The 45 Questions Your Employee Engagement Survey Needs

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The 45 Questions Your Employee Engagement Survey Needs

If your organisation is thinking about introducing a regular employee engagement survey, it will already understand the correlation between high engagement and business success. 

But, the way in which your company measures its employee engagement can make all the difference. The quality of your results will depend heavily on the questions you ask, as well as how you ask them. Without a robust methodology, your results risk being unreliable and difficult to translate into meaningful action. 

Below are the 45 core questions used by Peakon to measure employee engagement across hundreds of organisations – from Capgemini to Verizon, followed by an explanation of why we use them.

Staff satisfaction survey Vs employee engagement survey

It’s important not to conflate employee engagement surveys with staff satisfaction surveys. They are two very different things. A staff satisfaction survey only looks at one element of engagement – how satisfied or content your employees are. It does not measure the level of dedication among your workers, or accurately reflect the discretionary effort they are likely to put in. For a full understanding of your organisational climate, carry out an employee engagement survey. As we all know, it’s possible to be satisfied in a job without necessarily feeling particularly engaged. 

Questions for your Employee Engagement Survey

Peakon’s question library includes: 1 main engagement question, 3 engagement outcome questions, 14 driver questions and 27 sub-driver questions. All of these are to be answered with a score from 0-10. If they wish, respondents can use the comment boxes provided to elaborate on the score they have given. 

Our 45 essential questions to measure Employee Engagement are: 

  • How likely is it you would recommend [Company Name] as a place to work?
  • If you were offered the same job at another organisation, how likely is it that you would stay with [Company Name]?
  • Overall, how satisfied are you working for [Company Name]?
  • How likely is it you would recommend [Company Name] products or services to friends and family?
  • Most days I feel a sense of accomplishment from what I do.
  • I have the opportunity to do challenging things at work.
  • I’m given enough freedom to decide how to do my work.
  • I’m satisfied with the amount of flexibility I have in my work schedule.
  • I have the option to work remotely when I’d like to.
  • My physical work environment contributes positively to my ability to do my job.
  • I can easily find space away from my desk for conversations and collaboration with others.
  • When I need a break, my workplace has spaces to chat and relax with others.
  • I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job well.
  • At work, my opinions seem to be valued.
  • My manager cares about my opinions.
  • My co-workers welcome opinions different from their own. 
  • At work, I know what I’m expected to deliver.
  • I understand how my work supports the goals of my team.
  • I feel that I’m growing professionally.
  • I see a path for me to advance my career in our organisation.
  • My job enables me to learn and develop new skills.
  • Either my manager or a mentor encourages and supports my development.
  • My manager provides me with the support I need to complete my work.
  • My manager cares about me as a person.
  • My manager communicates openly and honestly with me.
  • The work I do is meaningful to me.
  • At work, I have the opportunity to use my strengths every day.
  • I see how my work contributes to positive outcomes for our customers.
  • [Company Name]’s values provide a good fit with the things that I consider important in life.
  • [Company Name] really cares about my mental well-being.
  • Working here, I feel that I can live a physically healthy lifestyle.
  • People from all backgrounds are treated fairly at [Company Name].
  • If I experienced serious misconduct at work, I’m confident [Company Name] would take action to rectify the situation.
  • I can count on my co-workers to help out when needed.
  • I see [Company Name] as the kind of place where I could make friends.
  • My coworkers are committed to doing quality work. 
  • If I do great work, I know that it will be recognised.
  • I get enough feedback to understand if I’m doing my job well.
  • I am fairly rewarded (e.g. pay, promotion, training) for my contributions to [Company Name].
  • The processes for determining pay in our organisation seem fair and unbiased.
  • I can have well-informed and constructive conversations with my manager about pay.
  • The overall business goals and strategies set by senior leadership are taking [Company Name] in the right direction.
  • Our organisation does a good job of communicating the goals and strategies set by senior leadership.
  • I’m inspired by the purpose and mission of our organisation.
  • The demands of my workload are manageable.

Peakon’s Employee Engagement Questions explained

Questions to measure Engagement  

Peakon bases its questions on a well-established metric that has been adopted by businesses around the world: The Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). It is an evolution of the Net Promoter Score® (NPS®), which was developed in 2003 to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty. NPS works by asking the consumer a single question on a 0-10 scale: “How likely is it that you would recommend [this product/service] to a friend or colleague?”. 

eNPS, however, shifts the focus to employee engagement. It prompts people to consider the many factors that influence engagement with one simple question: 

How likely is it you would recommend [Company Name] as a place to work?

