5 Open-Ended Questions You Should be Asking in Your Employee Engagement Surveys

Strike deep conversations with these open-ended employee engagement survey questions that get down to the bottom of what's going on with your employees.

Feedback & Surveys
10 Min read
November 26, 2020

Employee engagement is essential as it plays a huge role in the growth and progress of an organization. You must maintain a work environment that fosters a space in which employees are willing to be involved and enthusiastic about their work. If your employees are happy, motivated, and enthusiastic, they are more likely to deliver their best performance. After all, studies have shown that happier employees are up to 12% more productive.  At the end of the day, this benefits your company significantly. So, making sure that your employee engagement is high will not only impact the company's success. But, it will contribute to employee satisfaction and well-being as well. Employee engagement surveys are a great way to measure just how engaged your employees are and how they feel about the work environment. By conducting them, you can ensure that you get the best out of your employees.

What is an Employee Engagement Survey?

An employee engagement survey is a way to measure many different components that contribute to:

  • Employee motivation
  • Performance
  • Satisfaction
  • And retention

Using surveys, you can learn your employees’ thoughts and attitudes towards their work and the workspace. They generally include a list of different types of open-ended employee engagement survey questions (more on this later) to get feedback from employees. This feedback can include how happy they are at work, what they like and dislike if they feel overwhelmed, what they would want to change in the office, etc.

The Importance Of Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement surveys provide a space in which employees can communicate any concerns or issues they have. It isn’t always possible, especially in larger workspaces, to individually interact with their employers. In these cases, it’s easy for any concerns to go unnoticed as there is no space in which clear communication can occur. Surveys are a great way to identify and solve any issues that your employees might have. By putting in the effort and using your employees' feedback, you can work to improve things in the workspace to make them feel happier. This will make your employees feel heard, appreciated, and included - which are key factors in job satisfaction.

According to Bain & Company, employees who feel heard and more engaged are 44% more productive than employees who are not. This goes to show how important it is to take employee engagement seriously! Employee engagement surveys are a quick yet effective method of improving employee satisfaction. By conducting them and making improvements based on them, you can boost your business's productivity and success.

Open vs. Closed-Ended Questions

Closed-ended questions

Closed-ended questions are usually questions in which respondents select from a specific set of responses. For example, questions with only ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. This could also include questions that have a specific set of multiple choice answers. Closed-ended questions are advantageous when you need to survey on a large scale. This is because they tend to take less time to answer. Another advantage of closed-ended questions is that they are not complicated. Participants can easily understand what is being asked and select the most relevant answer. These questions are great for gaining general insights but don’t allow participants to give more in-depth answers and thoughts.

Open-ended questions

Open-ended questions do not have straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. These questions require participants to elaborate and explain their answers. Open-ended questions are usually used so that respondents can describe their answers, feedback, and to put across their feelings and/or concerns. They provide freedom for participants to answer; however, they want to, instead of restricting their answers. Although closed-ended questions have plenty of advantages, such as being time-efficient and easy to go through, they are also very limiting as respondents can only select from a set of answers.

Because of this, it’s better to use open-ended engagement questions for employee engagement surveys. They allow your employees to elaborate and articulate their thoughts and opinions better. Since you must be clear about open-ended questions vs. closed-ended questions, keep in mind that employee engagement surveys need to incorporate both close-ended and open-ended types of questions. Doing so ensures that you get an all-round measurement regarding your employee engagement.

Include These 5 Open-Ended Questions In Your Employee Engagement Surveys

To gain some better insight into how your company can do better and improve employee satisfaction, here are 5 open-ended questions examples you can include in your employee engagement survey.

1. In what ways can the company make things better?

This question is essential because it allows employers to see what employees aren’t quite happy with within the company. It gives insight into the areas that need improvement so that the workspace is better for them. It is vital to create a workspace where your employees feel that you think about their happiness, comfort, motivation, and fulfillment. With the answers to this question, you can improve the workspace, thereby improving work performance.

2. In what ways does your manager/employer recognize the work you do for the company?

This question is purely about recognition and whether or not your employee feels recognized. Do they feel like they are being rewarded for their work? It is essential that your employees feel like their hard work does not go unnoticed. Otherwise, you risk your employees becoming utterly unmotivated and, therefore, unproductive. We all know that recognizing and rewarding your work is the best and most fulfilling feeling at the workspace. It can improve your employee retention as companies with good employee recognition programs see a 31% lower voluntary turnover rate! So, this question allows you to see where you’re going right or wrong with regard to recognition and rewarding your employees’ hard work.

3. What three words or phrases best describes the communication within your team?

This question is important as it is an exploration of team collaboration and dynamics. Collaboration and effective communication between a team and employees and employers are essential in fostering a productive and motivated work environment. Communication is a vital driver of engagement and a key factor in productivity, motivation, and employee retention. This question is great because it allows you to see what your employees think of the communication systems you have put in place. They can also give you an idea of how to improve those communication systems. Poor communication is frustrating and is a driving factor in high employee turnover. So, it would be best if you fostered good communication and engagement to avoid that.

4. In what ways does the company make you feel valued?

It is crucial that your employees feel valued and appreciated. If your employees feel valued, they are more likely to be loyal to the company - even if there are some things about the company that isn’t perfect. This is how you also decrease employee turnover. If employees feel valued and appreciated, this could lead to heightened job satisfaction and performance improvement. So, this question is one of the best ways to find out whether your employees are feeling valued or not. After seeing what your employees say, you can implement the appropriate changes so that your employees know you appreciate them. Even a simple ‘thank you’ goes a long way in employee satisfaction. Studies indicate that 85% of employees would be happy with that simple gesture of appreciation.

5. What type of feedback do you receive from your management team?

Receiving useful and productive feedback is important to your employees’ development in the company. In fact, it is quite frankly one of the best things employers can provide. Feedback is beneficial because it helps employees learn from their errors and build confidence. Constructive feedback also clarifies any expectations so that your employees’ aren’t confused about what they need to do. This question is essential because you give the space for employees to reflect on the feedback they receive and whether it is beneficial to them or not. By doing this, you can see if employees aren’t getting helpful feedback. Or, maybe your employees find that the feedback they get is too infrequent or even too harsh. Knowing these insights will help you improve your feedback methods so that your employees can grow and develop their skills better.


Employee engagement surveys are an essential part of maintaining productivity and happiness in your workspace. But, employee engagement surveys only work best if you ask the right questions. Use the open-ended employee engagement survey questions above to show your employees that you are dedicated to creating a space that caters to their happiness and productivity.

With Empuls by Xoxoday, you can easily conduct engagement surveys. You can use ready-made survey templates or customize them to your liking with your own questions. This way, all your employee surveys will be stored in a central place where you can easily access them and measure engagement over time. It also makes calculating the results a piece of cake, so you can start making improvements in no time! Want to explore more? Book a demo or start a free trial!

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