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The Dos and Don'ts of Designing an Employee Engagement Questionnaire

Swetha Bhattacharya

Last Updated: 3 August 2023

Picture this: You're determined to create an employee engagement questionnaire that truly resonates with your workforce. You've seen firsthand how traditional annual surveys fall flat, leaving employees unengaged and organizations struggling to make sense of the data. You know there has to be a better way to measure employee engagement and drive meaningful change. Well, you're in luck! 

In this article, we'll explore the dos and don'ts of designing an employee engagement questionnaire that breaks free from outdated norms. Get ready to discover practical tips, benefits, and examples of survey questions that will breathe life into your employee engagement initiatives.

Why traditional annual surveys are long gone and never work

Remember the days when surveys used to feel like a never-ending chore? It seemed like nobody wanted to participate, and those who did, rushed through with minimal thought. Let's face it: traditional annual surveys don't cut it anymore. They suffer from low adoption rates, and the insights they provide could be faster to derive. The generic survey software and clunky HRMS solutions make the process feel robotic and impersonal. It's time to wave goodbye to those outdated methods and embrace a fresh approach to employee engagement measurement.

Designing conversational employee pulse surveys that stand out in contrast to traditional annual surveys

1. Building survey templates based on the EX framework

Let's discuss designing employee pulse surveys that stand out. Enter the Employee Experience (EX) framework. This framework is not your average template; it's a comprehensive approach to understanding employee satisfaction and happiness within the organization. Drawing from primary and secondary research, inputs from subject matter experts, CHROs, HRBPs, and even ethnomethodological research, the inFeedo EX framework paints a holistic picture of your employees' experiences.

2. Creating a question bank 

You know what they say: the right questions lead to better answers. Consider some important parameters while creating a question bank that captures the essence of employee engagement. Statistical analysis ensures the framework's validity while staying in tune with the new normal, and market sentiment helps capture the evolving employee engagement landscape. Relevance is critical to ask the right questions at the right time. And, of course, brevity is essential. Keep the chat short and crisp with 8 to 10 questions that get to the heart of the matter. Gartner has provided a set of nine key questions that you should include in your questionnaire.

3. Check the readability of the survey questions

Readability matters! We don't want our employees scratching their heads trying to decipher complex survey questions. That's why it's crucial to run readability tests which give insights into how easily participants can understand and respond to the questions. We can ensure high readability and maximize participation by using easily comprehensible language.

4. Determine the key outcomes to be derived from the questionnaire

What can you expect to derive from your employee engagement questionnaire? Plenty! First – the engagement score is the North Star metric to gauge overall employee engagement. Then there's the continuous mood score, allowing real-time assessment of the organizational vibe. Want to dive deeper? The driver-element analysis comprehensively summarizes what's working well and areas that need attention. And let's remember the People-to-Meet (PTM) feature, which highlights employees at risk of turnover and tracks the necessary actions. There's also the eNPS, a measure of brand value and employee loyalty, and advanced textual analysis using TextSens for sentiment breakdown, bucketing, and trending in the organization.

What not to do when developing an employee engagement questionnaire

Now that we've covered the dos, let's focus on the don'ts of designing an employee engagement questionnaire. Avoiding these common pitfalls will ensure your survey hits the mark and provides actionable insights.

1. Not overloading the questionnaire with too many questions

Imagine an employee opens the survey link and is immediately greeted by a seemingly endless list of questions. Survey fatigue sets in, and the quality of responses diminishes. To avoid this, make sure your questionnaire is manageable. Keep it concise, focusing on the most important aspects of employee engagement.

2. Not considering the diversity of your workforce

Your workforce is a diverse and vibrant community with varying perspectives and experiences. To capture a comprehensive picture of employee engagement, ensure your questions are inclusive and accommodate different backgrounds, roles, and viewpoints.

3. Not including open-ended questions for qualitative feedback

Numbers and ratings only tell part of the story. To truly understand employee sentiment and gather valuable qualitative feedback, including opportunities for participants to provide detailed comments and suggestions. These open-ended questions provide rich insights that can guide your employee engagement initiatives.

4. Not regularly reviewing and updating survey questions

Employee engagement is a dynamic landscape. As your organization evolves, so should your survey questions. Continuously review and update your questionnaire to ensure it remains relevant and aligned with your changing organizational needs.

5. Avoiding leading or biased questions

We want honest and unbiased responses, right? Avoid framing questions in a way that nudges participants toward a specific answer. Ensure your questions are neutral and free from any inherent bias. This will yield more accurate and authentic feedback.

6. Not pilot testing the questionnaire

Imagine launching your carefully crafted survey without testing its effectiveness and clarity. Yikes! Pilot testing is essential to identify potential issues, refine the questionnaire, and ensure a smooth rollout. Take advantage of this crucial step in the survey design process.

Sample Employee Engagement questionnaire

We won’t leave without an example! Here's a sample set of questions to give you a glimpse of what an effective employee engagement questionnaire looks like. Remember, these questions can serve as a starting point; customization is key to aligning them with your organization's unique context.

  1. Do you clearly understand your role and responsibilities?
  2. Is your work as good as you expect it to be?
  3. Do you receive the required support and guidance from your manager?
  4. Can you count on your team to support you at work?
  5. Can you collaborate well with others, given the pandemic-induced changes?
  6. Do you have everything you need to do your job successfully?
  7. Do you feel comfortable expressing your opinion at work, even if it differs entirely from the rest?

Wrapping up: Unleash the power of employee engagement surveys

Designing an employee engagement questionnaire is an opportunity to unlock valuable insights and drive positive change within your organization. Employee engagement is not a one-time effort but an ongoing journey of understanding, listening, and adapting. 

To create a workplace where employees thrive, you must leverage the available technology to enhance your surveys and questionnaires. inFeedo’s Amber uses Natural Language Processing capabilities and AI-powered dynamic sentiment analyses to conduct a seamless employee surveys that feel more like a conversation than a mandatory interrogation! Start your journey to improve employee engagement with real-time data to focus on building a winning culture.

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