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12 employee engagement survey questions and why they are important

12 employee engagement survey questions and why they are important

A recent study revealed that only 2 of 10 Australian employees are engaged. The rest are either loud quitting–the term for those actively sabotaging the company–or are on the edge of ‘quiet quitting’ – doing the minimum required and not much more. 

This lack of engagement results in underperformance, absenteeism and missed deadlines, leading to poor sales and costing the local economy over $200 billion annually. On the other hand, high employee engagement means 21% higher profitability.

Measuring employee engagement regularly can help mitigate these risks.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement measures employees’ commitment, passion, and involvement in their work and the company. An engaged employee isn’t just someone who shows up for work daily; they are attracted to, inspired and fascinated by their work and company values and goals. In other words, they want the company to succeed and are prepared to go above and beyond their required duties to see this happen.

What makes an employee engaged?

Employee engagement is linked to many factors but is closely tied to involvement, feeling valued, and fair treatment. Engagement significantly increases when employees are involved in decision-making, heard, and given equal opportunities.

While a company cannot demand employee engagement, there are ways to encourage it. Workforce literature calls this method the ten C’s of employee engagement.

The ten C’s of employee engagement

  • Control. Empower employees by delegating decision-making authority and offering them autonomy in their work. Encourage them to take charge of their tasks and projects.
  • Confidence. Build trust in your team by showing confidence in their abilities. Support them in taking risks and provide reassurance in their decision-making processes. Also, be an example of high levels of efficiency, productivity, and quality in your work.
  • Clarity. Clearly communicate the company’s visions and values. Employees want to understand where the organisation is going and why.
  • Connect. Create strong relationships within your team by showing you value them. Employees should feel comfortable sharing ideas and feedback. 
  • Credibility. Act with integrity and ethical conduct. Be a role model for the values you want to see in your organisation. 
  • Convey. Communicate your expectations and provide feedback. Ensure that each employee understands their role and how it contributes to the bigger picture. 
  • Contribute. Help employees see the value and impact of their work. Show them how their contributions are vital to the organisation’s success.
  • Career. Invest in your employees’ professional development. Offer training, mentorship, and career advancement opportunities to help them grow within the company.
  • Congratulate. Recognise and celebrate achievements and milestones, both big and small. Publicly and privately acknowledge the hard work and successes of your team.
  • Collaborate. Encourage teamwork and collaboration. Create opportunities for team members to work together on projects, share knowledge, and learn from each other.

How to measure employee engagement

Measuring employee engagement requires flexibility and understanding. Different workplaces have unique environments and challenges, so there’s no single way to assess engagement perfectly. Combining different methods provides a fuller understanding of how engaged employees are. 

Below are some critical methods for measuring employee engagement. Each has strengths and areas to watch out for, and we’ll offer practical advice on using them effectively.

Informal methods

Informal methods involve observing and interacting with employees in their natural work environment. This includes casual conversations, observing body language during meetings, and noting their participation in team activities.

Informal employee engagement measurement methods are an initial step in a more comprehensive measurement strategy. While they can provide valuable insights into the general mood and morale within the workplace, they are typically just scratching the surface. Always complement them with more in-depth methods.

The benefits of using informal methods are twofold: They provide a natural and unfiltered view of employee behaviour and encourage a culture of open communication and approachability.

The main drawback, however, is these methods are highly subjective and dependent on the observer’s perception.

How to maximise informal measurement methods:

  • Create an open and trusting environment.
  • Implement brief, casual conversations that are not just superficial but also genuine attempts to understand the employee’s perspective.
  • Organise informal team gatherings or social events encouraging employees to relax and open up.


Interviews are direct conversations with employees to understand their feelings, attitudes, and perspectives about their work and the organisation. These can be conducted as one-on-one meetings, either structured with pre-determined questions or unstructured for a more open-ended dialogue.

Exit interviews are a popular form of this method, but its major drawback is by the time you conduct an exit interview, it may already be too late to address the reasons behind an employee’s decision to leave. Hence, it’s better to engage employees throughout their tenure rather than only at the point of exit.

The primary advantage of interviews is they provide an opportunity to gain deeper insight into employee experiences and gather detailed feedback. However, interviews can be time-consuming. Also, employees might not be entirely candid due to concerns about confidentiality or repercussions.

