5 Surprising Questions Your Employee Engagement Survey Must Have

During his GE tenure, highly respected CEO Jack Welch argued, “There are only three measurements that tell you nearly everything you need to know about your organization’s overall performance: employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and cash flow. It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”

engaged employees

That a powerful connection exists between employee engagement and business results is certainly no surprise. However, recently Gallup concluded that companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by a staggering 147% in earnings per share. At the same time, Gallup puts the number of employees worldwide who are NOT engaged at a whopping 87% (70% in the U.S.).

An employee engagement survey provides significant insight into how your people think and feel—what makes them tick. By asking the right questions during this informative survey, you can gain valuable knowledge about how your employees think about their jobs, their management, and even how they feel about your company.

The right questions will yield more than just information about workers’ satisfaction levels – they’ll reveal how well you are matching employees with tasks, educating your team, and even building a loyal and committed workforce. 

So, what questions are most useful? The answer may surprise you. While asking about an individual’s own roles and responsibilities undeniably provides useful data, it is equally important to ask about the employee’s thoughts and feelings about the company as a whole.

Employee morale and company culture are at the heart of a good employee engagement survey and serve as positive indications of employee retention. Including the questions below gives you valuable feedback on how you are doing, how likely your employees are to remain, and exactly how ideal your corporate culture is.

Knowledge of the Brand

Studies have shown that employees are more engaged when they understand how their work fits into the overall goals and objectives of the organization. Similarly, workers with a clear understanding of your brand can be your company’s best ambassadors in terms of generating excitement among both potential customers and prospective hires. Ensure team members have a firm grasp of operations through questions like:

1)     Do you have a clear understanding of what we do and our strategic goals?

The answer to this question will reveal a lot about just how much your average worker knows about what you do—and if they can’t come up with an answer, how can they be working toward and forwarding your business goals?

Career Growth and Training

How do employees feel about their long-term prospects—do they see your organization as a stepping stone or as a place for long-term growth? Employees who cannot envision career advancement at your company become likely candidates to leave. Judge workers’ optimism for their future at your company with questions such as:

2)     Do you feel like you have the opportunity for professional growth here?

Not every employee will want to stay with you forever, but too many workers who answer this in the negative could indicate you have a retention problem.

Work Environment/Company Culture

One of the biggest contributors to workplace and job satisfaction is the relationship that employees have with one another. Employees who enjoy working together, support one another, and who have positive relationships are strong indicators of a positive workplace. Insight on feelings about the workplace and how well everyone gets along can be generated by simply asking:

3)     Do you enjoy working with your team/co-workers?

Positive responses to this question indicate you have a healthy workplace culture and that your employees truly enjoy working for you.


A smaller staff means employees often must juggle multiple jobs and venture outside of their comfort zones. Wearing many hats can be exciting, but it can also potentially be exhausting. Likewise, pressure to do more with less can take a toll on morale. To gauge how individuals are handling such demands, ask questions such as:

4)     Do you know where to go for help?

You’ve worked hard to come up with support systems and lines of communication for your workers – but do they know how to access them? The best system in the world won’t work if your team is unaware of it or unable to use it.

Tools for Success

A positive environment and a genuine sense of belonging enrich your company culture, but employees who don’t feel supported or who don’t get the tools they need to perform their job can become frustrated. This survey question reveals how well you are doing at setting your team up for success:

5)     Do you have the tools and team you need to do your job?

Trying to do today’s work with yesterday’s tools is a recipe for failure; workers become frustrated if they do not have the tools they need to deliver what their organization wants.

The message is simple: In order for workers to succeed, employers must hire the right person for each position and provide the necessary tools to get the job done right.