employee survey best practices eqmatch

Employee engagement has a direct impact on profitability.

Businesses with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable.

And in order to drive engagement, feedback is required.

It is only with optimal feedback that business leaders can understand the strengths and opportunities to drive change.

In this post, we will cover employee survey best practices to help you get the most out of these feedback tools.

What are Employee Surveys?

Employee surveys are structured questionnaires to collect employee feedback, opinions, and insights.

Human Resources leaders use these surveys to assess employee engagement, satisfaction, and areas for improvement within the workplace.

Also Read: HR Statistics 2023

Here are the common types of employee surveys

  • Job Satisfaction
  • Engagement
  • Workplace Culture
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Career Development 
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Well-being

employee survey best practices pros cons

Employee Surveys Pros And Cons

Why employee surveys are important

Low employee engagement can cost a business dearly.

On average, a business spends $4,700 on hiring a new employee (Forbes)

Add to that an average onboarding cost of $986.

This means a business loses $6,000 (at least) due to employee turnover.

And this does not include the “intangible” costs.

It is, therefore, important to proactively try to retain employees.

Employee surveys help in that regard.

Let’s look into the benefits in a bit more detail.

Feedback and Improvement

Employee Surveys provide a structured way for HR professionals to gather feedback directly from employees.

As a result, HR leaders can identify both areas of strengths and opportunities. 

Employee Engagement

Surveys gauge the level of employee engagement.

Engagement is linked to productivity, job satisfaction, and retention. Engaged employees are more committed to their roles and the organization’s mission.

Retention and Recruitment

High employee satisfaction can lead to lower turnover rates.

It also reduces recruitment and training costs. 

Satisfied employees are also more likely to recommend their organization to others.

Talk about free branding!

Identifying Issues

Surveys can uncover workplace issues such as harassment, discrimination, or toxic behaviors.

This helps organizations address these problems promptly and create a safe and inclusive workplace.

Legal implications of employee surveys

In some cases, employee surveys are necessary to comply with legal or regulatory requirements related to workplace conditions and employee rights.

What are the weaknesses of employee surveys?

Self-reporting on employee surveys can lead to potential biases due to self-reporting.

Another issue is survey fatigue (if conducted too frequently).

It could be difficult to interpret open-ended responses. 

Low participation rates can also limit the survey’s effectiveness. 

employee survey best practices

What makes a good employee survey?

A good employee survey has clear objectives, well-crafted questions, confidentiality assurances, and a commitment to action. 

It should focus on relevant topics, be easy to understand, and consider the organization’s unique needs. 

How do you structure an employee survey?

This has three main steps: planning, conducting, and analyzing. 

We will discuss these in the following sections.

Employee Survey Best Practices: Prepping

How do you run an effective employee survey?

An employee survey can yield great insights if prepared and used the right way.

HR leaders should do their due diligence before rolling out an employee survey.

Objectives and Goals

Define the purpose of the survey. 

Determine what specific aspects of your organization’s HR processes or employee experiences you want to explore. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Are you seeking to improve employee engagement
  • Do you want to evaluate the effectiveness of recent changes?
  • Do you want to identify areas for development?

Set clear and measurable goals. These goals act as benchmarks for your survey’s success.

For instance, if your aim is to enhance employee satisfaction, set a goal to increase satisfaction ratings by a certain percentage.

Timing is critical when it comes to conducting employee surveys.

HR managers and leaders should carefully plan the survey timeline to ensure it aligns with organizational goals and employee expectations.

How often should employees be surveyed?

The frequency of employee surveys can vary based on your objectives and the pace of change within your organization.

In general, quarterly, annual, or event-specific surveys are most common.

Communicate the survey dates well in advance to your employees.

Providing ample notice demonstrates respect for their time and demonstrates your commitment to their input.

Employee Survey Tools

You can find dozens of employee engagement survey vendors these days.

Consider factors such as ease of use, reporting capabilities, and cost-effectiveness.

Avoid using generic survey templates.

Instead, customize your surveys to align with your specific HR objectives. 

Let’s look into some more best practices for employee engagement surveys.

employee survey design

Employee Survey Best Practices: Designing

Survey design is an art and a science.

Steer clear of unclear or fancy language. Use words that everyone in your organization can grasp. 

