When you’re planning an engagement survey, what you ask and how you ask are critical to your success in building an engaged, high-performing culture.
Asking the right questions and designing a high-quality employee engagement survey means you have the right insights to make targeted changes that lead to tangible results — both for your team, and for your business.
Here’s what to ask — and how to ask it — to create an employee engagement survey that enables you to support your team to perform at its best.
What makes a good engagement survey question?
Engagement surveys are essential for identifying the factors that impact your employees’ experience of your workplace. They help you see how employees feel about your culture, understand their level of work engagement, and proactively diagnose any areas for improvement that could be harming performance.
Designing questions that deliver high-quality insights requires you to be intentional about how they’re structured and exactly what they’re asking. In general, engagement survey questions must:
- Be specific and unambiguous in intent.
- Only ask one thing at a time.
- Be worded neutrally so as not to sway answers one way or another.
- Ask about factors you can actually change or improve.
Examples of Effective Engagement Survey Questions
Use the links below to skip to each category of survey questions.
- Engagement Survey Questions
- Psychological Safety Survey Questions
- Team Culture and Work Relationship Survey Questions
- Management and Leadership Survey Questions
- Growth and Development Survey Questions
- Role and Company Alignment Survey Questions
- Employee Wellbeing Survey Questions
- Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Survey Questions
Note: When using Lattice Engagement, these questions are phrased as statements because the survey style uses the Likert scale, which ranks answers from a scale of 1 to 5. This scale provides a standardized rubric for employees to rate answers, and makes it easier for HR to report on survey results.
Engagement Survey Questions
A job can be stimulating but unsatisfying — or it can mean your employees come to work with a spring in their step each day. Measuring engagement is critical because it delves into how motivated your employees are to perform at their best. Knowing how to spot the signs when engagement is waning means you’re better able to respond in time before performance dips or turnover rises.
- How likely are you to recommend [this company] to a family or friend? Much like customer satisfaction, this question is a great indicator of overall employee engagement and job satisfaction in your workplace. It’s usually measured as a numerical score known as the employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), and gives you a barometer for employee sentiment.
- To what degree do you feel invested in our mission, vision, and values? A broad question like this is a gut check for your company. It can help you clearly understand how motivated and engaged employees feel — and whether or not working with you gives them a sense of purpose and job satisfaction. Low values and mission alignment could also signal that your hiring process needs some work.
- How fulfilled do you feel by the work you’re doing? Fulfillment, purpose, and meaning at work are critical pillars of employee engagement. Asking this question helps you gauge your employees’ current level of job satisfaction — and gets them to think about if they’re really thriving.
- How connected do you feel to the people at this company? Peer relationships are a vital part of job satisfaction and employee motivation because they give us a sense of belonging. This question will help you understand how well integrated employees feel within the team.
- How motivated do you feel to do your best work? When employees feel engaged, they’re likely to be more motivated to bring their best to work each day and perform at a higher level. Motivation can be impacted by a range of factors, so knowing when it’s going up or down can help pinpoint what contributes to it.
Psychological Safety Survey Questions
Psychological safety is vital for employee engagement — it’s the degree to which people feel comfortable expressing their ideas without fear of judgment. A 2020 study on psychological safety found it has a strong impact on both innovation performance and innovation capability. Meanwhile, a 2022 study on psychological safety found that it makes us more open-minded and increases our ability to self-reflect.
- How comfortable are you asking other members of your team for help? Being able to lean on our team members in times of need is a big indicator of how psychologically safe people feel. If employees rate this question highly, it’s a good sign that they feel comfortable within their own team.
- To what extent are you comfortable sharing constructive or challenging feedback to members of your team? Sharing feedback is an important part of team innovation and performance. Asking whether or not anyone feels able to bring up a tough issue helps determine whether the team feels empowered to speak up.
- To what extent do you feel supported by your coworkers to achieve success in your role? Feeling supported at work is key to job satisfaction and performance. If employees consistently score this question with low marks, it could be a sign that their needs aren’t being met to do their best work.
- To what extent do you feel appreciated when you do good work? Praise and positive feedback give us a sense of meaning and accomplishment at work that nurtures growth and development. Not feeling appreciated is often a sign that engagement and psychological safety could be taking a hit.
- Do you feel safe taking risks and making mistakes in your current team? Being able to safely make mistakes or try out a new strategy is key to a psychologically safe culture. This question helps you identify whether teams create a supportive culture for experimentation and innovation.
Team Culture and Work Relationship Survey Questions
We spend most of our waking hours at work— so it’s probably not surprising that one of the most important elements of staying engaged long-term is found in the people we work with. How we collaborate and communicate play a huge part in that — but it’s equally important to measure the impact of work friendships.
