The top 20 questions to ask in your employee survey

What employees think of their jobs and the company they work for can make or break an organization. That’s not news to you, but how you gain those insights might seem less straightforward. You can’t just walk up to employees and ask if they like their manager, can you? A well-written employee survey lets you ask all the questions you need to help your team succeed. Here are some sample employee surveys that you can use for reference.

Thoughtful feedback allows you to optimize every area of employee life. As you plan your next employee survey, consider the best questions for creating a results-driven action plan. We’ll cover the top 20 questions to ask your employees across these categories:

  • Employee satisfaction survey questions
  • Employee engagement survey questions
  • Employee training survey questions
  • Employee evaluation survey questions
  • Company culture survey questions

A recent survey says that a staggering 96% of employees want to receive feedback regularly.

Using QuestionPro Workforce platform you can create all the above types of employee surveys and more.

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20 Top employee survey questions you should be asking

Ready to craft a great survey for your team? We break down the top questions in each category and explain how they can start essential conversations across your company.

Employee satisfaction survey questions

When you think about employee surveys, questions related to job satisfaction are probably the first that come to mind. Measuring employee satisfaction starts with understanding how employees evaluate their workplace, job, compensation, and other day-to-day factors. While it is crucial to gauge what your employees think of their salary and benefits, be sure to dig deeper. Check out these examples:

  1. Are you satisfied with the opportunities to grow your career at this company, and is there a clear plan available for you to do so?

Identifying career development satisfaction should be a top priority in your employee survey. Millennial professionals — now in their mid-20s through the late 30s — make up the majority of today’s workforce. When asked what they want most from an employer, this generation consistently ranks career development opportunities among their top three workplace must-haves. Use answers to this question to optimize career mapping for higher retention.

  1. Does your manager communicate expectations and feedback clearly and professionally?

A communication breakdown at any level of your company creates unnecessary obstacles to productivity, camaraderie, and overall job satisfaction. When employees don’t feel like their manager relays realistic expectations or constructive feedback, they often report a sense of “flying blind.” They may even need to redo their work because their tasks were not clearly established. Use this feedback to make sure everyone is using similar language to set expectations and create processes for offering constructive feedback.

  1. Do you have all the necessary tools you need to do your best work?

Having the technology, information, and resources necessary to deliver high-quality work is a significant factor in employee satisfaction. Simple details like reliable internet and appropriate supplies can make a huge difference. Employees equipped with the right tools work more efficiently and run into fewer frustrations. Try a branching question that splits off from whether they report feeling satisfied with the tools they have at work. This question can ask participants which tools they don’t have or which tools they use the most.

  1. If you encounter a problem or unusual situation, do you know where to go for a solution?

This question has to do with the people and resources your employees can turn to in a pinch. When they have go-to resources to help them solve problems, they can feel more confident in their day-to-day routine. Follow up by asking whether employees feel comfortable going to this individual or source for help so that you can fine-tune your chain of response.

Want more ideas for your employee survey?

We have more employee satisfaction questions for you to explore. When you put yourself in your employees’ shoes, it’s not hard to write an employee survey that your HR team can use to help retain great talent.

Try the employee satisfaction survey template

Employee engagement survey questions

Your first question might be, “What is employee engagement?” Essentially, employee engagement has to do with an individual’s investment and sense of commitment to their work, and whether they feel valued as an employee. This could include how likely they are to exceed expectations, whether they feel confident speaking up in meetings, and how motivated they are when they come into work each day. Read these question examples for more clarification:

  1. How comfortable are you contributing to meetings, projects, and problem-solving with your supervisor and peers?

Employees may be uncomfortable collaborating with others because they feel their contributions are not welcomed or because a particular colleague dominates group interactions. This could even involve harassment or bullying. On the other hand, participants who do feel comfortable working as a team have the opportunity to take more innovative ownership of their work. Ask about this type of engagement explicitly in your employee survey, as individuals might not feel confident bringing it up themselves.

  1. Does your team/department support and encourage your best work?

Solid teamwork doesn’t stop at collaboration. Employees should feel like their team is supportive of reaching their shared goals, even when they are working on individual tasks. When employees know they have a support system and a group of colleagues cheering them on, they are certainly more motivated to invest in their work and the department culture.

  1. What do you think about the company’s approach to work/life balance?

For some employees, work/life balance means a flexible schedule to pick up their kids from school or go to doctor appointments. For others, it’s clear boundaries between when they are expected to be available for work and when they can focus on their personal lives. An open-ended question or a multiple-choice question that allows participants to select more than one answer is ideal for nuanced employee survey questions like this.

  1. Do you feel valued as an employee of this organization?

The best talent adds value to their company, and to boost retention, their employer needs to show them that they are valued in return. Consider using a slider scale question to gather this feedback. Include separate sliders for employees to evaluate compensation, benefits, affirmation from leadership, bonuses, and other incentives your company uses or could use to show appreciation. This will touch on salaries, but most of all, it will show you opportunities to invest more in your team.

Want to build out your employee survey?

Motivation and values can be measured with many employee engagement survey questions. A user-friendly employee engagement template will help you curate the most effective questions for your team.

Try the employee engagement survey template

Employee training survey questions

Training is inevitable, whether you’re onboarding new team members or implementing new processes. Deploying an employee survey during or after the training occurs can help you identify areas that lack clarity as well as successful training tactics you’ll want to repeat in the future. Consider these general training survey questions for any process:

  1. How would you rate the clarity of instruction?

The feedback you receive from this simple question can have significant implications. Several issues can be due to a lack of clarity. For example, the instructional material may be incorrect or poorly written and frustrating to trainees. Another reason may be that the person communicating the training lacks public speaking skills to present the training material adequately. These issues aren’t hard to fix when you are aware of the problem.

