5 Employee Survey Questions to Measure More Than Satisfaction

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These research-backed Great Place To Work employee survey questions reveal what employees really think of their experience and help you create a high-trust workplace culture.

Having a listening strategy is an essential part of creating a positive employee experience. Leaders need to be able to hear employees’ feedback and respond to their needs to build a company culture where employees feel valued and find purpose in their work.

Employee survey questions are one of the most powerful tools in any listening strategy because they can:

  • Provide quantitative data that can guide action planning
  • Uncover inconsistencies in experience between different groups of employees
  • Enable organizations to objectively compare their employee experience to the experience at other organizations

How well your employee engagement survey questions fulfill the above will depend on the quality of the questions you ask. Great Place To Work survey questions give you a detailed picture of the employee experience in your organization.

The problem with survey questions that only measure employee satisfaction

Companies often use employee workplace survey questions for measuring employee satisfaction – in other words, to gauge whether employees are satisfied with their situation at work.

For example, a company may want to know if employees are satisfied with their compensation and benefits, or if they have issues with their manager.

Some companies also use employee engagement survey questions to try to measure employee engagement, or the extent to which employees feel motivated and excited by their work.

Both employee satisfaction and employee engagement are important. The most insightful surveys, however, are those measuring employee experience: a holistic view that closely links satisfaction and engagement.

For example, an employee might be satisfied with their allotted paid time off (PTO), but still struggle with work-life balance. Why? Because their manager expects them to be reachable even when they’re supposedly offline. This practice usually leads to burnout.

A survey that only measures whether employees are satisfied with their PTO benefits would miss this burnout – the bigger issue – because employees would only report PTO satisfaction.

However, a survey that simply measures employee burnout might misinterpret the problem and companies would not realize additional time off won’t solve it.

It’s only through a comprehensive Great Place To Work Trust Index™ Survey that we can see the full picture, address the root cause, and achieve the right solution.

Remote Work and Flexibility

Remote work is quickly becoming a new norm. This shift has introduced new challenges and opportunities in maintaining employee satisfaction.

It might be beneficial to explore “How satisfied are you with the company’s remote work policies?” or “Do you feel you have the flexibility you need in your work schedule?”. Great Place To Work Trust Index™ Survey questions take these aspects into account.

Mental Health Awareness

There is a growing trend of companies paying more attention to their employees’ mental health. This is especially important given the increased levels of stress and anxiety many people are experiencing.

Great Place To Work Trust Index™ Survey questions acknowledge issues such as “Do you feel your workload is manageable?” or “Do you feel comfortable discussing mental health with your manager?”.

Career Development Opportunities

With the changing job market, employees are increasingly looking for opportunities for growth and development within their current roles.

Questions might include “Do you feel there are sufficient opportunities for professional growth in your role?” or “Are you satisfied with the learning and development resources provided by the company?”.

Rather than viewing employees’ relationship with management as a binary “satisfied/dissatisfied,” an employee experience survey seeks to understand the level of trust that employees have in their company leaders, including during a crisis.

An effective survey strives to understand how management’s leadership style impacts employees’ perceptions of fairness, or whether certain practices are undermining employee well-being. Leaders must be able to demonstrate consistent credibility, respect, and fairness to earn – and sustain – their employees’ trust.

5 questions to Ask in an Employee Experience Survey

1. Does management try to connect with employees on a personal level?

When it comes to employee experience, it’s essential that you build a high-trust relationship between management and employees. Trust, however, is a deeply personal feeling – it’s nearly impossible to earn someone’s trust without establishing a personal relationship of some kind.

The first step in building that relationship is for management to show that they care about their employees as people, not just what they’re able to bring to the table from a professional standpoint. Answers to this question reveal the quality of your employee-management relationships.

2. Does management recognize outstanding work or effort?

This question measures two critical pieces of a high-trust relationship between management and employees:

  • How much management shows employee recognition in a way that resonates with employees (essential for making employees feel valued, appreciated, and cared for).
  • How much management is perceived as impartial: Is the recognition tied to the work people do, or do certain people get recognition more easily?
3. Does management listen to employees’ ideas?

It’s difficult to trust someone if you don’t feel that they trust you, so management should constantly seek out opportunities to make employees feel trusted. One great way to do that is to listen and respond to employees’ ideas – it shows that managers respect and value what their people think and feel.

Encouraging managers to be receptive to employees’ ideas also makes employees more comfortable sharing feedback about their experience at work. This gives you more valuable information that you can use to further improve your employee experience.

It’s difficult to trust someone if you don’t feel that they trust you, so management should constantly seek out opportunities to make employees feel trusted
4. Are people treated the same regardless of their background or personal characteristics?

When measuring employee experience, it’s essential to not only look at the big picture but also understand that different groups of people may have very different experiences at the same workplace.

Questions like this one help measure how employees feel about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) within their workplace, and can point leaders in the right direction as they expand their DEIB efforts.

It’s especially useful to break out the results to DEIB-related questions by demographic group (for example, by gender) so that you can identify and analyze any differences in experience across groups.

5. Is it a psychologically healthy workplace?

Employees need to feel psychologically and emotionally safe to have a positive experience at work. Measuring these forms of safety is an important function of an effective employee experience survey.

If a company is doing everything else right, but employees feel burnt out, feel trapped in a toxic culture, feel uncertainty or feel they can’t get the support they need, it can severely impact the overall employee experience.

On the flip side, when employees do feel psychologically healthy, they’re much more likely to be willing to extend trust to management, which means other attempts to build trust are more likely to succeed.

Launch an employee survey that asks the right questions and helps you improve the employee experience

With the detailed results of Great Place To Work survey questions in hand, leaders can build a better employee experience. What does this look like? It includes managers who fulfill promises and express genuine care; who provide all employees with equal opportunities for growth and recognition; and who strive to be as competent, authentic and honest as possible.

Such efforts naturally lead to happier employees, greater innovation and increased productivity. Employees with deep trust in their company leadership will be less likely to quit and more likely to generate winning ideas.

Great Place To Work® Certification™ looks beyond basic employee satisfaction to measure the level of trust between leaders and employees.

Reach out today to see how the Great Place To Work trust index survey can help you attract and retain top talent.

Eliot Bush

Eliot Bush is a Culture Coach at Great Place to Work®. He is an expert in data-driven analysis of employee experience. In intensive one-on-one Culture Coaching sessions, Eliot uses Great Place to Work’s survey platform Emprising™ to help companies identify their culture’s unique strengths and areas of opportunity. Eliot also helps companies understand how to create a company culture honored on our Best Workplaces™ lists.

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To be eligible for the World’s Best Workplaces list, a company must apply and be named to a minimum of 5 national Best Workplaces lists within our current 58 countries, have 5,000 employees or more worldwide, and at least 40% of the company’s workforce (or 5,000 employees) must be based outside of the home country. Extra points are given based on the number of countries where a company surveys employees with the Great Place to Work Trust Index©, and the percentage of a company’s workforce represented by all Great Place to Work surveys globally. Candidates for the 2017 Worlds Best Workplaces list will have appeared on national workplaces lists published in September 2016 through August 2017.

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