Vague questions lead to unclear answers.

Simple, direct questions work best. 

Employees shouldn’t need a dictionary to understand what you’re asking. 

Keep it simple, and you’ll get better responses.

Open-Ended & Closed-Ended Questions

Closed-ended questions are great for collecting specific, quantifiable data. 

Here is a closed-ended question- On a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied are you?

On the other hand, open-ended questions encourage employees to share their thoughts in their own words. 

Use them when you want more in-depth feedback.

An example: What suggestions do you have for improvement?

Make sure you know what you are looking for when creating open-ended questions in your employee surveys.

Instead of asking, “What’s wrong with the current process?” try “How do you think we can improve the current process?” 

This encourages employees to provide constructive ideas.

What are good survey comments examples?

Good survey comments provide specific and actionable feedback. 

Let’s use an example:

I appreciate the recent changes to our work schedule, but more communication about upcoming shifts would be helpful

This is a constructive comment that highlights an issue and suggests a solution. 

Here is another example:

I feel valued when my manager listens to my ideas during team meetings.

The key is to provide feedback that helps identify areas for improvement or reinforces positive behaviors.

Survey Confidentiality

Employees need to feel safe when taking surveys. 

Tell employees that their survey responses are anonymous. 

Assure them that no one will know who said what. 

Explain how you’ll protect their data and use it only for the survey’s purpose. 

This builds trust.

If employees believe their feedback matters and won’t come back to haunt them, they’ll be more honest and open.

Employee Survey Best Practices: Distribution

You want to make sure your employee survey reaches everyone.

You can use email, intranet, or mobile apps.

Choose channels where employees are comfortable responding.

Give employees choices. 

They might prefer different ways to take the survey. 

Employees are more likely to participate when they understand why the survey matters.

Write invitations that grab attention. 

Explain why their feedback is crucial. 

Help employees see the bigger picture. 

Let them know how the survey results will be used to make positive changes. 

When employees know their voices “matter”, they are more likely to participate in the surveys.

Participation Challenges/Barriers

Some employees may hesitate to participate in surveys. 

Be mindful of how often you survey. Too many surveys can lead to fatigue.

If you’ve recently conducted a survey, consider waiting a bit before the next one.

Make sure the survey is accessible to everyone. Ensure it’s available in multiple languages if needed.

Also, consider those with disabilities and provide accommodations.

employee survey data analysis

Employee Survey Best Practices: Data & Analysis

It’s important to gather data accurately for meaningful results.

Keep an eye on how many employees respond. Low response rates can skew results. Encourage more participation if needed.

Avoid questions that lead to certain answers. Stay neutral to get honest feedback.

Also, consider who’s taking the survey to ensure a diverse range of voices.

Once you have the data, you need to make sense of it. Look for common themes or trends in the responses.

Are there recurring issues or positives? This helps pinpoint areas that need attention.

Visuals like graphs or charts can make complex data easier to understand. 

They help HR managers and leaders see the big picture and make informed decisions.

Not all issues are equal. Focus on what matters most and what can be improved realistically.

Prioritizing ensures efforts are effective and manageable.

How to Communicate Employee Survey Results?

Be honest and clear.

Don’t hide the tough stuff. Share both the good and the not-so-good findings.

It shows you value honesty and helps build trust.

Numbers alone can be misleading.

Explain what the results mean and how they connect to your organization’s goals and actions.

Employees want to know their voices are heard. Feedback sessions can bridge the gap.

Gather employees to discuss the survey findings. This allows for deeper insights and creates a space for open dialogue.

Employees may have questions or worries. Address them openly. It shows you care about their opinions and well-being.

What are the best employee surveys?

A good employee survey addresses the company’s unique needs and objectives. 

Use tools like the Net Promoter Score (NPS), Employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS), or Employee Engagement Surveys.

What is a good participation rate for an employee survey?

A good participation rate for an employee survey typically falls above 70%.

However, the ideal rate can vary depending on the organization’s size, culture, and survey purpose.

Higher participation rates often yield more representative data.

eqmatch emotional intelligence

Employee Surveys and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence assessments can boost employee engagement surveys.

Identifying Areas of Concern

Emotional intelligence assessments can help pinpoint areas where employees may struggle with interpersonal relationships, stress management, or self-awareness. 

