Employee Engagement surveys have become a backbone to understanding and maintaining the mental and emotional health of an organization. They are an excellent way to begin the journey of creating the employee experience that will finally boost those low engagement scores.

One of the trickiest parts about these surveys is asking the right questions. There is a whole field of psychology that goes into making sure the questions are asked in such a way as to illicit the most honest answer from the respondent while minimizing participation bias.

When forming questions for internal employee engagement surveys, companies must understand the goal of such surveys before even beginning to attempt to piece together questions. In almost every case, the goal of these surveys is to determine what the employer needs to do in order to help facilitate a more engaged workforce.

It is certainly important to ask questions about respect, safety and belongingness, but what types of questions should we avoid when sending out these surveys to our employees?

In a recent podcast, Mary Faulkner, author of Surviving Leadership Blog, brings up the most important question to avoid on employee engagement surveys.

She says that companies must absolutely stop asking questions about things they are completely unwilling (or unable) to change.

All too often organizations populate employee engagement/satisfaction surveys with questions about aspects of the company or its policies with the intention of trying to sense how employees feel about those issues. When there is no chance for a change to those issues, these organizations are doing more harm than good. When we ask employees their opinion about something we don’t intend to change – we disrespect the employees time and opinion. To listen to the rest of the episode feel free to find us at Forging Employee Experience. To stay in contact with Mary, connect with her on LinkedIn and be sure to subscribe to her blog!

Everyone wants to feel heard. Everyone wants to feel like their opinion matters. Certainly, the employee engagement survey is great way to start facilitating that process; however, we have to be committed to driving change. Organizational change is the purpose of employee engagement surveys.

If organizations are unwilling or unable to change based off the results of their surveys, then they would have been better off never asking in the first place.