- To what extent do you agree that your team communicates effectively?Effective collaboration depends on employees understanding how other people work and what they’re working on. This question helps you understand how well each team communicates, and if there are any issues that are hindering engagement and work performance.
- Do you feel you have the right people on your team to accomplish your work?This question indicates the level of trust an employee has in their coworkers’ abilities to do their work and contribute towards team goals. If employees consistently score this question with a low mark, it could be an indication that team communication and alignment isn’t quite working.
- How likely would you be to continue working on this team?Employees rarely get to choose their team members — but in a high-performing, highly-engaged culture, they should feel supported by the people they work with day to day. Asking this question helps identify any mismatches in team dynamics and relationships, as well as highlights when individuals don’t feel a sense of belonging.
Management and Leadership Survey Questions
An employee’s relationship with their manager is one of the most important working relationships. Asking about employee sentiment on your organization’s management and leadership can give you a lot of insight on how employees feel about their line managers, as well as how senior leaders stack up in terms of visibility, decision-making, and company direction.
- Do you feel that your manager communicates clear goals for your team? Setting goals and expectations for performance is critical to any team’s success — and managers are a key part of this process. Unclear goals hinder employee performance, so this question helps organizations understand if some managers need extra support.
- To what extent do you agree that your manager supports you in your work? It’s an often-cited adage that employees don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad managers. Identifying how and where managers could use some support in supporting their own teams’ success is critical to ensuring long-term performance and engagement.
- Does your manager give you actionable feedback on a regular basis? Feedback gives employees the tools and motivation to work towards continuous improvement. Asking this question helps organizations identify where feedback loops are failing.
- To what extent do you feel that senior leaders model [this company’s] expected behaviors and values? These days a job isn’t just a job — employees are increasingly opting for organizations that align with their values and beliefs. When leadership behavior doesn’t match up with company norms, it could be enough to make employees leave for another organization.
- To what extent do you trust the decisions of the senior leadership in this company? Trust is hard to earn, and easy to lose — but research on leadership shows keeping trust in leadership high is vital to driving high performance. But when trust is low, employees could be more likely to leave. Measuring the extent to which employees trust in senior leadership demonstrates their likelihood to feel motivated giving their best — but it’s also a great benchmark during good times and bad.
Growth and Development Survey Questions
High-growth cultures are high-performance cultures. This is because when employees can feel you’re visibly committed to nurturing their growth and professional development, they’re more likely to stay, according to a study on employee turnover. High-growth cultures also contribute to higher job satisfaction and role performance.
- To what extent do you have the opportunity and time in your schedule to grow and develop in your role? Carving out time for growth can be challenging in the flow of work — but it’s vital to helping your employees shape their skills and future career, both within their role with you, and beyond. Asking this question helps you identify if you’re falling short on providing the right conditions, equipment, and environment to encourage continuous learning.
- To what extent do you see yourself growing and developing your career in this company? This is a direct question that can help you determine whether or not employees feel they can grow at your company, and have a clear vision of their career trajectory with you. When employees believe that they have a roadmap to grow at your company, they’re likely to be more invested in staying for the long haul. If employees consistently score low marks for this question, it could be a sign that they need greater clarity around their career path and defining how they can grow.
- Have you had a meaningful conversation at work about your career development in the past six months? Performance and development should be addressed more than just once a year, even if your company only does annual reviews. Asking this question helps you see if your growth and performance processes are working, as well as identifying whether or not employees have clarity over their future at your organization.
- What is one change this company could make to help you maximize your potential? Asking an open-ended, direct question like this forces employees to think about the single most impactful change that they’d like to see to support their own growth and performance.
- To what extent do you find your work to be a positive challenge? Challenging, meaningful work is a key foundation of employee engagement. When work is too easy, employees are more likely to phone it in with their discretionary effort. Too hard, and they’re likely to feel demotivated before they’ve even looked at their to-do list. Asking this question helps you better identify the sweet spot that drives high performance and skills acquisition.
Role and Company Alignment Survey Questions
If an employee doesn’t know the purpose behind their work, their job becomes meaningless. Asking questions that gauge individuals’ level of role and company alignment helps you understand where you’re doing well — and where employees lack clarity on what’s expected of them.
- To what extent do you agree that you have the tools and resources to do your job? This question can help you gauge whether employees feel they have all they need to succeed in their role, including materials and equipment and necessary support or clarity over goals. It can also help you identify when employees feel overwhelmed or overworked.
- Do you feel that you have the autonomy you need to do your job well? To maximize engagement and motivation at work, employees need to feel they have a certain degree of autonomy in how they approach a task or project, because this increases their sense of competence and accountability for the outcome. Asking this question could help signal when employees are feeling railroaded — either by an overbearing manager, or the constraints of a project or their role.
