The 10 Best Employee Happiness Questions

The 10 Best Employee Happiness Questions

No matter what you like to call them in your organisation, employee happiness surveys, or employee engagement surveys – the fact is, they matter to your people and to how you are going to be able to improve your company culture. 

Without a regular survey guiding you on what’s working and what’s not working in your business, you have little insight to make real positive changes. 

If you’re still sitting on the fence about whether to put the time into sending out an employee happiness survey, research by Salesforce discovered that employees who feel their voice is heard in the workplace are four times more likely to feel empowered and do their best work. 

Employee surveys matter – and if you take your company culture seriously, they are the gold dust you need to keep helping you to improve. After all, as I always say, company culture is a journey. 

Aside from just doing an employee survey, it’s also important to get the questions right. Because let’s face it, your team aren’t just going to come right out and tell you what you’re doing wrong! 

Instead, you need to send an anonymous employee survey that helps to tease out the information you need so you can get a really good, honest, picture about how the land lies with your company culture. 

Whether you’re creating your own employee survey, using a Google Form or Survey Monkey, or using a third-party company; what’s important is getting the questions right. So we’ve rounded up the ten must-ask questions to add to your employee survey. 

people pointing at data around a table

Why 10 you say?

If this is your first employee survey, it is best to ease both yourself and your team into the habit. Too many questions and your team won’t answer them, and you’ll be bogged down in so much data you won’t know where to start. You’ll go from zero feedback to one hundred and feel instant overwhelm. Don’t do it to yourself or your team, start small. Besides, if your questions are good enough, like these top ten, then you shouldn’t need to ask many more. 

1) “How engaged are you at work?”

I prefer to focus on the term engagement rather than happiness. Why?

Because, as we all know, happiness is fleeting – it’s not everlasting and doesn’t connect to how driven we feel. We can be happy and completely unmotivated. 

Instead, by focusing on engagement; how focussed, driven, and committed people feel, it enables us to understand how people feel about both their work and the impact of the company culture. 

It is a direct question, and scaling it from 1 – 10 can help you get an idea of where your entire company is currently sitting in terms of engagement. 

2) “Would you refer someone to work here?”

We all know that if you hate your workplace, you’re not going to recommend a friend to come and work there. While this is a very telling question, it enables you to identify how your employer brand sits. 

Your employees are meant to be your biggest brand ambassadors. They are the ones who should believe in your product or service the most and believe in the way you do things. 

If there is a disconnect in this area, you can guarantee there’s a low engagement score, and that you’re probably suffering from not being able to hire easily, and from poor customer reviews. 

These areas are all inexplicably linked – when people hate their jobs it shows! 

3) “Do you have a clear understanding of your career development and learning opportunities?”

A study by Gallup found that employees who have the opportunity to grow their careers are twice as likely to remain at their company.

Further research by Middlesex University found that from a 4,300 workers sample, 74% felt that they weren’t achieving their full potential at work due to lack of development opportunities. 

Learning and development are important and not just to younger, less experienced team members. In a national survey of 400 employees spanning three generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials), 70% of the respondents indicated that job-related training and development opportunities influenced their decision to stay at their job. 

You need to be aware that further learning and development matters to everyone in your company, and a strong culture of self-development in all realms should exist.

4) “Do you feel your work is recognised by your leaders and peers?”

Feeling valued and recognised for the work you do is paramount to your work satisfaction, yet this remains to be a big area that can let companies down. 

You need to know if your team feel like their work is seen and recognised by both leaders and peers. 

Having peer-to-peer recognition programs can be just as important, as these help to build morale, and enable people to feel supported in their teams. In research on employee engagement by ProofHub, over 65% of working professionals said they felt their work was not recognised within the company.

5) “Do you feel your leaders and managers are transparent?”

This question gives people the opportunity to speak up about their leaders or managers without the fear of being shut down. 

As leaders and managers are the biggest influences on company culture, it’s essential people truly believe that they are doing the best they can at being honest and open. 

Transparency breeds trust, and without it, managers and leaders don’t trust their teams, and teams don’t trust their leaders. It can become a vicious cycle. 

By putting this question out there, you’re getting a pretty clear picture of how the land lies with trust in your organisation.  

6) “What three words would you use to describe the company culture?”

Discover what your team think about your company culture with this simple question. 

Words hold a lot of meaning, and even just three words can help you build a picture of how people see the company culture. 

Once you have all these words, it can be useful to put them into a word cloud to see which ones are most common or dominant. You can then use these words to continue improving your company culture or making changes. 

7) “Can you recite the company’s mission and values?”

Research continues to show the people don’t know their company’s mission or values. In fact, the latest study by Rungway found that 52% of workers in the UK don’t know their company’s mission. 

This is a low number considering the number of businesses who have spent time and money creating their organisational vision and values. 

You may think this is unimportant in the grand scheme of things, but it’s actually highly important for strong employee engagement within a company culture.

Being well-educated on the vision and values of the company means your team know why they are doing their work, and have a real understanding of how they’re contributing to the company. 

Essentially, this tells you if everyone is working from the same page. 

8) “What changes would improve your work-life balance?”

Burnout, depression and stress are all leading causes of absence in the UK. 

While work-life balance can often seem like a utopian dream, the fact is many businesses don’t ask their people what could help them gain some balance. 

By providing better benefits and work-life, you can make your team more productive and healthy, leading to a higher engagement rate and a more efficient business. It’s simple math, the happier your people, the better your business. 

Get a real understanding and suggestions from your team, that they may not be willing to say in person. This can often open up a wealth of new ideas to help you improve the company culture. 

9) “Do you feel fulfilled in your current role?”

Fulfilment is different from happy. A sense of fulfilment means we feel challenged and that our work is using the best of our abilities. 

By asking this question, you can get a sense of where people may need more challenges or growth within their role. Or you may be surprised that people no longer like the role they are within. 

Use this insight to identify further learning needs, or role changes so you can make sure the right people are in the right roles. 

10) “Hypothetically, if you were to leave your job tomorrow, what would your reason be?”

It is by far one of the most insightful questions you can ask in an employee survey, but getting to know why someone would leave your company can reveal all sorts of cracks in your company culture you may never have known about. 

From poor communication, lack of transparency, to feeling unvalued. These can all be discovered by asking what would make them leave. 

By identifying these underlying issues, that people may not feel comfortable addressing, you gain a very clear idea of the key areas you need to work on within your company culture as soon as possible. 

For more support on helping improve your company culture, contact me about Company Culture Consultancy, or book my Company Culture Training for your team. 


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    About The Author

    Lizzie Benton is a people and culture specialist who supports organisations in developing a unique company culture and building engaged teams. Lizzie has been recognised as a millennial changing the world of work, and has been featured in the Metro, HuffingtonPost and has spoken across the UK on employee engagement. When not consulting or running a workshop, Lizzie can be found in rural Lincolnshire enjoying afternoon tea and fresh air.