Conducting Employee Surveys [2024 Guide]

The dynamics of the workplace are constantly shifting. Therefore, the need to understand and respond to the needs of employees has never been more critical. 

Employee surveys serve as invaluable tools for organizations to gain insights into the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of their workforce. 

In this comprehensive guide, our employee survey company delves into the best practices, types, processes, and benefits surrounding employee satisfaction surveys.

Whether you're a seasoned HR professional looking to refine your survey approach or a business leader seeking actionable insights to enhance employee satisfaction and retention, this guide is your roadmap to navigating the complexities of measuring employee feedback. 

Article Contents 

What Are Employee Surveys?

Employee surveys are tools used by organizations to gather feedback from their employees on various aspects of their work environment, job satisfaction, company culture, and organizational effectiveness. 

Other common terms used to describe these surveys are employee feedback surveys, employee satisfaction surveys, and employee opinion surveys.

Most commonly, employee surveys commonly consist of a series of questions designed to assess and measure employee opinions about their job, their managers, coworkers, the company's policies, work conditions, and other relevant topics.

Types Of Employee Surveys

Employee surveys can take various forms.

Depending on your objectives and goals, you may decide to focus on specific aspects of the employee experience or a more comprehensive approach that touches on many different categories. 

The most common types of employee surveys include:

  • Employee satisfaction surveys
  • Employee engagement surveys
  • Employee pulse surveys
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) surveys
  • Employee retention surveys
  • Employee benefits surveys
  • Employee exit surveys

Let’s dive into each of the surveys a bit more.

employee survey types

Employee Satisfaction Surveys

Conducting employee satisfaction surveys demonstrates a commitment to employee well-being and organizational improvement, leading to a more positive work environment and better business outcomes.

That’s because these surveys assess overall satisfaction levels among employees regarding various aspects of their jobs, work environment, and company policies.

It is the best way for organizations to measure employee happiness, identify areas of improvement, and enhance retention. 

With the results of employee satisfaction surveys, leadership teams can gain insights into the specific factors influencing employee satisfaction, allowing the organization to make targeted improvements to increase morale and productivity.

Employee Engagement Surveys

Employee engagement surveys measure the level of emotional commitment and involvement employees have toward their work and the organization. 

From our experience, businesses want to conduct engagement surveys with us because they want to understand how connected employees feel to their roles and the company's mission, as engaged employees tend to be more motivated, productive, and loyal. 

The advantage of doing so is in identifying drivers of engagement and implementing strategies to foster a more engaged workforce, leading to improved performance and retention.

Employee Pulse Surveys

According to research by Qualtrics, 77% of employees want to provide feedback more frequently than once a year – and employee pulse surveys are the best way to do just that. 

These surveys are short, frequent surveys designed to quickly gather feedback on specific topics or issues in real-time.

This makes them a great option for organizations that want to stay informed about employee sentiments, monitor changes, and address emerging issues promptly. 

The benefit is in maintaining open lines of communication, swiftly responding to employee concerns, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement and agility within the organization.

Employee pulse survey statistic

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Surveys

Appropriately named, these surveys assess employees' perceptions of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workplace. 

Organizations conduct these surveys to evaluate the effectiveness of their diversity and inclusion initiatives, identify barriers or biases, and promote a more inclusive culture. 

The benefit lies in creating a more diverse and equitable workplace where all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents.

Employee Retention Surveys

Companies everywhere struggle with employee turnover. In fact, studies show that more than 50% of all organizations globally have difficulty retaining some of their most valued employee groups.

If increasing employee retention is a goal of your organization, employee surveys are a great place to start.

More specifically, employee retention surveys aim to understand the factors influencing employees' decisions to stay or leave the organization. 

Employee retention statistic

Companies conduct these surveys to identify drivers of retention, such as career development opportunities, work-life balance, and job satisfaction. 

The benefit of conducting employee retention surveys is proactively addressing retention issues, implementing strategies to retain top talent, and reducing turnover costs while maintaining a stable and engaged workforce.

Employee Benefits Surveys

From our experience, one of the most common factors tied to low employee satisfaction is regarding their pay and benefits. 

Therefore, some organizations choose to conduct employee benefits surveys to specifically assess employees’ satisfaction with the organization's benefits package, including health insurance, retirement plans, vacation policies, and other perks. 

The value in optimizing your benefits package is to better attract and retain talent, enhance employee well-being, and remain competitive in the labor market.

Employee Exit Surveys

Employee exit surveys are conducted when staff members leave the organization to gather feedback on their reasons for departure and their overall experience with the company. 

Organizations use exit surveys to identify patterns and trends in turnover, pinpoint areas for improvement, and make changes to reduce future turnover. 