Best practices for interviewing to measure employee engagement:

  • Ensure your employees understand that the goal of collecting feedback is to guide development and support ongoing improvement and not to assess their or their team’s performance.
  • Assure employees that their responses will be kept confidential to encourage openness.
  • Have a guide of topics to cover, but be open to following the conversation where it naturally leads.
  • Take notes during the interview to capture key points without disrupting the flow of conversation.
  • Prioritise listening over speaking.
  • If the employees raise specific issues, follow up with appropriate actions or feedback to the employee.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

KPIs are quantifiable metrics used to gauge the effectiveness of different aspects of a business, such as finances, customers, processes and people. The indicators can vary, but for employee engagement, it typically includes:

  • Absenteeism
  • Turnover rate
  • Productivity levels
  • Participation in employee programs

One of the main benefits of KPIs since this method is data-driven, it allows for an objective measurement of employee engagement. Being data-driven, this also means it’s straightforward to monitor the results and compare across different periods.

However, KPIs may not reflect engagement fully. High productivity might be due to overworking, which is not a sustainable indicator of engagement. KPIs also don’t capture the emotional or psychological aspects of employee engagement, such as job satisfaction or commitment to company values.

Top tips for using KPIs when measuring employee engagement:

  • Choose indicators that align closely with the company’s goals and values. Avoid relying on generic KPIs.
  • Always interpret KPIs within the broader context of the employee’s work environment, role, and other external factors.
  • Combine KPI analysis with qualitative methods like surveys, interviews, and informal feedback to get a well-rounded view of engagement.


Surveys are structured questionnaires to gather employee feedback about various aspects of their job and the organisation, from satisfaction ratings to more complex queries about workplace culture, management effectiveness, and job roles. 

Surveys are one of the long-standing forms of gauging employee engagement because this method offers multiple benefits, such as:

  • Provides a formal way for employees to share their opinions while remaining anonymous
  • Customisable to the specific needs of an organisation
  • Helps identify trends in workforce sentiment from one period to the next
  • Behavioural indicator. Asking employees about their plans to stay with the company is a more accurate predictor of whether they will leave than complex predictive analytics models. Also, those who do not participate in surveys are much more likely to quit in the near future.
  • Influences the actions of those who participate. Responding to a survey can lead to a commitment to consistent behaviour or encourage personal reflection, potentially leading to behaviour changes. This holds true even for those who initially respond negatively.

But just like other methods, surveys have downsides too, including:

  • Requires time and consistency to be most effective
  • Despite their apparent simplicity, the entire process can be costly
  • In smaller organisations, there can be apprehension among employees about participating in surveys even with anonymity due to concerns about possible negative repercussions from their feedback
  • Has to be balanced–it should be comprehensive enough to gather ample feedback but not so lengthy that employees become disengaged or less thoughtful in their responses

How to measure employee engagement using surveys effectively:

  • Have a clear goal
  • Ask the right questions
  • Keep the survey length appropriate
  • Combine different types of questions
  • Use diverse rating systems
  • Schedule surveys consistently and promptly
  • Use an independent survey tool
Why choose Insync's employee engagement survey?

Insync’s employee engagement survey is developed under the expertise of licenced psychologists and research professionals to ensure it asks the right questions and is organised in a way that effectively captures essential information. In addition, our survey method:

  • Is robust and externally benchmarked
  • Has an understanding of the whole picture in terms of demographic breakdowns but also percentage favourable responses by staff
  • Provides historical trend comparisons and the ability to purchase a product which will provide long-term tracking data
  • Simplifies complex data so it’s actionable, saving HR from difficult statistical analysis and administration

Employee engagement questions to include in your survey

Great questions elicit great answers. In this section, we introduce important survey questions carefully chosen to help you understand key aspects of employee engagement and explain why they made the list.

