How to design an effective workplace experience survey for employees

Workplace experience surveys give your employees a voice, allowing them to shape their work environment. When you optimize the workplace experience, you raise morale, increase engagement, and improve retention, all of which are crucial to maintaining a successful business. 

There are several best practices for workplace experience surveys that ensure you receive quality feedback. We’ve put together a checklist of eight tips to help you create a positive and effective employee experience survey.

8 tips for designing effective employee surveys

  1. A good survey experience begins with your company culture. Your company culture plays a decisive role in how comfortable your employees feel being honest with their opinions. Honest responses are essential to developing office design and effective workplace strategies. Establish an environment where constructive criticism is valued by all levels of leadership. With that in place, you’ll reduce the effects of social desirability bias, which occurs when respondents give you the answers they think you want to hear.
  2. Allow employees to answer surveys anonymously. Even in the most supportive company culture, employees may still feel uncomfortable being completely honest with their feedback. Giving them the benefit of anonymity will help you collect the most accurate and helpful information.
  3. Be transparent about your goals for the survey. Employees will be more likely to provide thoughtful answers if they know how the survey results will affect them. Emphasize that the workplace experience survey helps your team create a work environment that supports everyone.
  4. Provide free-form areas for additional feedback on questions. Allowing employees to provide context about their answers can provide priceless insights and ideas for your team. Surveys with open response areas require more time to evaluate than straightforward multiple choice answers, but the potential for higher quality data is worth the extra time investment. 
  5. Include definitions to clarify terms. Everyone must be on the same page about what specific terms mean in the survey. Let’s say you asked, “Do you feel that your manager is accessible and supportive?” An employee who reports to both an assistant and senior manager may not know how to answer. You can address this by stating at the start of the survey that all questions about “managers” refer to your most senior manager.
  6. Be transparent about survey results and anticipated changes. Employees will grow tired of putting effort into survey feedback if they don’t see any changes to the status quo. You don’t have to have a concrete plan before informing employees about the direction you’re looking at. Here is an example post-survey script: “Thank you for completing our hybrid work survey. Your thoughtful feedback allowed us to see that we have some work to do in areas of equitable experiences between in-office and remote workers. We are developing new strategies to improve the hybrid experience for all workers and will keep you informed of anticipated changes.”
  7. Avoid survey fatigue by keeping surveys under 10 minutes long. Surveys longer than this often have high dropout rates. Eliminate repetitive questions or ones you can answer with existing organizational data. Also, let people know how long you expect the survey to take. This makes it easier for employees to work the survey into their schedules.
  8. Do surveys more than once a year. Attitudes and opinions can change quickly in the workplace, and it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of the employee experience. Consider conducting workplace experience surveys quarterly or every six months. This will keep your data fresh and allow you to identify trends more quickly than you could with an annual survey.

Example questions for your workplace experience survey

Your survey questions should be tailored to your end goal, so it’s important to nail down the core objective first. Do you want to know how the workplace is performing overall, or are you trying to determine how certain policies are working out? The specific questions you need will depend on your survey goal; however, you can find inspiration for survey questions below.

  • Do you feel like you can be your true self in the workplace?
  • Do you feel that employee well-being is prioritized in the office?
  • Would you recommend our organization as a good place to work?
  • Do you have the technology and equipment you need to work remotely?
  • Are you physically comfortable in the office?
  • Do you feel empowered to reconfigure a workspace to fit your needs?
  • Are you satisfied with the number of conference rooms in the office?
  • Is there any additional information you’d like to share about your workplace experience?
  • Does the hot desking system support your workstation needs?

Use these sample questions and the tips above to help your workplace team create an effective employee survey. The more feedback and data you can collect about the office, the more tailored and successful a workplace you can create.