9 Questions That Should Be in Every Employee Engagement Survey

It’s especially important to take a pulse of employee engagement during times of disruption. If you survey employees, here are nine key questions to ask.

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended workforces and workplaces, creating lasting change in trends that directly impact employees’ engagement and productivity. If you’re using an employee engagement survey to gauge that impact, make sure to focus on key performance drivers and ask questions that will truly surface whether employees feel motivated to put energy and effort into their work.

It’s especially important to make sure employees don’t become disengaged or frustrated as they adjust

It’s tempting to rely on sentiment-based questions like “Do you receive enough recognition?” or “Does your manager care about you as a person?” Such questions are common on the formal annual or bi-annual surveys that organizations use to measure employee engagement — and the responses will reveal some of what employees feel about their jobs and workplace. 

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But these questions aren’t very effective at surfacing whether employees still remain engaged and productive through a disruption or feel motivated to exert discretionary effort. 

“During disruption, it’s especially important to make sure employees don’t become disengaged or frustrated as they adjust, for instance, to a new remote work environment or new business priorities,” says Caroline Walsh, Vice President, Gartner. “But there are still clearly identifiable drivers of employee engagement and performance that you need to watch.”

Test 3 drivers of engagement and performance

Organizations should ensure that the following three drivers of employee engagement are tested in their surveys:

No. 1: Organizational trust

The extent to which employees trust their organizations is a great barometer to measure employee engagement and productivity levels. Employees who have high levels of organizational trust are shown to have high engagement levels as well.

Survey questions should help you understand whether or not employees believe that your organization values people and will do all it can to ensure employee well-being. These questions will also help you gauge whether or not your communication strategy effectively articulates your organizational values.

No. 2: Commitment to coworkers

Employees should be able to collaborate with one another effectively, even as they endure high levels of disruption in both their work and home environments. Survey questions can help you understand whether your employees are continuing to actively collaborate with their team members (helping them complete their best work) and whether they and the team they work with value each other’s support.

No. 3: The right capabilities

Capability — which consists of an employee’s comprehension, agility, network, direction and expectations — is especially important to measure during periods of significant change. Survey questions should determine whether your employees are aware of and can tap into the tools, information and people that can help them navigate changes arising out of disruptions.

9 key employee engagement survey questions

Ask these nine questions to uncover the kind of meaningful engagement that can improve employee performance during times of disruption:

  1. Do you believe the organization has your best interests in mind when making business decisions?
  2. Are you satisfied with the way your organization has managed both its business and people during this time?
  3. Has your organization maintained adequate communication with all of its employees?
  4. Have you continued to collaborate with your team during this time?
  5. Does your team inspire you to do your best work?
  6. Does your team help you to complete your work?
  7. Do you have the appropriate amount of information to make correct decisions about your work?
  8. When something unexpected comes up in your work, do you usually know whom to ask for help?
  9. Do you have a good understanding of your organization’s informal structures and processes?

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This article has been updated from the 2018 original, refreshed in 2020 and 2019, to reflect new events, conditions and research.

This article is based on insights that are part of an in-depth collection of research, tools, templates and advice available to Gartner clients.


Gartner for HR clients can read 9 Questions to Measure Employee Engagement During Disruptions and A Generational Analysis of the Well-Being Programs Driving Employee Engagement and access the Employee Engagement Benchmarking tool.

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