How to create an employee engagement survey

Written by: Officevibe
Published on: October 27, 2022 |  Reading time: 10m

When it comes to employee engagement, it’s safe to say that the most engaged employees are the happiest, most productive employees. That’s why it’s so important for managers and senior leaders to check in often and be aware of how their teams are doing to ensure a positive employee experience.

While we encourage other methods and tools equally, employee engagement surveys play a key role in staying on top of employee satisfaction, commitment, motivation, a sense of purpose, and passion for their work. You’ll hear us say this often: employees feel valued when they can communicate openly and feel heard. That’s where an employee survey comes in clutch.

Whether you’re just getting acquainted with building a solid employee engagement strategy or are looking to refresh your approach, we’re here to help guide you through how to create your own employee engagement survey and how to measure employee engagement. Not sure where to start? We’ve got you.

What is an employee engagement survey?

To kick things off, let’s start with the basics. An employee engagement survey is a set of strategic questions used to measure the connection an employee feels towards their work, team, and organization.

These employee surveys give employees a voice within their organization and are a great way to get a high-level view of employees’ engagement levels over time. Surveys provide honest feedback directly to their manager, who then has plenty of actionable insights to work with.

When it comes to creating the right employee engagement survey questions, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. The employee survey questions should be carefully crafted to be aligned with your organization and its objectives. Staying aligned is essential for sustaining performance over time. Alignment and employee engagement go hand-in-hand when it comes to creating a happy and productive work environment.

The frequency of employee surveys also varies. From annual to quarterly, to bi-weekly, and even weekly – they all have their own purpose and value. The annual and quarterly kinds are usually conducted by the organization to give leadership teams high-level information on things like employee experience and company culture to help guide business strategy and HR initiatives.

The more frequent kind, like pulse surveys, provide a more accurate and timely way to get employee feedback that is current and relevant to measure employee engagement levels and job satisfaction in real-time.

Dive deeper into survey types and frequency in our guide on employee engagement surveys.

Why should you have employee engagement surveys

There are so many benefits to conducting employee engagement surveys. First and foremost, employees feel heard. Give them the opportunity to have a voice because, once again, when they feel as though their opinions matter, they feel more valued.

Receiving honest employee feedback also allows the organization to identify issues and opportunities. Are there problems within the team that managers might not be aware of? What can they do to improve a situation? How can they increase employee satisfaction? Figuring these things out allows managers, human resources professionals, and organizational leaders to make meaningful and effective changes.

Responding to employee feedback with actions is a great way to build trust, which in turn helps improve employee engagement. When employees know that their suggestions are taken into account and being acted upon, it opens the door to even more honesty in future surveys.

Having this level of trust also helps foster a healthy company culture. Employees feel more comfortable speaking up, the organization is more accountable for taking action, and everyone feels more in sync. Essentially, an employee engagement survey is a great tool for everyone.

Frequency is key. That’s why having a continuous feedback loop strategy is a great way to gather feedback, opinions, suggestions, and comments from employees regularly.

How to create an effective employee engagement survey

Now that you’re familiar with employee engagement surveys and why they are such an important tool, it’s time to learn how to create one.

We’ll walk you through the survey process with the three key steps you need to take – from establishing your metrics to crafting the employee survey questions to clicking send when you’re ready. Once you’re acquainted with these steps, you’ll feel more confident in your approach.

Step 1: Establish which engagement metrics you want to measure

It’s one thing to ask questions and gather information, and it’s another to measure it. Before getting started on creating your employee engagement survey, you’ll need to establish the employee engagement metrics you want to measure. What does this mean? Quite simply, there are several metrics you can measure to assess your employee engagement levels. You’ll measure these consistently over time to get a clear picture of what’s going on with your employees and teams.

At Officevibe, our pulse survey tool uses 10 metrics to gauge how people feel. These are relationship with manager, feedback, personal growth, relationship with peers, wellness, recognition, company alignment, happiness, satisfaction, and ambassadorship.

This comprehensive list is a great launchpad from which to categorize your employee engagement survey questions, which we’ll get into in the next step.

Having a consistent view of these metrics gives managers the ability to see what’s going well and what issues need tending to. The results of these metrics will help give you the ability to tackle and resolve issues that you may not have been otherwise privy to. Once you have this established, it’s time to create the employee engagement survey itself.

Step 2: Build the employee survey

Now that you’ve established the metrics you want to measure, it’s time to start choosing the specific employee engagement survey questions that are relevant to your team and tailored to your organization. A great way to start your engagement survey design is to map out the questions per metric category.

Here are some solid examples of questions based on the 10 metrics we covered in the last step. You can use them as-is or leverage them for inspiration when creating your employee surveys:

Relationship with manager
Do you feel that you can trust your direct manager?
Does your manager take the time to support you when you ask for help?
Do you think your direct manager cares about your well-being?

