31 Impactful Employee Feedback Questions to Ask
August 23, 2023
Listening is an essential aspect of communication between employers and employees. Yet, according to Frontier in Psychology, research increasingly suggests "speaker perceptions of good listening do not necessarily align with researcher or listener conceptions of good listening."
In other words, most of us aren't as good at listening as we think we are—even when we're trying.
You probably already recognize the effects of that misalignment playing out in the workplace. Maybe it's a colleague that seems impervious to feedback, a direct report that makes the same mistake after repeat trainings, or a leadership team that makes decisions and statements that feel out-of-touch with the rest of the organization.
Addressing that gap is a crucial step toward establishing a healthy internal communication climate, and employee surveys can be a powerful tool for building the feedback loops that strengthen alignment. But for an employee survey to succeed, it's crucial not just to ask the right questions, but also follow up with action.
Why Are Employee Feedback Questions Important?
Employee feedback surveys are a reliable and structured way that an organization can become a better listener. They provide an opportunity for leadership to learn about employee challenges and triumphs on a macro and micro scale. The results of that listening and learning can lead to a host of benefits.
Enhanced employee engagement
Employee surveys allow employees to express their opinions, concerns, and suggestions. By actively seeking their input, organizations demonstrate that they value employees' perspectives.
Listening to answers people have to employee feedback questions can give management important insight and provide the opportunity to address concerns and challenges before they lead to employee turnover. When employees feel heard and valued, and the company acts upon their feedback, they are more likely to feel engaged and invested in their work.
Moreover, regularly conducting employee surveys allows organizations to track engagement levels over time. By comparing results from different survey periods, organizations can identify trends and measure the impact of their initiatives. This helps them gauge the effectiveness of their efforts and make data-driven decisions to improve employee engagement continuously.
Increased employee satisfaction
According to The Conference Board's Job Satisfaction 2023 survey, job satisfaction and employee retention are intrinsically intertwined. Higher employee satisfaction often leads to higher employee retention, which should make improving this area a top priority for companies.
Employee surveys allow leaders to do just that, helping them identify potential pain points and implement targeted solutions to address them. For instance, leaders can ask questions about the following areas:
- Work conditions
- Job satisfaction
- Communication channels
- Leadership effectiveness
The questions around these areas (and actions on the feedback) will demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement, which can positively impact the employees' job satisfaction.
For example, if employee feedback indicates that many workers yearn for coaching, management can consider rolling out a mentorship program. By understanding what motivates employees, organizations can design initiatives that resonate with their workforce and increase overall satisfaction and engagement.
Supercharged internal communication
When a workplace lacks communication, employee engagement can suffer. When organizations conduct surveys regularly, they establish a feedback loop that encourages open and transparent communication. Sharing survey results and making changes based on employee feedback demonstrates that the organization values employee input and actively works to address concerns.
How to Create Effective Employee Feedback Questions
While the details of feedback questions might vary greatly across each organizations, the themes are often similar. The most effective employee feedback survey questions are guided by six major factors: who, what, when, where, why, and how.
- Who are you asking?
- What are you asking them?
- When are you asking this question?
- Where (in what context) does the question come up?
- Why are you asking this question?
- How is the question phrased/delivered?
Decide which areas to target
Business News Daily suggests conducting longer surveys at wider intervals while administering shorter pulse surveys more frequently. Pulse surveys help to identify current issues, allowing management to investigate or follow up with immediate action.
Tailor each pulse survey to a particular aspect of the organization, such as:
- Employee engagement
- Career growth and development
- Trust in leadership
- Communication within the organization
- Employee recognition
Each pulse survey should focus on a specific aspect of the company and drill down from there. Make a top priority of assessing aspects of the organization that clearly need immediate attention based on previous employee feedback or even buzz around the office.
Choose question formats
There are various question formats to choose from when conducting employee surveys to ensure you get the most accurate responses depending on your company type and culture. Each type tells you something slightly different.
Interval scale questions
These allow employees to choose from a range of responses. For example, you may offer five answers to a given question, ranging from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree." Interval scale questions are excellent for measuring team sentiment.
These may take various forms, such as multiple choice, checkboxes, drop-downs, or ranking scales (also known as ordinal scales). With these types of questions, employees must choose from several pre-selected options. Closed-ended questions are excellent for measuring and analyzing quantitative data.
In contrast to closed-ended questions, answers to open-ended questions tend to be more detailed and provide qualitative data. These questions allow the employees to provide insight into their thoughts, feelings, and opinions.
Write effective questions
According to the Pew Research Center, developing effective survey questions is essential to conducting a successful survey. Some tips on writing the best survey questions include:
- Compose questions that are easy to understand and have a clear meaning. Unclear questions will yield unclear (and less useful) results. Use simple and clear language to avoid confusion.
- Create brief, concise questions. Long, convoluted questions may lead to less direct answers.
