Writing Better Employee Engagement Surveys: 7 Steps

Finding the right ways to engage employees in objective feedback on your company culture.
Writing Better Employee Engagement Surveys: 7 Steps
Jessica Fender

Feeling appreciated for what you do at a company is always welcome. However, many companies struggle with finding the right ways to engage their employees in objective feedback. According to statistics, 37% of employees consider recognition important, with the top 20% engaged teams experiencing 59% less turnover as a result of feeling appreciated.

66% of all employees feel unmotivated to contribute to the company, with 1 out of 5 employees feeling that their managers aren’t interested in their feedback.

Employee engagement surveys can help facilitate your employees’ professional development, identify leadership potential and detect detractors before it’s too late to retain them. Let’s take a look at how you can write better employee engagement surveys in 2021 to re-engage your employees, whether in-office or remotely.

1) Avoid “Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen” — Establish a Survey Team

The best way to start working on your new employee engagement survey is to establish who exactly will be in charge of the project. You can look for volunteers or assemble a small task force of department managers or HR specialists in your company.

Whichever approach you take, it’s important to settle on who will be in charge of the survey before any actual work is done. This will ensure that the project goes smoothly and that there is a clear hierarchy of who is in charge of implementing the employee survey.

2) Outline the Objectives of your Employee Engagement Survey

What do you hope to accomplish with your new engagement surveys? Do you want to find out how satisfied your remote employees are with the management, or do you want to know more about everyone’s career plans? Each survey you create should have objective goals set ahead of its implementation.

You can use mind mapping and SMART goal-setting to create several objective trackable goals for your survey. This will steer the direction of your questions and help you write much more meaningful and understandable queries for your employees.

3) Ask Relevant Questions without Yes/No Answers

In terms of collecting in-depth data from your remote employees, Yes/No questions will often lead nowhere. It’s best to rely on explanatory, essay-like questions, which will require employees to write full sentences as their answers.

This will give your HR much more data to work with and ensure that the survey was meaningful and not simply a participation exercise. You can order research summary writing based on collected data afterward if the process of writing and formatting survey results proves too complex.

Yes/No questions should only be used if you intend to ask for mandatory elaboration for each question. However, this may prove time-consuming for remote employees.

4) Don’t Shy Away from Difficult Questions

The purpose of an employee engagement survey is to find out what your employees think about the company they work for. As such, sticking to “neutral” questions while dodging important topics will result in mild answers. Try asking the following questions to gather relevant feedback from your employees:

  • What would you change about our company if given the opportunity?
  • How satisfied are you with your current position, and how would you improve it?
  • What are your thoughts on managers and decision-makers within our company?
  • What do you like and dislike about our company culture?

You should highlight that all answers will only serve to improve the company going forward. Employees often shy away from these topics out of fear of retaliation by managers.

Keep things professional, and your employees will respond to your question in kind for the sake of mutual benefit.

5) Balance Mandatory and Optional Questions

Even though you are putting effort into writing a new employee engagement survey, not all of your questions should be mandatory. Giving your remote employees the choice of whether to answer certain questions will often lead them to do so anyway.

Survey fatigue is a real issue, and you don’t want your employees to give up on filling your survey halfway through. Make important questions regarding teamwork, management, and business culture mandatory and those related to each optional.

Give your remote employees the choice of whether to answer certain questions.

6) Gauge your Promoters/Detractors with Rating Scales

While Net Promoter Score (NPS) started as a means for companies to gauge customer engagement, it has slowly found its way into employee engagement. You can use NPS to quickly gauge your employees’ engagement and then follow up the 1–10 scale with several questions. Another effective option is to use Likert scales (a rating of 1–5 or 1–7), which gives survey participants the option to choose between two extremes, or a more neutral middle.

The combination of both rating scales and written answers will help you determine which employees are happy with their status quo and which ones need more attention to become motivated.

To get the most honest responses to this and other questions, make sure to annunciate the fact that employee engagement surveys are private. Employees shouldn’t be able to see each other’s results for the sake of confidentiality, and each response you get should be more honest.

7) Consider Localizing Surveys for International Employees

When it comes to working with remote teams and company branches abroad, the language barrier can become an issue. Regardless of whether your headquarters are in the US, Germany, or Russia, there will always be remote employees who are not native speakers.

This can make employee engagement surveys difficult to fill out with meaningful data. You can mitigate the problem by localizing your surveys into multiple languages and allowing remote workers to choose their preferred language. It will not only make the survey easier to fill out, but your employees will also appreciate the effort you put into translating for them.

Gathering Meaningful Engagement Data (Conclusion)

Once you’ve written a set of solid questions for your employee engagement survey, you should also use an equally solid delivery system for the survey. Check out a professional employee engagement platform that you can use not only for surveys but also for day-to-day collaboration with your remote employees.

Standardizing an employee feedback tool within your company will ensure that your employees are more engaged, productive, and encouraged to collaborate. Most importantly, find ways to implement the feedback you collect from employee surveys, and your business will effectively transform as a result.

Author Bio

Jessica Fender is a professional writer and educational blogger at GetGoodGrade, an aggregator for useful college resources and websites. Jessica enjoys sharing her ideas to make writing and learning fun.

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