Feedback questions
Are you satisfied with how often you receive feedback from your direct manager?
Is the feedback you receive specific?
Does the kind of feedback you receive help you with professional growth?

Personal growth questions
Do you feel you have enough freedom to decide how you do your work?
Is there someone at work who helps you with professional development and achieving career goals?
Do you have the opportunity to grow within your organization?

Relationship with peers
Can you depend on your peers when you need help?
Do you and your team members collaborate well together?
Is your communication with your peers honest and transparent?

Wellness questions
Overall, how do you feel about your level of work-related stress?
On a scale of 0-10, how would you rate your organization’s efforts to promote employee wellness?
Do you think someone would say or do something if you felt distressed at work?

Recognition questions
How would you rate the frequency at which you receive recognition?
Does recognition feel genuine and meaningful when you receive it?
Does your organization encourage employees to recognize each other?

Company alignment questions
Do your organization’s leaders acknowledge that employees are essential to its success?
Do you believe that your organization can reach its objectives?
Do you feel aligned with the company’s values and goals?

Happiness questions
Do you enjoy the work that you do?
Do you feel that you have a healthy work-life balance?
Have you noticed your work taking a toll on your personal life?

Job satisfaction questions
Do you know what you need to do to achieve your goals and objectives?
On a scale of 0-10, how reasonable is your workload?
Are you comfortable in your physical work environment?

Ambassadorship questions
On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend your organization as a good place to work?
On a scale of 0-10, how likely are you to recommend your organization’s products or services?
Do you feel proud to be a part of your organization?

Prefer not to start from scratch? Choose the survey that’s right for your team from one of our 5 free employee engagement survey templates.

Step 3: Send it out

After putting together your employee engagement survey questions, it’s time to send them out to your team members. Before jumping right into it, it’s important to have a strategy in place. There are several key factors that come into play when ensuring the proper use and success of your employee engagement survey. Here are our top quick tips:

  1. Let’s start with creating employee surveys of an appropriate length. While you may have many questions you want to ask, you shouldn’t ask them all at once. Employees’ time plays a factor, and you don’t want them to feel overwhelmed. The amount of time an employee spends on an engagement survey will affect your response rate. In essence, shorter, more frequent pulse surveys result in higher participation rates and tend to have higher-quality survey data. Fewer questions tend to mean more time spent on each answer.
  2. Consider survey format. For example, some more in-depth employee engagement surveys can be around 30 questions long, while shorter pulse surveys can be around 10 questions. Sometimes, you can even keep them to just a few questions. Remember tip #1, survey length can factor in on the quality of survey results.
  3. Regarding frequency, weekly or bi-weekly pulse surveys are a great way to stay in tune with employees and understand the highs and lows they’re experiencing in real time. Frequent employee engagement surveys make it easier to spot and address issues before they turn into bigger problems. Annual surveys serve their own purpose, as do these more frequent ones.
  4. When sending out the employee engagement survey, be sure to explain to your employees why you’re sending it. Be honest, transparent, and approachable. And most importantly, if this is an anonymous survey, be sure to clarify that. Allowing for anonymity can open the forum for employees to give more candid feedback and provide you with richer results.

You’ve sent your employee engagement survey. What’s next?

Once the employee engagement survey has gone out and employees have taken the time to respond, it’s up to managers, senior leadership, and human resources to review, reflect upon, and analyze the survey results. This allows them to measure employee engagement, identify issues, and close in on where there’s room for improvement.

This data is so valuable. Measuring employee engagement survey results, analyzing them, and building an action plan can create tremendous changes within the organization and its culture. Taking the time to measure employee engagement, respond to feedback, and take action shows that management is listening and that they care. In turn, as we’ve learned, this results in greater employee engagement and employee satisfaction.

And it doesn’t stop there. Repeat surveys enable you to gauge how well the action plan has been working and to spot changes in employee engagement and sentiments so you can continue striving for increased employee performance, happiness, satisfaction, and productivity.

While you want to analyze changes, be sure to vary the questions in your follow-up surveys and avoid asking the same questions. Survey fatigue is real. For greater employee engagement and more genuine responses, switch them up and keep them fresh!

Employee engagement is an ever-evolving thing that requires constant attention and acknowledgment. Officevibe Pulse Surveys make creating and analyzing the survey results simple. Easy-to-understand key findings and reports tap into top insights that can help guide you as you build your action plan with data-driven decisions.

Greater employee engagement makes for greater employee empowerment. In fact, did you know that 83% of employees who use Officevibe feel like their manager cares about their opinion? These kinds of numbers really help with employee retention, positive employee experience, great company culture, and even business success.

Let’s effectively survey employees and make sure all employees feel heard. Our employee engagement solution can help you do just that.