Posted by on June 23, 2017

What Survey Questions Can You Use to Measure Employee Engagement?

To measure employee engagement, organizations typically measure two things:

  • The state or outcomes of employee engagement
  • The drivers of employee engagement

Measure the state of engagement and engagement outcomes

First, to measure the state of engagement or the outcomes of engagement, there are no universally used set of questions. Therefore, you have several options:

Typically, academics measure the state of engagement as the presence of an employee’s cognitive energy, emotional energy and physical energy at work. They would use questions like this to measure employee engagement:

  • Cognitive energy: I am absorbed in my work.
  • Emotional energy: I feel energized in my work.
  • Physical energy: I work with intensity in my job.

Many practitioners measure the outcomes of engagement, instead. Examples of these question might include:

  • Intention to stay: I plan to stay in this company for the next 12 months. OR I rarely think about looking for a new job with another organization.
  • Discretionary effort: I put forth extra effort in my job to help the company succeed.
  • Promoter: I would recommend this company to a friend as a good place to work.

When measuring the state or outcomes of employee engagement, use this same metric to evaluate employee engagement year after year to note if employee engagement is increasing or decreasing in your organization. This metric is good for identifying change, but it does not give much guidance in ways to improve engagement. That’s where the second set of questions is so important.

Measure the drivers of engagement

Second, to measure the drivers of employee engagement, the questions chosen would depend on the model you use to define the drivers. My model of employee engagement has six interacting elements that drive employee engagement: fit, trust, caring, communication, achievement, and ownership. These elements are derived from research and practice. The questions in an employee engagement survey would measure each of those drivers. These questions are closed-ended. Participants rate to what extent they agree or disagree with each of the driver statements. Examples of questions for each driver are listed below.

Measure FIT

  • The Purpose of this organization is meaningful to me.
  • The values of this organization are consistent with my values.
  • I understand how my work contributes to the organization’s performance.
  • I am doing the right work for me.

Measure TRUST

  • I trust senior leaders.
  • I trust my supervisor/manager.
  • Senior leaders are honest.
  • Senior leaders are ethical.
  • My supervisor/manager is honest.
  • I am treated with fairness in this organization.
  • I am treated with respect in this organization.
  • We have competent senior leaders.
  • I trust that our leaders will do what’s right for the organization and its employees.
  • I am proud of this organization.

Measure CARING

  • I feel valued and appreciated.
  • This organization feels like family.
  • My supervisor/manager cares about me as a person.
  • I have friends at work.
  • There is good cooperation among my co-workers.
  • I have the materials, equipment and resources I need to do my work right.


  • I know what is expected of me at work.
  • At work, my opinions seem to count.
  • Senior leaders inspire me.
  • I am informed on the strategy and goals of this organization.
  • Information is freely shared.
  • My supervisor/manager takes the time to listen to my concerns.


  • Someone at work encourages my development.
  • My supervisor/manager talks to me about my progress.
  • I get feedback on my performance.
  • I have the opportunity at work to learn and grow.
  • I receive recognition or praise for doing good work.
  • I have challenging work.
  • My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment.
  • I feel appreciated at work.


  • I am given substantial responsibility.
  • I have the freedom to control how I get my work done.
  • I am involved in decision-making that impacts me.
  • I participate in setting my goals.
  • I feel like an owner.

Not all of the drivers questions may need to be asked in the survey. Use guidance from an employee engagement expert in developing the right survey items for your company.

Responses to the drivers of employee engagement questions reveal opportunities to improve employee engagement. Those areas should be included in the Priorities of the organization’s Core Culture.

Learn more about conducting an employee engagement survey, using Sheila Margolis’ support, here.


Posted in: Definition, Drivers, Survey