell you if your employees are interested in optional company activities. Depending on employee personality, motivators, and workload, you may find better ways to support and connect with them.

  • Ideal answer format: Sliding scale

5. What company activities do you enjoy participating in most?

Employees who join company activities, are current with company updates, and regularly foster relationships with their colleagues are more likely to be engaged in company initiatives. If you know which activities they enjoy participating in most, you can create more of those opportunities.

  • Ideal answer format: Multiple choice or short answer

6. What company activities do you dislike or would like to change?

On the other side of the coin, forcing employees to participate in activities they’re disinterested in or that don’t directly relate to their job can quickly lead to frustration and burnout.

Sometimes, an employee may want to participate, but they’re not interested in a specific activity, or other factors discourage them from joining. Use your results to tweak or brainstorm activities to maximize participation and success.

  • Ideal answer format: Multiple choice or short answer

7. Do you feel like a part of the team?

Collaboration and camaraderie are important parts of employee engagement because staff members are more likely to stick around if they have a strong relationship with the people they work with. With more people working remotely, it’s important to check this metric regularly.

  • Ideal answer format: Sliding scale, multiple choice, or short answer

When employees take pride in their company and share key values, they will often engage more deeply with the organization and their work. Measure employee engagement with a company pride survey.

8. Are you proud to work for [Company Name]?

Employees who are proud of where they work, connect deeply with company values, and find meaning in their daily tasks are less likely to disengage and more likely to provide exceptional customer experiences. If there’s something about your company that doesn’t sit right with your employees, inform leadership and create a space for open dialogue so your staff can share their career goals.

  • Ideal answer format: Sliding scale, multiple choice, or short answer

9. How likely are you to recommend [Company Name] to a friend who is looking for a new job?

People want to look out for the people they care about. So if a friend is looking for a job and an employee is willing to recommend their own place of employment, it’s a pretty good sign they have a positive relationship with your company.

  • Ideal answer format: Sliding scale, multiple choice, or short answer

10. How likely are you to recommend [Company Name] to a prospective customer?

Engaged employees can be some of your strongest advocates. If they feel a connection with your company, they are more likely to recommend it to prospects.

If they don’t feel right about recommending your business to people in their network and community, follow up to understand why and identify opportunities for progress.

  • Ideal answer format: Sliding scale, multiple choice, or short answer

Every employee will have different things that make them feel a sense of pride in their workplace. Understanding these factors and their feelings towards the business can help you make organizational changes that keep employees satisfied and focused on long-term company goals.

11. What are your top three motivators at work?

Ask employees this question to understand what motivates them at work. Common motivators often include recognition, job growth, challenges, pay and benefits, or meaningful work opportunities. When you know what gets your employees geared up for work every day, you can use those motivators to enhance performance and job satisfaction.

  • Ideal answer format: Open-ended questions

12. What are your top three de-motivators at work?

On the other hand, de-motivators can take your employees out of the headspace needed to efficiently do their job. Some common de-motivators include poor pay, micromanagement, too many meetings, unclear goals, and more. Once you know how employees feel, you can help reduce or eliminate these problems.

  • Ideal answer format: Open-ended questions

13. Do you feel that you’re being properly compensated for the work you do?

Sometimes it’s smart to ask this question upfront. As a common de-motivating factor, many employees will feel uncomfortable broaching the topic of compensation unprompted.

  • Ideal answer format: Short answer

Another key survey that rides the line between employee satisfaction and engagement is employee support. Use these survey questions to understand your team’s technical support needs and how they’re utilizing the IT specialists and digital resources.

Using a survey tool like Zendesk, you can get clear employee support satisfaction insights, allowing you to better equip your team.

14. How often do you need help from IT?

This is another simple, baseline question that can tell you a lot. If your IT help desk receives frequent support requests, you may need to look into where their time is going or consider hiring more staff. If employees aren’t experiencing too many technical difficulties, you may even be able to utilize your tech support team’s skills elsewhere.

But first, you’ll need a better understanding of how often your staff leans on them and why.

  • Ideal answer format: Sliding scale or multiple choice

15. Are there any recurring technical challenges you encounter?

If employees keep running into the same issues, you may be able to address the root of the problem or even automate simple processes. Collect this information and then follow up with the team to see if they have any ideas for resolutions.

  • Ideal answer format: Short answer

16. On a scale of one to 10, how satisfied are you with the support you received?

This type of question works well for an after-service follow-up, and you can send it anytime an employee’s support ticket gets resolved. While it doesn’t allow you to delve into details, it helps you keep tabs on your employees’ overall satisfaction with your IT help desk.

If you notice that help desk ratings are declining, it means the issue likely requires your attention.

  • Ideal answer format: Sliding scale

16 employee engagement survey questions and best practices - Zendesk (2)

Zendesk Employee Experience Trends Report

Getting a leg up on your competitors starts with listening to and empowering internal teams. Learn how you can better support your employees and boost performance and job satisfaction.

See the trends

Why are employee engagement surveys important?

Employee engagement surveys have many benefits, but giving your employees a voice is probably the most important.

Creating opportunities for staff members to provide honest and constructive feedback can only benefit your organization. You don’t have to implement every suggestion, but by opening up the floor, you make meaningful change easier to implement.

Some additional benefits of employee engagement surveys include:

  • Giving your employees a voice

  • Securing better business outcomes

  • Inspiring new ideas that lead to positive change

  • Improving employee retention

  • Enabling employees to create better customer experiences

How to carry out an employee engagement survey

Use employee engagement surveys to obtain useful data and apply your findings to organizational improvement strategies. Here’s how to conduct an employee survey in 10 steps.