You can use this information to create survey questions that address specific emotional intelligence-related challenges within your organization.

Designing Training and Development Programs

EI assessments can highlight skill gaps among employees.

Employee engagement surveys can then assess whether improvements in emotional intelligence, such as better communication or conflict resolution, correlate with higher job satisfaction and engagement.

This data can guide the development of targeted training programs.

Measuring Progress

HR professionals can implement EQ assessments periodically alongside employee engagement surveys. By tracking changes in emotional intelligence over time, organizations can assess the impact of training and development efforts on employee engagement and well-being.

Improving Leadership Skills

Emotional intelligence is crucial for effective leadership.

Combining leadership assessments with engagement surveys can help organizations identify leaders who excel in emotional intelligence and those who may need further development.

This information can guide leadership training and succession planning.

Improving Employee-Manager Relationships

Understanding employees’ EQ levels can help identify areas where managers may need additional support.

This can lead to better relationships between employees and their supervisors.

And this is a significant driver of engagement.

Promoting Self-Awareness

Emotional intelligence assessments encourage self-reflection.

When employees become more self-aware of their emotions and how they impact their work and relationships, they are more likely to engage in the survey process and provide honest feedback actively.


Assessments and surveys focused on emotional intelligence can foster empathy within the organization.

Employees may become more understanding of their colleagues’ emotions and perspectives, leading to improved teamwork and collaboration.

Addressing Stress and Burnout

High emotional intelligence can help employees manage stress and avoid burnout. Employee engagement surveys can gauge the impact of stress on job satisfaction and productivity.

This can help organizations identify and address sources of stress.


Emotional intelligence assessments can be integrated into broader well-being programs. This holistic approach can lead to higher overall employee well-being. And this is closely linked to engagement and job satisfaction.

What are the benchmarks for employee surveys?

Benchmarks for employee surveys vary depending on the organization and its goals. 

However, participation rates (typically above 70%), employee satisfaction scores, and improvement in specific areas are common benchmarks.

You can also use comparative benchmarks against industry standards or previous survey results.

What is the key to a useful employee satisfaction survey?

An effective employee satisfaction survey should be able to provide actionable insights.

It should have clear objectives, well-designed questions, and a mechanism for measuring changes over time.

employee survey questions free download

employee survey questions free download

Employee Surveys Examples

Here are some questions that you can use in Employee Surveys

Employee Satisfaction

On a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied are you with your current job?

What aspects of your job do you find most satisfying?

Are there any specific concerns/ issues that are affecting your job satisfaction?

Employee Engagement 

Do you feel a strong connection to the mission and values of our company?

How often do you receive recognition/ praise for your work?

Do you get ample opportunities to learn and grow within the company?

Workplace Culture

How would you describe the overall workplace culture in our organization?

Do you feel that diversity and inclusion are valued here?

Are employees encouraged to collaborate and share ideas with colleagues?

Personal Growth

Do you believe you have opportunities for personal and professional growth within our organization?

Have you received adequate training and development resources to excel in your role?

Do you feel that your career goals align with the opportunities available here?

Employee Experience

How would you rate your overall experience working at our company?

How was our onboarding and orientation process?

How can we improve the employee experience at our organization?

Management Efficiency

Do you feel that your immediate supervisor effectively communicates job expectations?

Are performance expectations and goals clearly defined for your role?

How satisfied are you with the feedback and guidance you receive from your manager?

Work Environment

Is the physical work environment conducive to your productivity and comfort?

How would you rate the cleanliness and maintenance of our workspaces?

Are there any safety concerns or issues related to the work environment that you would like to raise?

Work-Life Balance

Do you feel that you can maintain a healthy work-life balance in your current role?

Are you satisfied with the flexibility in your work schedule?

Are there any barriers or challenges that affect your ability to balance work and personal life?

Compensation & Benefits

Are you satisfied with your current compensation package?

Do you believe that your salary and benefits are competitive within the industry?

Are there any specific changes or additions to compensation or benefits you would like to see?


I hope you enjoyed reading this comprehensive guide on employee survey best practices.

In the words of Pamela Stroko, “People want to know they matter and they want to be treated as people. That’s the new talent contract.”

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