  1. Is the training directly relevant to your work?

Training sessions aren’t always going to be fun, but they should serve a purpose. If participants in your employee survey don’t see a practical application of this training, improvements are in order. Perhaps the relevance is just unclear — you can fix that with better communication. If the training isn’t actually applicable to its participants, consider revising its content or including other employees who will find it more beneficial. To gain a big-picture perspective, consider a multiple-choice: single answer question with options such as:

  • No, but I can see how it could be relevant to other colleagues.
  • No, and I don’t think it’s applicable to our company.
  • Yes, this is relevant to my role.
  • Yes, and I can see how it could be relevant to other colleagues.
  1. How confident were you in the instructor’s knowledge and professionalism during training?

If your employee training is conducted by a live instructor, selecting the right person to lead your team is essential. Be specific with any questions regarding internal or external instructors. You want participants to focus on this person’s skill and knowledge as a trainer, not on traits that can introduce personal bias, such as appearance.

  1. Please rate the quality of the facilities and equipment used during this training.

There’s more to career training than the content of each session. If you’re facilitating your training with technology, it’s vitally important that you know how well the tools work in normal circumstances. Phone or video training sessions succeed when the facilities are outfitted with the right communication devices (and instructors have practiced dialing in and troubleshooting). And while it might seem unrelated, you’ll want to know how participants feel about the climate control, restroom facilities, and break area, as those are all part of the training experience.

Want to learn more from your training survey?

As your team develops new skills, you can measure the success of training sessions with these and other focused questions.

Try the training evaluation survey template

Company culture survey questions

A strong company culture is what every business leader hopes for. At its best, your company culture boosts employee satisfaction, engagement, and achievement. To check the health of your company culture, take its pulse with an employee survey. With the right questions, you can build an action plan that benefits the whole organization.

Use these as inspiration:

  1. Is the company’s mission statement clear, and does it inspire you to contribute your best work?

A successful mission statement is built on shared values and motivates employees to work toward the same goal. It brings purpose to the work you do and fosters a community mindset as your whole team invests in making the mission a reality. If that mission is unclear or underdeveloped, your company culture can suffer.

  1. Do you feel the company fosters inclusion and protects employees from discrimination and harassment?

Your HR department can have all the best policies in place, but if inclusion and diversity are not embraced as part of the culture, it can be difficult to protect your team from discrimination and harassment. An employee survey is an excellent opportunity to check on this critical element of company culture from everyone’s point of view.

  1. Does this company take the time to celebrate your success?

Celebrating wins boosts morale and makes people want to keep working hard. You don’t need to throw a big company blowout every time someone meets a professional goal, but mark achievements with positive feedback and recognition of some kind. A party now and then doesn’t hurt, either.

  1. How likely would you say are you to recommend this company to a friend?

The responses you get for this employee survey question say it all. End of the day, you want employees to love working for your company so much that they want to share it with their friends. Include a follow-up to this query, asking each participant to explain their answer. If they are highly unlikely to recommend your workplace or have any reservations, you need to know how to solve the problem. And when employees offer positive feedback, use this data to measure your employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) and prioritize the best parts of your company culture.

Ready to elevate your company culture?

Learn how to build a positive company culture in your workplace, and check out our list of even more company culture questions to inspire your next employee survey.

Try the workculture survey template

Employee evaluation survey questions

Employee evaluation surveys are very different from other types of employee surveys because individuals are tasked with assessing and critiquing each other’s professional performance. This usually entails supervisors evaluating their reports, but that’s not always the case. Craft these questions carefully to remove personal bias and promote professionalism.

Try including these questions in your employee survey:

  1. How does this individual respond to feedback?

The ability to take and apply feedback is crucial to meeting expectations and growing professionally. The way an employee responds to feedback — whether it’s an affirmation or constructive criticism — has a notable impact on how well they work with others. After all, supervisors aren’t the only people who will assess and respond to their work.

  1. Can you count on this person to work well under pressure?

No employee survey is complete without this question. Stressful and urgent situations are inevitable. You need to know exactly how confident you can be in employees when circumstances are not ideal. Ask for examples of how each individual has responded to high-pressure situations when possible.

  1. Select the answer that best describes this person’s approach to teamwork:
  • They take the lead and make sure each team member can contribute their strengths.
  • They tend to follow another person’s lead and support the overall goals.
  • They take ownership of their expertise and defer to others when appropriate.
  • They tend to work alone or alongside other colleagues, but they always align goals.
  • They work as part of a team grudgingly and show little engagement when asked to collaborate.

Everyone’s working style is different, so it’s not necessarily a problem if a person doesn’t naturally gravitate toward collaboration. The key to this employee survey question is to identify how people contribute to a team and to correct negative behaviors.

  1. Rate this individual on the following qualities:
  • Proactiveness and the ability to anticipate problems and solutions.
  • Accountability to meet deadlines and deliver high-quality work.
  • Innovation and creative thinking with follow-through.

These three qualities can be used to gauge an employee’s overall success and their approach to work in general. Include the traits you value most in staff members.

Want to improve employee evaluations?

Evaluations don’t have to be intimidating. Your employee survey can be a great conversation starter and open the door for embracing employees’ strengths.

Try the employee evaluation survey templates

There are many types of employee surveys, as you can clearly see. Each one can gather useful feedback to boost employee satisfaction and build a stronger, more engaged team. You just need the right questions and intuitive tools from QuestionPro.