- Don't use industry-specific language or technical/business jargon to make the questions accessible to everyone.
- Do not ask personal, inappropriate, or intrusive questions.
- Test the employee feedback questions on a focus group before launching the employee survey. Consider making changes based on feedback from the test group about the survey's relevance, clarity, and accessibility.
Stay away from leading or loaded questions
The wording of a question can mean the difference between receiving valuable feedback and meaningless information. It can also be a point of inclusion or exclusion. To foster only the former, managers should ensure their surveys are free of the following:
- Assumptions of any kind
- Leading constructions trying to influence the respondent to provide a particular answer
- Offending language, bias, or exclusionary language
Employee Engagement Survey Questions
Questions focused on the level of employee engagement within the organization can provide leadership with the information they need to keep their teams motivated and productive.
1. Do you consider your work engaging?
This question should give a good indication of the respondents' level of engagement with their jobs. Zippia's research found that engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave their jobs voluntarily. According to Gallup, they are also more productive than employees with a low level of engagement.
2. Do you know how to reach your objectives and goals?
There's a great deal of security in knowing where you're going. A 2021 study revealed that employees with a clear picture of how to meet their goals would be more productive and engaged. It is essential that management clearly communicates its expectations for employees.
Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions
Employee satisfaction is a large part of maintaining an engaged team. These questions can help determine the organization's level of employee satisfaction and give insight into improving it.
3. Do you enjoy your work?
Work does not necessarily equal drudgery. Employees who find their work challenging, exciting, and fulfilling are far more satisfied with their jobs and, therefore, more engaged.
4. Are your duties and responsibilities clear?
Management must express clear expectations when assigning responsibilities and projects to avoid employee frustration and disengagement.
5. Using this rating scale, how do you feel about the level of challenge you face at work?
There is a delicate balance between not challenging employees enough and challenging them too much. Ideally, they should feel challenged enough to foster learning and growth.
6. Using this rating scale, how reasonable is your workload?
This question will provide information about how employees feel about their ability to complete their assigned work. Honest answers to such a question can help leadership determine if they need to delegate work differently.
7. Do you have enough freedom to make decisions about how you perform your job?
Micromanagement can negatively impact employees' productivity, engagement, and more. Feedback from employees regarding their level of freedom to work in their ways can help company leaders to assess whether they need to implement changes.
8. Using this rating scale, how likely are you to recommend this company as a great place to work?
Employees who enjoy their jobs enough to recommend their workplace to others tend to be more engaged and overall more satisfied.
Manager Feedback Survey Questions
Many employees place a high value on feedback from their direct managers and benefit from such coaching.
9. Using this rating scale, how satisfied are you with the frequency of feedback you receive from your direct manager?
Creating feedback loops can help employees stay plugged into their performance, fostering better engagement.
10. Are you satisfied with the specificity of the feedback you receive?
Some employees need more frequent feedback to feel confident in their jobs. This question will help measure how effective each employee finds the feedback provided by their direct managers.
Career and Personal Growth and Development Survey Questions
Employees who feel stuck in dead-end jobs are less likely to be engaged with their work. A Gallup poll points out that 65% of employees believe their company should provide "upskilling" opportunities. The result? High career growth and development opportunities can improve employee engagement.
11. Do you have someone at work who mentors and supports your growth and development?
According to the National Mentoring Partnership, employee engagement increases with the proper guidance from someone the employee can consider a mentor.
12. Using this rating scale, how do you feel about the way the company makes use of your talents?
For most employees, feeling their employers are putting their talents and strengths to good use is a large part of feeling valued and engaged.
13. Do you feel involved in decisions that affect your job?
Transparency between leadership and employees is key. By including employees in meetings and decisions involving their work, management can show employees that their skills, perspectives, and input are valuable.
Manager Effectiveness Survey Questions
For a team to succeed, it is paramount that management and employees share a healthy relationship, both professionally and personally.
14. Do you believe your direct manager cares about you as a person?
A good manager, according to Business News Daily:
- Works with their employees, not above them
- Gets to know their employees as people
- Clearly communicates expectations, goals, and feedback
- Creates a healthy, positive, and inclusive work environment
15. Do you feel your direct manager is someone you can trust?
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, fostering a culture of trust in the workplace is essential for optimal employee productivity and engagement.
16. Using this rating scale, rate your direct manager's management skills.
Being a management team member does not exclude an individual from the necessity to learn, grow, and develop. Feedback from employees can help team leaders learn their strengths and areas for improvement.
17. Using this rating scale, how satisfied are you with the frequency of your communication with your direct manager?
Whether employees work in person or remotely, continuous feedback loops are key to employee engagement and positive manager-employee relationships.
Company Culture Survey Questions
Employee feedback questions can provide valuable insights into how aligned employees feel with the organization's culture, values, and mission.