  1. Our senior leadership team has a vision for [organisation name] that inspires me.
    This question assesses employees’ alignment with and motivation derived from the company’s vision. This indicates how well leadership communicates and embodies this vision–a nod to ‘Clarity’ in the 10 C’s framework. A positive response indicates that the leadership has successfully shared a compelling vision that resonates with and inspires the staff, fostering a sense of purpose and direction.
  2. The person I report to is trustworthy.
    This question measures the quality of the immediate supervisory relationship, which is a critical aspect of the ‘Credibility’ and ‘Connect’ dimensions in the 10 C’s framework.  When employees view their supervisor as trustworthy, it indicates a healthy communication environment, integrity in leadership actions, and a belief in the supervisor’s dependability and fairness.
  3. I happily do extra work to help [organisation name] succeed.
    Willingness to go above and beyond job requirements indicates high commitment and engagement with the organisation’s goals and success. It aligns with the ‘Contribute’ aspect of the 10 C’s framework. A positive response indicates that an employee’s contributions are appreciated and, thus the strong sense of dedication to the company.
  4. Our senior leaders are good role models.
    This question measures employees’ perceptions of senior leaders’ behaviour and actions, which is crucial for the ‘Credibility’ element of the 10 C’s framework. It assesses whether employees see their leaders as positive examples in the workplace, both in their professional conduct and in embodying the organisation’s values. Positive responses suggest that employees respect and are inspired by their leaders, which is vital for fostering a culture of trust and admiration within the company.
  5. I am proud to be working here.
    This question assesses the level of pride and personal satisfaction employees feel about being part of the organisation. Feeling proud to work at a company usually indicates that employees have a strong sense of trust and belief in their organisation, aligning with the ‘Credibility’ and ‘Confidence’ aspects of the 10 C’s of employee engagement. This sense of pride is rooted in a trust in the company’s leadership and its commitment to values and ethics, which speaks to credibility.
  6. We have a culture of “no surprises” where bad news is promptly shared with management.
    This question assesses the organisation’s commitment to transparency and open communication, components of the ‘Clarity’ and ‘Convey’ elements in the 10 C’s of employee engagement. A positive response indicates the company culture encourages the prompt sharing of news—good or bad—with everyone involved, reflecting a workplace that prioritises clear communication.
  7. [organisation name] is committed to high standards of performance.
    This survey question focuses on whether employees believe the company is committed to high-performance standards, touching on the ‘Confidence’ aspect. If employees agree, it suggests that the leaders are doing a great job of being exemplars of maintaining and implementing these standards.
  8. My skills and talents are used to their full potential.
    This question sees if employees feel their talents and skills are maximised at work, which intersects with the  ‘Career,’ ‘Control,’ and ‘Contribute’ aspects of the 10 C’s framework. A positive response suggests they feel they can make decisions in their work, offer meaningful contributions to the company, and grow professionally.
  9. Resources in [organisation name] are allocated fairly.
    An organisation willing to increase employee engagement not only challenges employees to grow in their careers but also provides the tools and procedures for them to realise that growth, a crucial part of the ‘Career’ and ‘Convey’ aspects. An affirmative response to this question means the leaders are investing in their team’s career advancement and the means to achieve it.
  10. [organisation name] cares about and is committed to me.
    Feeling valued and supported by their organisation are fundamental components of engagement, as highlighted in the framework’s ‘Connect’, ‘Collaborate’ and ‘Congratulate’ aspects. A positive response to this survey item suggests employees feel integral to the company and are acknowledged for their contributions.
  11. I am paid fairly for my current role.
    As previously mentioned, fair treatment is one of the most important factors affecting employee engagement. It’s a way organisations show they value employees, which is crucial for their sense of value and recognition (‘Connect’ and ‘Contribute’). Also, fair pay reflects the organisation’s credibility and integrity in rewarding employees appropriately. A positive response to this survey item indicates that employees feel their contributions are justly compensated.
  12. The person I report to is interested in my job satisfaction.
    This question evaluates the extent to which supervisors are concerned about their employee’s well-being and job satisfaction, which relates to the ‘Connect’ and ‘Convey’ aspects of the 10 C’s framework. Affirmative feedback suggests a supportive and communicative work environment where employee well-being is a priority.

Why do employee engagement surveys fail?

Besides asking the right questions in a survey, several other factors contribute to its success. Below is an overview of these factors. You can read in-depth details about them in our previous post about best practices for employee and staff surveys.

  • Timing. Launching the employee survey (or previous surveys) at the wrong time can result in biased responses or data of limited validity. An example is when you launch an employee engagement survey when there are rumours about corporate restructuring. Or perhaps it’s the end of the year, and the entire team is busy meeting deadlines.
  • Trust. If past surveys have shown issues within the organisation but no improvements have been made, your staff might be doubtful about the value of participating in another survey. They might find it pointless.
    • Another reason is when the confidentiality part is bypassed. Maintaining confidentiality is crucial for ensuring honest and open feedback. When anonymity is guaranteed, employees feel more comfortable expressing their true thoughts and concerns, leading to more accurate and actionable insights. Otherwise, it can damage trust between employees and management, making future surveys ineffective tools for improvement. 
  • Communications. Letting everyone know about the survey is only one part of the process. The other is ensuring everybody understands what’s about to happen and has ample access to the survey form. Lack of clear pre-survey communication may mean a low response rate.
  • Design. Poorly crafted surveys with vague, complex, or irrelevant questions can lead to inaccurate results and low participation. A well-designed survey, however, is concise, clear, and focuses on specific aspects of employee engagement.
  • Respondents. If a survey fails to capture a representative sample of the target workforce, the results may not accurately reflect the organisation’s overall engagement levels.
  • Analysis and interpretation. One common issue is trend analysis, especially when comparing current data to previous data collected differently. This can lead to inaccurate conclusions if the methodologies aren’t aligned. Also, not accounting for cultural response bias in the survey can skew results, as it fails to consider how different cultural backgrounds might affect responses. Finally, another pitfall is missing the big picture by focusing too much on specific data points and not seeing the overall trends and themes that emerge from the survey. 

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