Additional questions that can be activated to measure the outcomes of engagement are: 

  • ‘Loyalty’ outcome question: If you were offered the same job at another organisation, how likely is it that you would stay with [Company Name]?
  • ‘Satisfaction’ outcome question: Overall, how satisfied are you working for [Company Name]?
  • ‘Belief’ outcome question: How likely is it you would recommend [Company Name] products or services to friends and family?

Peakon’s ‘driver’ questions

The following 41 questions help companies to determine what is influencing their employee engagement. 

These are based on the 14 fundamental psychological factors – like autonomy, reward and growth – that have been proven to affect human motivation in the workplace. The so-called 14 “drivers” of employee engagement were identified over time by behavioural psychologists and management theorists. Once again, all the statements are to be scored from 0-10, with an opportunity to comment. 

1) Questions to measure Accomplishment: These questions measure the degree to which employees feel like they are accomplishing things on a daily basis. Competence is one of three motivational needs, alongside relatedness and autonomy, defined in Ryan and Deci’s Self Determination Theory. 

  • Driver question: Most days I feel a sense of accomplishment from what I do.
  • ‘Challenging’ sub-driver question: I have the opportunity to do challenging things at work.

2) Questions to measure Autonomy: These concern an employee’s ability to get their work done in a way they see fit. Autonomy is core to many theories on motivation and engagement, including Self Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci), and Employee Engagement (Kahn).

  • Driver question: I’m given enough freedom to decide how to do my work.
  • ‘Flexibility’ sub-driver question: I’m satisfied with the amount of flexibility I have in my work schedule.
  • ‘Remote work’ sub-driver question: I have the option to work remotely when I’d like to.

3) Questions to measure Environment: This section concerns whether employees believe their physical environment has a positive effect on their work and how it’s done. A British government study (cabe, 2005) described the profound link between office design and employee performance.

  • Driver question: My physical work environment contributes positively to my ability to do my job.
  • ‘Collaboration’ sub-driver question: I can easily find space away from my desk for conversations and collaboration with others.
  • ‘Informal’ sub-driver question: When I need a break, my workplace has spaces to chat and relax with others.
  • ‘Equipment’ sub-driver question: I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job well.

4) Questions to measure Freedom of Opinions: These driver questions aim to reveal the extent to which employees feel they are able to express their opinions without fear of retribution. Freedom of Opinions stems from the theoretical need for psychological ‘safety’.

  • Driver question: At work, my opinions seem to be valued.
  • ‘Manager’ sub-driver question: My manager cares about my opinions.
  • ‘Team’ sub-driver question: My co-workers welcome opinions different from their own. 

5) Questions to measure Goal Setting: Without a way to understand our own performance, anxiety around how others perceive us erodes our capability for self-expression (Brown & Leigh 1996). These questions aim to establish how employees feel about the work they are given, and what is expected of them.

  • Driver question: At work, I know what I’m expected to deliver.
  • ‘Alignment’ sub-driver question: I understand how my work supports the goals of my team.

6) Questions to measure Growth: These questions relate to employees’ perceived opportunity, in terms of personal and career development. Growth features in almost every theory on motivation and engagement, including Two Factor Theory (Herzberg), ERG Theory (Alderfer), and Employee Engagement (Kahn).

  • Driver question: I feel that I’m growing professionally.
  • ‘Career Path’ sub-driver question: I see a path for me to advance my career in our organisation.
  • ‘Learning’ sub-driver question: My job enables me to learn and develop new skills.
  • ‘Mentoring’ sub-driver question: Either my manager or a mentor encourages and supports my development.
How TotallyMoney uses Peakon to listen to its people

7) Questions to measure Management Support: While all of Peakon’s drivers can be heavily influenced by managers, management support focuses specifically on the quality of the relationship between individuals and their direct managers. 

  • Driver question: My manager provides me with the support I need to complete my work.
  • ‘Caring’ sub-driver question: My manager cares about me as a person.
  • ‘Openness’ sub-driver question: My manager communicates openly and honestly with me.

