How to Conduct an Employee Engagement Survey

By Sherri Bennett, SPHR & SHRM-CP on Aug 12, 2021
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Employee engagement surveyscan uncover a wealth of information that allows small businessesto operate more efficiently. Once organizational leadership has decided to launch an employee survey, they need to decide whether to make it qualitative or quantitative. The method chosen matters because it directs small businesses on how to obtain deep insights and set actionable goals based on survey responses.

What is the Qualitative Employee Survey Method?

Best described as an exploratory research technique, the qualitative method includes focus groups, observation of natural conversations, and open-ended interviews. The primary goals of using the qualitative survey method are to identify the following:

  • Beliefs
  • Decision-making processes
  • Norms
  • Patterns
  • Systems
  • Themes

What is the Quantitative Employee Survey Method?

This research method relies on structured data collection methods with the most common one being closed-ended survey questions. The underlying purpose of the quantitative method is to determine where behaviors, beliefs, and opinions fall according to employee demographics.

how to choose meaningful employee engagement survey objectives

What Types of Questions Should Employers Ask on Employee Surveys?

The specific questions a small business includes in an employee survey depend on the survey method used and what the company hopes to learn from it. Below are several questions that could be appropriate with open-ended surveys that give employees enough time and space to record their answers.

  • Do you expect to still work here in 12 months?

    When given the chance to answer anonymously, this question provides a key indicator of whether employees find the small business a rewarding place to work. Those that deal with significant challenges will likely indicate they will look outside the company for their next opportunity.

  • What do you like and dislike about your position?

    The answers to this question should reveal how aligned each employee is with the culture, vision, and mission of the employer. Listing more negatives than positives about a position is a sure sign that an employee feels disengaged.

  • Do you feel free to express yourself and that leadership acknowledges what you say?

    Employees must feel like they have a say in their job responsibilities and working conditions. Unfortunately, not all managers provide that opportunity. An effective way to gauge this concern is by asking employees if and how often their manager solicits their input. The question should also give them a chance to reflect on whether they feel their superiors take their suggestions seriously.

  • Do you feel like you have the tools you need to do your job well?

    Employees who respond no to this question will become frustrated and disengaged if they are not there already. Asking employees what they need shows respect and concern, something they are sure to reward with good performance.

  • Would you recommend the company as an employer to people you know outside of work?

    This is a simple question, but the answer reveals a lot about where a small business stands as an attractive place to work. When more employees answer no than yes, it is a good indication to take improving the overall culture seriously.

  • Can you think of any specific factors that contribute to you staying with this company?

    Providing this prompt and allowing employees to reflect on it offers excellent insight into the strengths of the leadership teams, company culture, advancement and development opportunities, and perception of the company from the perspective of employees. This question can be especially effective at gauging employee engagement since it requires deep thinking.

  • Would you submit your resignation if you received a good offer from one of our competitors?

    Receiving honest answers to this question tells the employer how deep employees’ loyalties lie and the overall risk of turnover. Employees who answer yes to this question are likely less engaged with the company’s mission and may view their job as a means to an end. Those who answer no indicate a higher level of engagement with the company’s vision and mission.

Employers that prefer more closed-ended questions have a few options for how to instruct employees to respond. For example, the small business can choose to list several statements and have each employee circle whether they feel it is true or false. Another option is to ask employees to use a 1-10 rating scale based on how much they agree with a statement.

Here are some examples of simple true or false questions for employee surveys:

  • I enjoy going to work most of the time
  • I feel like I can reach my full potential here
  • I can see myself working here next year at this time
  • I have no regrets about applying for this job
  • I feel comfortable working with my team members

These questions can work well in a 1-10 scoring format:

  • How happy are you with your manager?
  • How well do you understand your career path and promotion opportunities?
  • How likely are you to stay with the company at least one more year?

Contact Axcet HR Solutions for Additional Help with Employee Surveys

Answering the question of how to conduct an employee engagement survey is multi-faceted. Axcet HR Solutions, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) serving small businesses in the Kansas City metropolitan area, is here to help. We offer a turnkey solution by creating unbiased survey questions, distributing the surveys to clients’ employees via an email link, and analyzing the results. Our human resources team also follows up with recommendations on the best ways small businesses should respond to requests.

We invite representatives of companies with 250 employees or fewer to request a consultation to learn more about the employee survey process. In addition to our turnkey survey solution, we offer a wide range ofother PEO services to relieve small businesses of much of their administrative burden.

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