What are the best employee experience survey questions to use?

How you design your employee experience survey will have a major impact on the quality of information you can get out of the process. This post provides some essential advice on the best employee experience survey questions to use.

The types of questions you use in your employee surveys will have a major impact on the length of the survey, but more crucially, the kind of survey analysis you will be able to do on your data.

In our experience there are three main types of questions that will help you most efficiently make sense of your employee experience survey data.

Demographic questions will help you slice and dice your data

Demographic questions enable you to collecting information about things such as age, gender, job role, which part of the business people work in etc.

Demographic questions can be vital in being able to identify if there are any specific issues that are causing dissatisfaction in specific groups of employees.

For example, you might find that more people they have experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from one part of the business than others.

Example demographic questions

  • Which part of the business did you work in?
  • What age range do you belong to?
  • How would you describe your gender?

The best way to capture demographic data is to use a checkbox approach. In other words, define your list of responses beforehand so that every employee can be categorised. This makes slicing and dicing the data much easier than where the responses are not organised.

Quantitative questions will help you evaluate your data

Quantitative questions ask people to rate how they feel about their experience using a rating scale. There are different types of rating scale, but the most common one is the Likert rating scale.

In essence people are asked how much they would tend to agree or disagree with each survey question.

employee experience survey questions

Example quantitative questions

  • I can speak with my manager when I need to
  • I am dealt with equally and fairly by my manager
  • I have opportunities for personal development and growth
  • I feel that my work makes a difference
  • I feel responsible and accountable for my work
  • I understand how my work helps the company’s customers
  • On the whole, my workload is manageable
  • I feel recognised for my contribution
  • I have a good relationship with my colleagues
  • I would recommend the company as a good place to work

The main benefit of quantitative questions is that they are measurable so you can easily measure the strength of feeling employees have about different issues. As your quantitative questions will all use the same rating scale you will be able to calculate average scores for each question.

You will then be able to filter your data using your demographic questions to explore whether or not there are any variations in how different groups feel about each quantitive question.

At this point it is worth thinking about the difference between what we call ‘organisation behaviour’ questions and ‘engagement outcome’ questions.

Organisation behaviour questions

These are questions that examine how employees feel about that way the company tends to operate.

The purpose of them is to identify what the company can do differently in specific terms to improve the overall employee experience.

A good example would be ‘My manager gives me regular feedback on my performance’.

Our employee survey data shows that this question has a big impact on overall engagement levels.

If it is rated low by employees, the solution is straightforward to define and quite simple (in theory) to implement.

Engagement outcome questions

These are questions designed to measure the overall level of employee engagement across the business.

They are good for defining a Net Engagement Score (or eNPS).

The best example of this type of question is ‘I would recommend the organisation as a great place to work’.

If the score on this question is low, it is difficult to know what to do in specific terms to improve it, but it does provide an overall measure of the employee experience.

Qualitative questions will help you capture additional feedback

Qualitative questions are open-ended questions where people are asked to provide their opinions in their own words.

They are usually in the form of a free-text question and are useful for allowing people to provide feedback on anything they want.

However, they make analysing the data more difficult.

Where you have information from lots of employees it can take a huge amount of time to read, digest, organise and analyse open comments.

We also to find that people will tend to repeat their key points to you so you will obtain everything they want to say in two or three questions.

As such, we recommend limiting the number of qualitative questions you use to three.

Example qualitative questions

  • What is the best thing about working here?
  • What should we change to improve the experience of our employees?

So, what are the best employee experience survey questions to use?

The questions you include in your survey will have a major impact on how people feel answering the survey and the data you will gather. Most surveys will utilise a blend of the types of questions we have outlined, but the specific wording and the amount of the different types of questions needs some careful thought.