8) Questions to measure Meaningful Work: These questions concern whether employees consider their work to be valuable – to themselves, the company, and potentially society at large. Meaningfulness was formally conceptualised in Kahn’s Employee Engagement Theory as the feeling that one’s work was worthwhile, useful, and valuable.

  • Driver question: The work I do is meaningful to me.
  • ‘Fit’ sub-driver question: At work, I have the opportunity to use my strengths every day.
  • ‘Significance’ sub-driver question: I see how my work contributes to positive outcomes for our customers.

9) Questions to measure Organisational Fit: Organisational Fit first came to prominence in the 1980s as part of Person Environment Fit Theory (French, Caplan, & Harrison). These questions measure the extent to which employees believe the culture and values of the organisation match their own.

  • Driver question: [Company Name]’s values provide a good fit with the things that I consider important in life.
  • ‘Support’ sub-driver question: [Company Name] really cares about my mental well-being.
  • ‘Health’ sub-driver question: Working here, I feel that I can live a physically healthy lifestyle.
  • ‘Equality’ sub-driver question: People from all backgrounds are treated fairly at [Company Name].
  • ‘Response’ sub-driver question: If I experienced serious misconduct at work, I’m confident [Company Name] would take action to rectify the situation.

10) Questions to measure Peer Relationships: These questions establish the tenth driver of engagement: The health of employees’ relationships with others in the organisation. 

  • Driver question: I can count on my co-workers to help out when needed.
  • ‘Friends’ sub-driver question: I see [Company Name] as the kind of place where I could make friends.
  • ‘Quality’ sub-driver question: My coworkers are committed to doing quality work. 

11) Questions to measure Recognition: This segment reveals how strongly employees think their work is valued by the organisation. Recognition is a strong component of both Self Determination Theory (Ryan & Deci), and the Job Characteristics Model (Hackman & Oldham). 

  • Driver question: If I do great work, I know that it will be recognised.
  • ‘Performance’ sub-driver question: I get enough feedback to understand if I’m doing my job well.

12) Questions to measure Reward: These questions reveal how satisfied employees are with their total compensation. Equity theory states that employees are motivated when their inputs are matched by outcomes (pay, bonuses, benefits, recognition).

  • Driver question: I am fairly rewarded (e.g. pay, promotion, training) for my contributions to [Company Name].
  • ‘Process’ sub-driver question: The processes for determining pay in our organisation seem fair and unbiased.
  • ‘Discussion’ sub-driver question: I can have well-informed and constructive conversations with my manager about pay.

13) Questions to measure Strategy: The penultimate driver of engagement is the degree to which employees understand and agree with an organisation’s overall strategy. 

  • Driver question: The overall business goals and strategies set by senior leadership are taking [Company Name] in the right direction.
  • ‘Communication’ sub-driver question: Our organisation does a good job of communicating the goals and strategies set by senior leadership.
  • ‘Mission’ sub-driver question: I’m inspired by the purpose and mission of our organisation.

14) Questions to measure Workload: This final question examines whether employees feel the amount of work they’re responsible for is reasonable. Psychologists Leiter, Schaufeli, and Maslach (2001) cite engagement as the positive antithesis of burnout.

  • Driver question: The demands of my workload are manageable.

Custom and open-ended questions

Peakon’s Organisational Development team used a robust, scientific framework to create its core questionnaire. Using it prevents individual bias from influencing an organisation’s choice of questions. What’s more, by asking the same questions as hundreds of other organisations, companies are able to accurately benchmark their results against their peers. 

But, sometimes businesses need to adopt a more targeted or bespoke approach. So, Peakon has formulated a series of open-ended questions that organisation can send to select employees, such as those in the crucial onboarding process. For example:

  • As someone who has recently joined, what aspects of our onboarding process worked well for you?
  • Considering the expectations you had about your role and the company before you started, how do you feel they’ve been met so far?

Similarly, it has formulated open-ended questions for employees who are about to leave. These ‘Separation Questions’ help companies better understand their attrition going forwards. Example questions include: 

  • Do you feel the responsibilities for your role changed since you were hired?
  • Would you say that you had adequate resources to do your job to the best of your ability?

The open-ended format works in instances like these, because the questions are being sent to a small, select number of employees. In these scenarios, a written response is of more use than a numerical one.

Peakon enables companies to compile their own custom question sets too, specifically for investigating themes or one-off events that are unique to them. 

Download a PDF of Peakon’s core question set here

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