  1. Think about your reason for surveying. Define the purpose of your survey to keep questions structured and ensure you receive sufficient data to make informed decisions.
  2. Select survey software. Choose a tool that allows you to create and send surveys and review your answers.
  3. Choose a format. Depending on your objective, you may need to adjust the format of your survey. If you just need general estimates, a sliding scale and multiple-choice questions might get the job done. However, for more comprehensive feedback, you may want to ask more long-form and open-ended questions.
  4. Write unbiased survey questions that align with your objectives. Take care when wording survey questions to avoid inadvertently guiding employees to the answer they think you want to hear or causing confusion that ultimately skews your data.
  5. Consider if anonymity is needed. Typically, employee surveys don’t need to be anonymous (and most of the time they can’t be since survey software collects user data). For employee surveys that don’t require anonymity, try using a survey tool like Zendesk.
  6. Tell employees why you’re surveying them. Give your employees a reason to participate in your survey, whether by offering incentives or explaining how you will use the information and how it will benefit them.
  7. Launch your survey. Once you nail down an objective and write some survey questions, launch it and send the link to your employees.
  8. Notify employees that the survey is open. Let your employees know that they can access the survey and when the deadline is on multiple channels, such as email, Slack, or via a project management system.
  9. Review the responses. Once the survey ends, review the responses and identify any trends or inconsistencies. If you need to, follow up with another survey. If not, you’re ready for the final step.
  10. Take action. Think about how you can use your findings to bring positive changes to your organization.

Employee engagement survey best practices to increase response rates and quality

Here are some survey best practices your organization should consider for crafting unbiased surveys and encouraging employee participation.

  • Avoid asking misleading or biased questions.

  • Keep surveys short and to the point.

  • Incentivize employees to participate in engagement surveys with prizes like gift cards, samples, or free swag.

  • Ensure questions are closely related to objectives and don’t veer off-topic.

  • Promote your survey by sending out blasts via email and social media.

  • Set aside time for employees to answer questions at work to maximize survey participation.

  • Send survey questions to employees over convenient channels like Slack or email.

  • Select a robust survey tool.

How to interpret employee engagement survey results

16 employee engagement survey questions and best practices - Zendesk (3)

Employee engagement survey analysis is perhaps the most important part of executing an employee questionnaire. Assess survey data to identify trends and actionable insights that you can use to bolster employee engagement.

You can interpret employee engagement survey results in four simple steps:

  1. Identify patterns in data.

  2. Follow up on unclear trends with qualitative surveys.

  3. Set benchmarks for future comparisons.

  4. Look out for survey errors and response bias.

1. Identify patterns in data

Review employee engagement questionnaire response data to see if there are any recurring experiences, problems, or suggestions.

Start with changes that are attainable for your business, then tackle organizational changes that will positively impact the greatest number of employees. Keep in mind that what’s “easy” to fix and execute will vary by company.

Some questions company leaders can ask themselves to determine if a change is simple and necessary include:

  • How long will it take to implement?

  • How much will it cost?

  • Do we have the resources to do this in-house?

  • How many people will it impact?

  • How will it influence business outcomes?

2. Follow up on unclear trends with qualitative surveys

If, as you’re evaluating employee survey data, you don’t understand the underlying cause of an issue, follow up with a qualitative survey.

A qualitative survey is an open-ended questionnaire that allows you to gather long-form answers that give the respondent more freedom to elaborate on their prior responses.

3. Set benchmarks for future comparisons

Scheduling regular employee engagement surveys, and implementing suggested changes, should improve the agent experience, increasing loyalty to the organization and its goals. To ensure that feedback trends more positively on future surveys for issues you’ve handled, keep past survey data handy so you can review them when you assess metrics in the future.

If employee feedback is still negative or just not where it should be )based on your set benchmarks) you’ll know that it’s time to reevaluate.

4. Look out for survey errors and response biases

16 employee engagement survey questions and best practices - Zendesk (4)

Keep an eye out for survey errors and response biases.

If a survey result is surprising, dig deeper before taking action to ensure you have a full view of the picture. Some errors you can keep an eye out for include:

  • Biased questions: Occasionally, your questions about employee engagement may guide respondents to a specific response or confuse them, skewing results. Avoid this by writing questions using neutral language.
  • Question creep: Sometimes curiosity can get the best of you, and you may begin adding unnecessary questions “just because.” Lengthy questionnaires can cause respondents to become disinterested, resulting in less complete or comprehensive answers to important queries.
  • Inadequate sample size: If you’re looking for company-wide insights, it’s important that you collect survey responses from enough people to ensure accuracy.
  • Insufficient information: Whether you don’t ask enough questions or employees simply fail to reply to all of them, insufficient data can make identifying areas that need improvement difficult.

What to do with your engagement survey results

Once you collect the employee engagement survey results, you should:

  • Visualize data insights on employee sentiment

  • Identify opportunities for improvement

  • Create an action plan

  • Ask management to discuss data and upcoming engagement initiatives with the team

Get better feedback to build better employee experiences

Now that you know what it takes to carry out a successful employee engagement survey, you’re ready to learn more about crafting a positive employee experience that keeps morale and performance high.

And if you need more insights about employee satisfaction prior to generating ideas to take things to the next level and engage your team, get started with our Employee Satisfaction Survey Guide.

16 employee engagement survey questions and best practices - Zendesk (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg O'Connell

Last Updated:

Views: 5814

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg O'Connell

Birthday: 1992-01-10

Address: Suite 517 2436 Jefferey Pass, Shanitaside, UT 27519

Phone: +2614651609714

Job: Education Developer

Hobby: Cooking, Gambling, Pottery, Shooting, Baseball, Singing, Snowboarding

Introduction: My name is Greg O'Connell, I am a delightful, colorful, talented, kind, lively, modern, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.