- How well would you say your role aligns with your strengths? This question highlights whether employees feel like they’re struggling. Employees that consistently score this question with low marks may be feeling overwhelmed or out of their depth and need extra support — but it also could be a case of role misalignment.
- To what extent would you say that your role meets your expectations? Sometimes the scope of a role changes, or it doesn’t match what an employee thought it would be coming in — which is likely to cause a dip in job satisfaction, employee engagement, and performance. Identifying which individuals aren’t getting satisfaction from their roles and why helps you be proactive about retaining them.
- Do you understand how your work contributes to company goals? Setting individual goals is important for performance — but being able to understand how these contribute to the bigger picture is critical for long-term engagement. When employees don’t understand how their work ties into strategic objectives, it’s hard to know what they’re working towards.
Employee Wellbeing Survey Questions
In the remote work era, employee wellbeing can be much harder to spot. Issues like burnout, exhaustion, and poor mental health can fly under the radar for much longer — and by the time they’re spotted, they can result in severe consequences, like team dysfunction and long-term leaves of absence. Keeping an eye on employee wellbeing means you’re being proactive in trying to spot employees’ initial distress calls.
- Do you have time and energy for your life outside of work? Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is critical for every member of your company to perform at their best. Disconnecting from life commitments can be a sign of burnout — so this question represents an early indicator that individuals are struggling.
- To what extent do you feel you have a manageable workload? This is a great way to identify any individuals who are feeling overburdened or overwhelmed at work — especially if they’re struggling to communicate this with their managers.
- To what extent are you able to work in a way that works for you (for example: hybrid, flexing, hours, caregiving, etc)? Whether your employees have caregiving responsibilities, disabilities, or other needs for accommodation, flexibility and autonomy are strong indicators of wellbeing. This question can help diagnose early signs that employees feel overburdened or constrained by work, as well as identify larger systemic issues with individual autonomy.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) Survey Questions
To drive engagement, performance, and retention long-term, employees need to know they belong. Measuring employees’ perceptions about DEIB won’t just help you identify the experiences of underrepresented members of your team — it will also help highlight where your processes are falling short, and where people don’t feel included.
- To what extent do you agree that this company is demographically diverse? When your organization is diverse, it’s something that employees can see and feel every day. Understanding how employees feel about your organization’s current level of diversity may help you set more effective goals around DEIB — particularly with regard to recruitment, performance management, and career progression.
- Do you agree that people from all demographic backgrounds have equal opportunities to provide opinions and input at this company? Understanding psychological safety is critical — but understanding how people feel about it from a DEIB perspective speaks volumes about your underrepresented employees’ confidence in participating at work.
- Do you agree that people from all demographic backgrounds have an equal opportunity to succeed at this company? Research consistently shows employees from marginalized groups are often disproportionately passed over for promotion. For example, the 2022 Women in the Workplace Report found that Latina and Black women are less likely to receive support for career development. A 2021 study found that employees with physical disabilities are also more likely to find their path to progression blocked. Understanding how employees feel about progression means you can identify and remove the barriers blocking it.
- Do you feel like you belong in this company? This is a powerful indicator of whether or not employees feel included and welcome to show up exactly as they are. Analyzing your results from this question can help you identify differences in experience within your employee populations.
How to Create An Effective Engagement Survey
Selecting the right questions for your engagement survey is essential to harnessing your organization’s insights in a way that’s actionable, drives high performance, and positively impacts your organization’s culture.
Below are a few best practices to keep in mind when designing surveys:
- Cover a range of topics about your employee experience: An engagement survey isn’t just about measuring motivation — it includes everything that relates to your employee experience, including company commitment, psychological safety, diversity climate, work relationships, management, and team culture.
- Keep it simple and short: Increase survey participation by making the survey easy to complete and being selective about questions. If your survey is too short, it won’t deliver insights — but if it’s 50 questions long, you might risk people not completing it at all.
- Use a consistent rating scale: Measuring most of your questions with the same scale will give you far more accurate data on your employee experience. A five-point Likert scale, which ranges from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’ will ensure consistency while providing more accurate responses than yes/no questions.
Measure, Analyze, and Boost Engagement with Lattice
Creating an effective employee engagement survey depends on a range of factors, including your organization’s goals, size, and what you want to measure. Asking the right questions for your organization and workforce will help you identify how employees feel about their experience of your company, and help you diagnose and solve any root causes that are contributing to a decline in performance and engagement.
Lattice’s employee engagement surveys include expert-driven questions developed from the academic foundations of psychological and management research, validated by external experts, trusted thought partners in our Resources for Humans community, and a selection of customers.
If you’re ready to join companies including Monzo, Gusto, and Tide in creating a highly-engaged, high-performing culture, then get in touch with our team to schedule a demo.