Employee engagement survey questions – what to ask and why

April 17, 2021

What are the best employee engagement survey questions you can use to get feedback from your employees and measure the level of employee engagement in your organization?

The importance of employee engagement is something most of us understand intuitively. Of course, it’s better when people are engaged in their work, right?

But we may not always realize to what extent engagement levels affect the actual business results. Research shows that a highly engaged team can increase productivity by 17% and reduce absenteeism by as much as 41%.

To read more about the benefits of employee engagement, read our article 5 benefits of employee engagement

In this light, it becomes very interesting both to measure the level of engagement, and to work proactively to improve it. 

This is why many HR leaders are now putting Employee engagement surveys at the very top of their agenda, often at the request of senior management. 

So what are the best employee engagement survey questions

Keep reading to learn about the drivers behind employee engagement, how to best structure your employee engagement survey, and what questions to ask to collect feedback from employees. 

Table of Contents

  1. The drivers of employee engagement

  2. Employee engagement survey questions and machine-learning

  3. Open-ended questions in employee engagement surveys

  4. eNPS and employee engagement surveys

  5. How Eletive can help

The drivers behind employee engagement

To know what questions to ask in your employee engagement survey, you must first get familiar with the drivers behind employee engagement. 

At Eletive, we work with 11 different areas of employee engagement that together form the basis for our employee engagement index. These drivers were chosen because of how closely they are related to the success of an organization and healthy company culture.

Are you interested in reading more about the 11 drivers – and the research behind them? Download the Eletive Scientific Foundation.

Feedback and Communication

This driver concerns the essential aspects of effective communication and constructive feedback. The focus is on how employees share information about important areas such as performance, work progress, resources, obstacles, and solutions.

Related Concepts: Interaction, language, discourse, dialogue, information distribution, correspondence, internal communication, feedback loop, communication skills.

Autonomy

The driver Autonomy covers the employees’ perception of possibility to influence various aspects of their work and work environment. Such aspects include the opportunity to adjust the work pace, exercise influence over decisions that affect their work as well as how the work should be carried out.

Related Concepts: Self-government, empowerment, self-control, sovereignty, independence

Meaningfulness and Participation

This driver focuses on a key aspect of engagement, that is the perception that one is taking part in something valuable and important, performing a job that really matters. The driver includes the sense of being respected and well treated by colleagues and managers. Also highlighted here is the perception that ones’ opinions, ideas, and contributions matter.

Related Concepts: Sense of coherence, synchronicity, cogency, encouragement, companionship, citizenship, presence, intentionality, sense of calling, contribution.

Workload

The driver Workload focuses on perceived levels of demands and control at work. The demands can come from different sources and be of various kinds. Work demands often come in the form of direct orders from a manager or colleagues. The demands also occur as expectations from customers or other stakeholders. The levels of control perceived by the employees mediate the outcome. A good balance between demands and control leads to a healthy work state, which is the focal point of this driver.

Related Concepts: Pressure, press, strain, stress, duty, demands.

Health

The driver Health focuses on three major underpinnings of maintaining good physical and mental health, namely food, sleep, and exercise. In addition, important symptoms of unhealthy stress are explored, in order to give early warning signs to employees that might be at risk of developing stress-related illnesses.

Related Concepts: Well-being, fitness, healthiness, vigor, strength, condition, sick leave, absenteeism, burnout, exhaustion, staff turnover.

Workplace and Tools

This driver emphasizes the contextual aspects of the workplace. The driver explores the employees’ views about whether the work environment enhances or disturbs their ability to perform their work. Furthermore, the driver maps peoples’ perception of whether they have adequate resources, such as tools and methods, to perform well, or if the resources are insufficient.

Related Concepts: (Workplace) Work context/environment, facilitators, disturbances, distractors, (Tools) Resources, capabilities, appliances.

Learning and Development

The driver Learning and development highlights the employees’ opinions regarding possibilities for professional and personal growth. This driver investigates to which extent the employees are able to do what they are really good at when at work.

Related Concepts: Organizational learning, skills training, mastery, competence growth, progress, professional advancement, innovative behavior.

Goals and Goal Achievement

This driver Goals and Goal Achievement highlights goal setting, the definition of goals, as well as the actions taken to reach goals. The driver put emphasis on whether the goals are clear and understandable, realistic, and also challenging enough.

Related Concepts: Objectives, goal orientation, target setting, direction guidance/control. 

Strategy, Vision, and Culture

This driver focuses on the employees’ perceived image of the organization’s strategy, vision, and culture. The driver explores how well employees have understood the core purpose, the fundaments of why the organization exists. This driver also highlights the extent to which employees identify with the purpose and culture of the organization.

Related Concepts: Action planning and design, aim, intention, tactics.

Relationship with Manager

The driver Relationship with Manager includes essential aspects of good leadership. It includes the managers’ ability to give support and create trust. This driver also emphasizes the managers’ capability to see the employees’ individual differences and to adapt their leadership accordingly.

Related Concepts: Leadership, manager relations, connections, associations, governance, authority.

Relationships with Colleagues

This driver put emphasis on the team spirit and the relationships between team members. The driver highlights communication, support, trust and conflict management. In addition, this driver also focuses on how employees view each other regarding responsibility, quality of work, and overall performance.

Related Concepts: Team spirit, connections, relations, membership, employee-ship. 

Employee engagement questions and machine-learning

Asking the right questions, at the right time, is key if you want to get the most out of your surveys. At Eletive, we use a machine-learning algorithm to make sure the real-time pulse surveys are aligned with the most pressing matters for each  unique user. 

Every user gets a unique set of questions, derived from a machine learning algorithm, that proactively sends follow-up questions based on how the employee responded in the previous survey. This not only helps prevent survey fatigue since the questions are different each time. It also puts the spotlight on the issues that most need attention, so that managers and HR can be proactive instead of reactive.      

Open-ended questions in employee engagement surveys

To understand what matters most to your employees, we always recommend that you add an open-ended text question at the beginning of every survey, and get valuable information from your employees that cannot be covered with a standardized question battery.  

AI analysis of open-ended questions

Reading all free-text answers manually can be time-consuming. At Eletive we're developing AI analysis to automatically scan and analyze the free text answers. The AI does a sentiment analysis to see if a statement is positive or negative. All the findings will be summarized and insights such as "75 people think ventilation is poor in the Stockholm office" can be gathered in real-time.

eNPS and pulse surveys

At Eletive, we recommend including an eNPS question in your pulse surveys. eNPS ( Employee Net Promotor Score) is a score used to measure employee engagement and employee satisfaction.

This way of measuring how employees feel is based on the same logic as the more commonly known metric Net Promoter Score (customer NPS), which companies use to calculate customer satisfaction.

To learn more about eNPS, check out our Guide to Employee Net Promoter Score

How Eletive can help

Eletive is a modern People Success Platform that helps you measure and increase engagement, performance, and self-leadership in your organization.

With intelligent real-time pulse surveys, you get important insights about the temperature in your company – so you can take better people decisions.