The benefit is in gaining valuable insights into the drivers of employee attrition, informing retention strategies, and enhancing the employee experience to retain top talent.

Recommended Reading: Why Employees Look for a New Job (And How to Prevent It)

Why Employee Surveys Are Important

There are countless benefits to conducting employee surveys, making them an important tool for any organization big or small.

With employees becoming more and more disengaged, many companies are turning to employee surveys to get ahead of issues before they become worse. 

In fact, 64% of employees say their workplace has an employee feedback program. 

If you are not a part of the majority, perhaps the following reasons will entice you to take the next steps in contacting an employee survey company.

employee feedback program stat

Employee surveys are important for the following reasons: 

  • Measure employee satisfaction and engagement: By collecting feedback from employees, organizations can gauge how satisfied and engaged their workforce is. This information helps identify areas of strength and areas needing improvement.

  • Identify areas for improvement: Employee surveys highlight specific areas where the organization can make changes to enhance employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall performance.

  • Address concerns and issues: Surveys provide a platform for employees to voice their concerns and bring attention to any issues they may be facing in the workplace.

  • Enhance communication: Surveys can improve communication between employees and management by providing a structured way for employees to share their thoughts and opinions.

  • Inform decision-making: The data collected from employee surveys can inform strategic decision-making processes within the organization, guiding leadership in creating policies and initiatives that better meet the needs of their workforce.

What Employee Surveys Measure

These surveys are designed to gauge various aspects of the employee experience within an organization. 

Employee surveys typically measure factors such as:

  • Job satisfaction
  • Engagement levels
  • Organizational culture
  • Communication effectiveness
  • Leadership effectiveness
  • Workload management
  • Opportunities for growth and development
  • Work-life balance
  • Overall employee well-being

Additionally, employee surveys provide valuable insights into employee perceptions, attitudes, and sentiments, helping organizations identify areas of strength and areas for improvement in their workplace environment and practices. 

By collecting feedback directly from employees, organizations can make data-driven decisions to enhance employee engagement, productivity, retention, and ultimately, organizational success.

Employee Survey Companies & Tools

If you’ve already decided conducting an employee survey is right for your business, the next choice to make is running the questionnaire in-house with survey tools or outsourcing the project to a third party. 

Before making that choice, consider the following…

Conducting the employee survey in-house: 

  • ✅ You will have full control over the survey process, including design, distribution, and analysis. 
  • ✅ There are also potentially lower costs since you're utilizing existing resources and expertise within the organization. 
  • ❌ Internal staff may lack expertise in survey design and analysis compared to specialized external firms. 
  • ❌ Employees might feel less comfortable providing honest feedback if they perceive a lack of anonymity or fear repercussions.

Outsourcing the employee survey:

  • ✅ External firms often bring specialized expertise in survey design, administration, and analysis, ensuring higher-quality results.
  • ✅ External firms can provide an unbiased perspective, reducing the risk of internal bias.
  • ✅ External firms may offer benchmarking data against industry standards, providing valuable context for interpreting survey results.
  • ❌ Outsourcing surveys can be more expensive upfront due to fees charged by external firms.
  • ❌ You have less control over the survey process and may need to rely on the expertise and timelines of the external firm.

Ultimately, the decision between conducting an employee survey in-house or outsourcing depends on factors such as budget, available expertise, time constraints, and the specific needs and culture of the organization.

Outsource vs DIY market research

Below, we share some great employee survey companies and tools to contact depending on your choice to use an in-house or outsourced team.

Drive Research - For Full-Service Employee Surveys

Drive Research offers comprehensive employee survey services backed by over 80 years of experience, catering to organizations of all sizes, from SMBs to Fortune 500 companies.

Their approach emphasizes confidentiality, ensuring employees can share honest feedback without fear of retaliation, thus yielding more accurate results. 

By utilizing best-practice language in email invitations and employing personalized reminder strategies, Drive Research achieves higher survey response rates compared to DIY platforms. 

Additionally, Drive Research serves as more than just data collectors; their dedicated project teams provide data-driven recommendations and strategies to enhance employee retention and engagement. 

For organizations with varying HR budgets, Drive Research offers a turn-key, low-cost Voice of Employee survey solution, providing live results and actionable data to improve employee satisfaction and loyalty.

Survey your employees with the help of a third party for honest, actionable feedback

Request A Quote From Drive Research


Lattice - For DIY Employee Surveys

Lattice stands out as a top low-cost option for employee surveys, offering a comprehensive suite of tools that encompass both performance metrics and engagement data.

Users benefit from a holistic view of their progress, empowering them to track their development firsthand. 

