HRM Five: Essential employee survey questions

What you should be asking in employee engagement surveys.

In a time where the internet has made instant gratification the way of life, there are multiple things fighting for one's attention. And unfortunately, employee engagement surveys don't rank very highly on most to-do lists. 

The reality is that if you want people to fill out your survey, you have to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. If it is a slog to complete, it's unlikely that people will stick with it long enough to click on 'submit'. 

This might mean shorter, more frequent surveys -- a five-minute survey every quarter is more likely to get traction than a yearly one that requires twenty minutes (almost half of a typical lunch break!).

If you want to go the route of ‘pulse’ surveys, here are five questions you should be asking. These questions won’t require intense brainstorming on the part of participants, but the answers will still paint a clear picture of how engaged or unhappy employees are. 


1. How would you describe current company culture in one word?
The challenge here is distilling it to one word -- but the result will indicate the aspect which has the greatest impact for the employee, or which they prioritise the most.
2. Are you able to see a clear link between your work, and the business's overall goals?
This question will highlight if employees even understand the greater business direction. Often, the act of communicating a strategy can be more important than the contents of the strategy. 
3. On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you about the leadership’s direction for the business?
By asking for a number, this question welcomes more nuance than a "yes/no" question, which will be helpful to best understand how well (or not) the company's leadership is performing in employees' eyes. 
4. Do you see yourself in the organisation one year from now?
If you get lots of "no" answers to this, it can indicate serious problems within the business. 
5. If you were to quit tomorrow (hypothetically), what would your reason most likely be?
This question will highlight the biggest problems and pain points affecting employees. These will then provide a starting point for HR and the business to follow-up on. After all, a survey means nothing if you don't do anything with the results. 


Yamini Chinnuswamy offers five important points on everything you wanted to know about HR practices today, but were too afraid to ask. Check out previous editions of HRM Five here.


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