18. Does the organization's purpose and mission inspire or motivate you?
Research by Deloitte found that organizations that proactively promote a company culture of employee engagement and meaningful work tend to experience more profit, growth, and success.
19. Are your coworkers committed to helping the organization meet its goals?
Employees who perceive their colleagues as committed to a common goal have a stronger sense of solidarity.
Team Dynamics and Relationships Survey Questions
Cooperation and collaboration amongst team members are essential to achieve maximum employee engagement and satisfaction.
20. Do you feel as if you are part of a team?
Gallup research tells us employees who feel they "carry" projects or put in the most work tend to demonstrate lower engagement.
21. Do you feel that you can depend on your fellow team members?
This question will provide leadership with essential insights into inter-office relationships and trust.
22. Do you feel that you and your fellow associates collaborate well together?
Forbes found that effective collaboration is essential to foster high employee engagement.
23. Do you feel your colleagues display a commitment to performing their jobs well?
When management clearly expresses expectations and goals to an engaged team, effective collaboration emerges as a result.
Distributed Teams Survey Questions
It's important to ensure remote teams are just as engaged as in-person teams.
24. Do you have access to a distraction-free environment to work in when you need it?
Without access to distraction-free work areas, remote employees may become disengaged and, as a result, less productive.
25. Are you physically comfortable in your workplace?
Research by LinkedIn found that ergonomics plays a large part in employee engagement and motivation.
Morale and Recognition Survey Questions
Leadership should keep in mind that employees are pivotal to the organization's success and deserve recognition as such.
26. Do you feel recognized for your contributions to the company's success?
Forbes reports that the importance of employee recognition is higher than ever. Employees who don't feel appreciated are more likely to leave their jobs.
27. Do you feel the recognition you receive is meaningful?
This question will help an organization improve the specificity and appropriateness of employee recognition.
Resources Survey Questions
Employees need access to the appropriate equipment and information to perform their jobs successfully.
28. Do you have access to the necessary equipment, supplies, and other resources to fulfill your job responsibilities?
This employee feedback question applies to both in-person and remote employees. Again, ergonomics plays a large part in employee engagement.
29. Can you access the non-material resources you need to fulfill your job responsibilities, such as training, support, knowledge, information, and data?
Employees who feel unprepared or unable to perform their duties effectively experience lower levels of engagement.
Inclusion and Diversity Survey Questions
Prioritizing employee feedback questions about inclusivity and diversity shows the organization is committed to giving all employees a voice.
30. Do you feel like you belong in the company?
Employees who feel out of place in the workplace are more likely to seek other employment.
31. Do you trust the company to be fair to each and every employee?
This question can help leadership identify, understand, and overcome trust gaps.
Best Practices for Conducting Employee Surveys
After crafting the most effective employee feedback questions, leadership must determine how often, when, and how to administer employee surveys. Here are some best practices to ensure the highest quality feedback.
Ensure the anonymity of employee respondents
Anonymous surveys give employees the confidence to provide honest answers without fear of repercussion. Fortunately, plenty of third-party survey tools ensure the anonymity of respondents.
Managers should also be transparent about how they ensure the confidentiality of the results of employee feedback questions and the anonymity of respondents.
Consider the timing and frequency of surveys
Consider when to conduct employee surveys to garner the most useful feedback. Doing so too often may overload employees and cause mixed answers. Yet, fewer surveys may fail to bring up potential issues on time and provide actionable insights.
Determine a frequency that works well for your organization and stick with it. LinkedIn discusses the benefits and challenges of various employee survey frequencies.
Before conducting surveys, however, managers should keep in mind any events or organizational changes that may affect employee responses and schedule accordingly. They should also communicate survey schedules in advance to give employees time to prepare.
Make a formal announcement before the survey's launch. If employees don't know a survey is circling or why they should participate, they will be less likely to respond.
Consider encouraging employee survey participation by offering rewards or incentives, such as gift cards, time off, or entry into a raffle.
Other ways to boost participation can include:
- Sending reminder text messages and emails
- Integrating reminders into everyday workflow
- Mentioning the survey in meetings
Analyze the survey data
After managers take all the above steps, they'll have much data to analyze. Keep an eye out for trends and patterns among the results. Use this information to make informed decisions about positive changes.
Finally, be sure to communicate the survey results so employees understand the positive effect of their feedback and the changes that result from it.
Boost Employee Engagement with Employee Feedback Questions
Employee surveys can be a highly effective tool to gauge employee engagement and an excellent way to show employees that leadership truly listens to and values their feedback.
The example questions provided above should be a jumping-off point. They should help organizations compose questions specific to their operations, culture, employees, and other areas and factors.
But although essential, collecting meaningful feedback is futile if organizations don't act upon it. Gauging actions based on the provided answers to the survey questions will go a long way in enhancing employee engagement and improving the overall employee experience.