The Best Questions to Ask in Your Employee Engagement Survey
- Do employees understand the company’s mission?
- Is there a problem on the team that management doesn’t see?
- Do you feel challenged, comfortable, bored, or stressed out with the type of projects you’ve been handling lately?
- Is there anything we can do to help with work/life balance?
- Have you been getting the support you need from the team?
- Do you have any shout-outs you’d like me to deliver?
- What are some things I do well?
This question is a chance for self-reflection and for employees to emphasize what they view as their strengths. It’s also a solid question for manager and peer reviews. Providing employees with their manager’s perspective helps employees and managers align expectations for giving and receiving recognition.
- What is one thing I would like to focus on in the next six months to help me grow and develop?
This question helps employees set a personal performance goal to track while giving managers a framework to support that goal with informal and formal feedback.
Be open to questions—giving feedback is hard! These questions are crafted in a way that’s empathetic to the answerer, but your employee may need some additional guidance in how to communicate feedback in a way that’s useful, constructive, and empathetic to the receiver, as well.
Company-level feedback strategy: eNPS®
Employee feedback is essential in the planning process. But as your company grows and employees stop literally rubbing elbows with founders and executives in a tiny office suite (or a single Zoom meeting), it takes more to gather this feedback and spot the high-level trends.
Many companies use the Net Promoter System® (or NPS) as a feedback mechanism for customer satisfaction. The system can also be adapted for employee feedback and released as an eNPS® survey.
The little e stands for employee. 😉
eNPS surveys ask employees two simple questions with the assurance that their responses will remain anonymous:
- How much would you recommend working here? (Scale of 1-10)
- Tell us why you feel this way. (Open response question)
Responses are then compiled into three groups:
- Promoters (9-10): These employees love their jobs and your company, and they’re not afraid to let other people know that they’ve given you an A grade.
- Neutrals (7-8): These employees aren’t enthusiastic, but they don’t have any complaints strong enough to make them take action. They give your organization an average C grade.
- Detractors (6 and lower): With the natural tendency to inflate ratings in online surveys taken into account, these employees give your organization a failing grade. These are the employees who are likely to damage your organization through negligence (or actively sabotage their hated workplace).
After results are in, the Net Promoter System takes the percentage of each group compared to the total employee count, then subtracts the detractor percentage from the promoter percentage to give you a Net Promoter Score®. This score ranges from -100 (every response wouldn’t recommend you) to 100 (every response loves you).
As an example: if your company had 30% of responding employees as promoters, 50 percent neutral, and 20 percent as detractors, then your eNPS would be 10. This score would indicate that you have decent support, but room to improve engagement among neutrals (possibly by addressing issues caused or brought up by detractors.)
Using eNPS comments as a bird’s eye view
With results at such a large scale, eNPS isn’t designed to take the place of your managerial-level survey questions. But it can highlight feedback trends that might not make it up the chain of command to the people at the top, helping inform long-term decisions. The recommendation is to administer eNPS surveys every six months and track changes in score in response to your company’s previous decisions.
It’s also recommended to go through every employee’s response and categorize them—there are a lot of tools that can help with this. While your company can’t approve every request outright (there can be no end to the Office Thermostat War), it can spot major trends and address them in the company at large—whether or not there’s a change in policy.
I experienced this at BambooHR during two separate meetings highlighting major eNPS results. Both times, employees had requested more paid time off. In the first meeting, our director of HR explained the thought that went into crafting the leave plan and the challenges involved in making changes.
Here’s what most of us didn’t know: increasing the amount of unused PTO would lead to larger payouts when employees left for a new job. Based on usage and other factors, increased PTO wasn’t the right decision at that time. But as things changed in the next few months, and (after a generally-unknown amount of behind-the-scenes work) soon BambooHR was able to offer a more generous leave policy.
There is no perfect template of employee engagement survey questions that can convince every employee at every company that their leaders are listening to employees. As with all other communication, effective listening means taking steps to continue the conversation after it starts.
But starting with questions that demonstrate your company’s interest in that conversation and following up with appropriate transparency and real changes can show your employees the true impact of their feedback.
As you take change slowly—one step at a time, overcoming issues and helping employees grow—your company will earn their gratitude and engagement in return.
For a deeper dive into increasing employee engagement at your organization, check out our guide:
Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.