What Not To Ask In Your Employee Engagement Survey?

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Photo Credit: iStock.com/Artist's Bulat Silvia

Employ surveys are perhaps the most critical ones to pull off and are highly sensitive. While on one hand, it is hard to extract information from reluctant employs. On the other, taking action depending on the feedback, is even harder.

However, no one can refute the fact that conducting employee surveys in an organization, is vital. There are many different types of employee surveys, but here we are just focusing on employee engagement surveys.

If you’re planning on conducting an employee engagement survey in your organization; it is imperative, that you understand the function and need, of these surveys.

Different Types of Employee Engagement Survey

What Is Employee Engagement?

Employee engagement is often enough confused with employee satisfaction. After all, both concepts don’t have very clear guidelines, and have some similarities. Yet these similarities aren’t enough to class them as one, both have their separate surveys.

A satisfied employee will do their work efficiently, and on time; until the clock strives for off time. They will gladly work hard, but only till they are comfortable, and their requirements are met. The minute they get a better offer, you will see them, barreling out the door.

On the other hand an engaged employee will feel a sense of ownership towards the company. They will work as a team, not as employees. In other words, they won’t be working just for the pay. You will see them going the extra mile sometimes, without minding or being asked. They will feel responsible, and love towards their firm, and do their best to make it successful.

Employee engagement is highly beneficial for the firm, it can start a chain of profitability. Higher employee engagement, leads to better quality of work, productivity and service; which leads to greater customer satisfaction. This increases the sales, which leads to sizable profits and significant returns. Employee engagement, therefore, is very important for the firm; but why is there a need for surveys?

Why Do You Need To Conduct Employee Engagement Surveys?

There are four main reasons for conducting employee engagement surveys:

  1. To measure employee engagement, and find out which factors spark engagement.
  2. To provide employees a voice — a place where their feedback can be heard.
  3. To increase employee engagement, by deriving an action plan from the given feedback.
  4. To stimulate organizational growth by using the given feedback, to identify certain areas within the firm, which need adjustment.

Purpose of Employee Engagement Survey

However, conducting successful employee engagement surveys, to achieve an accurate response, is a tricky task. The key, is to ask the right questions, and avoid the ones that could ruin your survey or lead to its abandonment.

What Questions Do You Need To Omit On Your Employee Engagement Survey?

  • Questions employees are too afraid to answer.

For example: Does your boss give special treatment (unjustly so) to a particular employee?

  • Open-ended questions.

For example: Explain how we can improve the work environment at our firm?

  • Too long/demanding questions.

For example: Describe, how is has been working with the firm so far.

  • Questions that don’t have a definitive answer.

For example: On a scale of 1 to 10, how unjust has your boss been to you? (1 being ‘just’ and 10 being ‘extremely unjust’)

  • Questions which are too personal.

For example: Is the work stress, affecting your relationship with your partner/spouse?

Although, sometimes even asking the right questions isn’t enough. Thus, it’d be better, if you avoid these mistakes too, while creating an employee engagement survey.

What Mistakes Should You To Avoid In Your Survey Questions?

You need to look out for three common mistakes, people make, while creating a survey.

  • Not having a proper balance between quantitative and qualitative questions can lead to survey abandonment. Thus, finding the correct amalgamation between the two types of questions, is necessary. To ensure a low abandonment rate and achieve an accurate response, simultaneously.

Quantitative questions

Qualitative questions

Type of answer:
Respondents are given specific numeric, like a scale or multiple choice questions, etc.
Type of answer:
They are open-ended questions, giving survey takers the freedom to give long descriptive answers.
Excellent for data collection – easy to analyze
Gives valuable insight – out of the box advice
Data can be inaccurate (due to the selective
choices provided for the answer)
Become too exhausting and demanding for the survey taker.
Also, they are very difficult to analyze.
  • Using jargons, acronyms and complex words, will confuse some survey takers, resulting in abandonment or inaccurate responses. It is best to use simple language, which is easy for anyone and everyone, to read.
  • Asking more than one question, or addressing two separate things in one question, will likely confuse the respondent.  For example: “Are you in favor of the employee health plan? Do you think Dental coverage, should be a part of it?”

Employee Engagement Process

On a parting note, our last advice to you would be:

  • To communicate thoroughly with your employees about why you’re conducting a survey
  • Refrain from thinking, that your survey, is the way to improve engagement – make a plan, take action (after studying the responses)
  • Tactfully handle negative or awkward feedback.
  • Don’t ask questions you don’t want (can’t bear) answers to.

About The Author

Kelvin Stiles is a tech enthusiast and works as a marketing consultant at SurveyCrest – FREE online survey software and publishing tools for academic and business use. He is also an avid blogger and a comic book fanatic.