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A Guide to Creating an Employee Satisfaction Survey

Capturing employee feedback is important to help your organization improve. Measuring and acting on this feedback can increase productivity, reduce turnover, and provide new ideas for growth. Employers generally only focus on one area, employee satisfaction. To get the whole picture on your organization’s employees, it also important to capture employee engagement metrics.

Employee satisfaction is the extent to which employees are happy or content with their jobs and work environment.

Employee engagement describes how passionate, committed, and personally invested an employee is in their job and work duties.

An employee satisfaction and / or engagement survey is a great way to measure metrics that can help build a better workplace!

Questions Related to Employee Satisfaction

SHRM's 2017 employee survey found the top five factors for employee satisfaction were: respectful treatment of all employees at all levels, overall compensation/pay, trust between employees and senior management, job security, and opportunities to use your skills.

While there is some conceptual overlap with engagement, these top five factors focus more on how an employee are being "treated".

With that in mind, here are some questions to kick start your employee satisfaction surveys:

Would They Recommend You?

Your employees can be your biggest cheerleaders. Use a Net Promoter® to gauge how your employees see you. Use this question as a benchmark year to year or even semiannually to track satisfaction.

Company-wide Relationships:

Ask how employees like their peers and supervisors. Do supervisors seem to inspire their employees? Are co-workers friendly? These are huge factors related to satisfaction.


Let’s face it. Everyone wants to make more money! But employees who feel they are undervalued won't be happy. Unhappy employees are never more productive than happy ones. Get opinions about the benefit packages as well. Maybe something as simple as more time off, even if unpaid, will give your employees extra happiness and motivation.


Use an open ended text question to ask for improvements and concerns. This is a great opportunity for employees' voices to be heard. Big improvements can be shared with senior management to foster an environment that promotes change.

Questions Related to Employee Engagement

The society for Human Resource Management ( does an annual employee satisfaction and engagement survey and is a great resource for employee related metrics. They define engaged employees as "those who know what to do and want to do it". SHRM goes on to summarize engagement can be measured in job assignments, trust, recognition, and day to day communication. This makes sense, in that engagement is looking at the big picture of a person’s employment.

With that in mind, here are some questions to kick-start your employee engagement surveys:

Employment Role Vs. Skill Set:

Employees want to use their skills. They want to do things they are good at, and in an organization that values those skills. If an employee is doing a job they feel doesn't meet their skill set, they are likely not giving 100% effort.

Performance Recognition:

Everyone wants to be recognized for a job well done. This type of recognition can also strengthen an employee’s trust with management and thus strengthen engagement.

Belief in the Company:

Ask employees how strongly they believe in the mission of the company. You need to know if they believe in your product and mission and how the organization is run — or if they’re just in it for the paycheck.

Opportunities for Growth:

One of the most common reasons employees look for other employment is the lack of opportunity for advancement. This is closely related to self-worth. No one wants to work for an organization that doesn’t value them. If an employee has no room for growth, they'll never feel valuable. The opportunity for advacement are crucial in boosting employee engagement.

Statistics and Benefits Related to Employee Satisfaction & Engagement

• The 2017 employee survey by SHRM, found 38% of employees are very satisfied with their job, and 51% of people are somewhat satisfied with their job; nearly 90% of the US work force appeared to at least have some satisfaction from their job.

• Mental Health America's 2017 employee survey, found that "71% of survey respondents were thinking about, or actively looking for new job opportunities". This staggering figure shows how crucial employee engagement truly is. Employees can be somewhat satisfied with their job, but still be looking for better opportunities.

• According to Gallup, only 34% of the US workforce is engaged

Source: Gallup

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• Gallup also reported that companies in the top quartile of engagement, have higher productivity, better retention, and a 21% higher profitability.

• Accoring to a survey from Bridge, 86% of millennials wouldn’t leave their current positions if their company offered training and career development.

• Jobvite reported that 32% of employees would take a 10% pay cut to take a job they are more interested in or passionate about.

•  Turnover caused by dissatisfied employees can be a costly expense. From headhunter fees to additional resources spent on trainings, the costs can quickly add up. Retaining workers helps create a better more productive environment, and in turn makes it easier to recruit quality talent. A Harvard study found that disengaged employees cost companies $12,489 in turnover per employee.

• Social Marekt Foundation, found that happier employees have approximately a 12% higher productivity.

Tips for Employee Surveys

A good employee job satisfaction and engagement survey needs to be properly designed. Use these guidelines when making your survey:

Be Specific!

Don't ask general questions such as "Do you like the cafeteria food?" Keep questions targeted to engagement and satisfaction. Separate the engagement and satisfaction questions into different pages to ensure a proper setup.

Determine How to Send Your Survey:

Generally, sending out via an email invitation is best. You can include employee meta data and then segment results by department or job function. If employees are worried about anonymity, you use the anonymous web link to collect responses.

Use Advanced Features:

Skip logic and answer piping can make the survey experience more tailored to respondents depending on how they answer certain questions. The more engaged your respondents are, the more likely they will complete your survey.

Keep Your Survey Short:

No one wants to be overwhelmed. Keep your survey under 20 questions. Generally, 2 pages with 5 questions each should be enough to gather the data you need and not annoy your employees.

Deep Dive into the Results:

Tell a story with your data. Establish annual or semi annual benchmarks that your organization can use to improve. Create custom reports with our report builder and share specific data with employees, mangers, or include the results in group presentations.