Employee Engagement Surveys: 6 Tips for Writing the Best Questions

To find out if your company is in good health in terms of employee engagement, employee engagement surveys are the best tool. 

Employee engagement is one of those dimensions that make a difference in a business. Really committed teams have higher levels of employee satisfaction and motivation, which helps the company to achieve more benefits in terms of profitability. 

The people committed to the organization are clear about their role within the company and are aware that their functions are key to achieving the objectives proposed by management. This, in operational terms, translates into greater efficiency and productivity of the workforce. 

In addition, this factor is essential to retain talent and ensure that the best professionals stay by your side, and not in the competition. 

With employee engagement surveys, you can gather a large amount of data in a short time and clarify what your strengths are – what makes your employees fall in love and makes them not want to go elsewhere-; and what parts of people management you need to improve to create the best place to work and earn the commitment of even the most demanding professionals. 

Employee Engagement Surveys: An essential tool in any HR department 

Employee engagement questionnaires are an essential resource in any company that wants to retain talent, as well as improve the motivation, satisfaction, and well-being of the people who are part of the workforce. 

Through the participation of team members, managers can find out what exactly the people they work with value the most, and what demotivates them and takes away their interest in achieving goals. 

The great advantage of knowing this type of information is that you can create action plans adapted to the reality of your organization, adopting measures that have a real impact on the behavior of employees. 

Of course, not all surveys work equally well. For greater intensity in the results, these engagement surveys have to be frequent. In this way, you can monitor the status of the employee commitment in real-time and make small adjustments to your strategy whenever necessary. 

In addition, you also have to pay attention to the questions you ask. If you want to obtain valid and reliable data, you must ensure that the questions are meaningful, easy to understand, do not give rise to double interpretations, and are balanced in order to have both qualitative and quantitative data. 

How to ask the right questions in an employee engagement survey? 

Knowing how to ask the right questions is critical when designing an employee survey. The proper functioning of the tool will depend on this, which will help you make the best decisions in terms of the commitment and satisfaction of the employees. 

Here are 6 tips for writing the best questions: 

1. Don’t use too much open questions 

Open questions are very useful for gathering qualitative data about feelings and emotions, as well as an opportunity to let employees convey their own impressions. 

But, these types of questions require a stronger thinking process than with closed questions, so we run the risk of reducing the participation rate, making the data we obtain insignificant. 

Also, open questions are complex to quantify and evaluate, which makes it difficult to analyze the dimension that we want to measure. 

Ideally, you should leave only one open question at the end of the survey that employees can fill in with relevant aspects that the closed questions have not covered. 

2. Use clear and direct language 

When asking questions, these should be short and to the point. Otherwise, we may create ambiguous and biased questions that would negatively affect the survey result. 

Avoid double negatives, don’t ask two things at the same time, and use familiar and close language that employees understand and use regularly. 

What you must not do: 

  • Are you not dissatisfied with your work? 
  • How do you rate the leadership and climate of the company? 
  • On a Likert scale, rate your degree of agreement with the following statement. 

What you should do: 

  • Are you satisfied with your work? 
  • How do you value your team leader? 
  • From 1 to 10, how would you rate the following statements, where 1 strongly disagree and 10 strongly agree? 

3. Keep in mind the values of your company 

When you go to design the questions for your employee engagement survey, make sure that what you ask is in line with what is lived day by day in the organization. 

Using the right context helps to position employees and makes it easier for the answers to be real and useful for your objective. 

For example, if your company supports sustainable development, ask specific questions about that value. If you want to know what your employees’ perception of equality is, ask specific questions on that topic. 

4. Ask relevant questions for employees 

When we talk about relevant questions, we mean issues that directly affect employees. 

If you poll team members about aspects of the organization that they have no control over, not only are you wasting your time (and theirs), but this practice can help fuel mistrust among employees, who will wonder what they are being asked for if their contribution will not change anything. 

Instead, make their opinion count by creating custom surveys for the workforce. To do this, you can create different models for each department or area. 

5. Use objective formulas 

Many times, we make the mistake of including our opinion in the questions. Questions like “How good do you think your salary is?” invite people to answer in a biased way, because there is implied that their salary is “good”. 

When we write the questions, we must avoid using phrases with adjectives such as “good” or “bad”, and use other formulas such as “To what extent is your salary in line with your expectations?” 

The question is the same, but the second one is more objective. 

6. Be careful with the answer options 

Just as questions are important to data quality, so are answer options. 

You must ensure that employees have a range of options wide enough to see all their opinions and thoughts reflected. 

In this sense, it is best to use closed questions with answers scored from 1 to 10. 

In the case that you prefer to use another type of response, these must also meet the broad-scale criteria. 

Avoid this type of answer options: 

  • In agreement. 
  • In disagreement. 

Instead, use this type: 

  • Strongly agree. 
  • Agree. 
  • Indifferent. 
  • In disagree. 
  • Strongly disagree. 


We hope this guide helps you create useful and effective employee engagement surveys. And if you’re still having trouble, remember that at Team Insights we have a library of questions that you can modify to suit your needs. 

Do you want to know the degree of commitment of your employees? Well, stop wondering and find out. It’s free!

Table of Contents

Make decisions with
information, not intuition

Ensure you drive your decisions to the right direction. Align your budget and actions to the real needs of your team. Talk to people with true and honest feedback in your hands.