The platform facilitates collaboration between management and employees by providing actionable suggestions derived from employee feedback, ensuring that organizations are equipped to address concerns proactively. 

Additionally, Lattice boasts an impressive project management tool, featuring 1:1 meetings, ongoing feedback channels, and a public praise feature, fostering a culture of recognition and support within the organization.

Officevibe - For DIY Employee Surveys

Officevibe offers custom employee surveys designed specifically for the workplace, prioritizing maximum identity protection to ensure honest and accurate insights. 

These surveys seamlessly integrate into the flow of work, allowing for easy distribution via platforms like Slack, Teams, or email. With interactive and engaging formats and automated reminders, Officevibe ensures maximum participation. 

Their survey experience doesn't end with submission; open-ended responses feed into anonymous messaging for ongoing engagement.

Additionally, Officevibe encourages continuous improvement by facilitating follow-up discussions based on survey results, fostering a culture of action and dialogue within organizations.

How To Survey Employees

Employee surveys can take various forms, including online questionnaires, paper-based surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one phone interviews

Though, most commonly, our clients choose to conduct online email surveys because they are cost-effective and provide quality and timely results. 

In this section, we’ll walk you through the process our employee survey company follows when collecting feedback from our client’s staff members.

While you don’t have to work with a third party to conduct these surveys, we do recommend following many of these steps to gather the best data possible.

For more detailed directions, I recommend reading our blog post, Surveying Employees: 8 Steps to Improving Job Satisfaction.

Online survey process

1. Contact a Third-Party Vendor 🤝

Begin by reaching out to an employee survey company such as Drive Research. A prompt response is expected, usually within a few hours, along with additional information to initiate the process. 

For more intricate surveys or guidance on available options, a 30-minute discovery call is scheduled with the market research team to discuss objectives, employee base size, methodology options, and other essential criteria necessary for proposal development.

2. Proposal Development 💍

Following the initial contact and discovery call, the market research firm crafts a custom proposal tailored to address your specific needs, incorporating feedback gathered during discussions.

This comprehensive document outlines the project from inception to completion, encompassing an all-inclusive fee, timeline, and deliverables.

3. Kickoff Meeting 🏈

Upon selection of the employee survey firm, a 30-to-60-minute kickoff meeting is scheduled. 

An agenda is provided beforehand to guide the discussion, focusing primarily on survey topics, customization needs, and recommendations for pertinent questions tailored to your organization or industry. 

We recommend only involving a small team of key stakeholders (2 to 3) to ensure a focused and productive discussion.

4. Workplan Development ⚒️

Within 24 hours after the kickoff meeting, a detailed workplan is exchanged. This document highlights key tasks, deliverables, and deadlines, ensuring alignment between both teams and facilitating project progress.

5. Survey Drafting 📝

The crux of the employee survey process lies in crafting a robust survey draft, wherein the right questions are crucial for addressing objectives effectively. 

A third-party market research company's expertise proves invaluable here, considering various factors such as question order, wording, bias, and potential results. 

Feedback from your team is encouraged and incorporated to refine the survey draft, optimizing its effectiveness.

6. Exchange of Employee Database 🗄️

Simultaneously, preparations are made for the survey launch, such as exchanging the employee database.

This typically involves your company providing an Excel file or CSV containing relevant employee information (names, emails, job titles, etc.), which can enrich survey analysis and eliminate redundancy in questioning.

7. Survey Programming 🖥️

Upon finalization of the survey draft, it is programmed into an online format, ensuring compatibility across various devices.

For mail surveys, a formal Word document or booklet format is adopted. Additionally, provisions are made for online survey links within paper versions for tech-savvy respondents.

8. Pre-Notice 📧

Ahead of the survey launch, we recommend sending a pre-email notice to staff members so they know to expect an email survey invitation from Drive Research.

This is also a good opportunity to tell employees why you’re conducting this survey and what you hope to achieve.

Here is an example pre-email notice we have used in the past.

Subject Line: Upcoming Employee Survey for [Example Company]

[Example Company] is working with Drive Research to survey our employees. The purpose of this initiative is to better understand and measure employee satisfaction and engagement. 

As part of this effort, we have partnered with an independent market research company to conduct this important employee survey. Next week, the market research company will send you a short online survey via email to request your feedback.

Your feedback will help us understand the [Example Company] employee experience as well as where it performs well and where it can improve.

We truly want to hear from everyone, and it is important to know your responses will remain confidential with Drive Research. At no time will your personal information be tied to survey responses. 

I want to thank you in advance for your participation in this upcoming survey. The invitation will come from Drive Research at [insert sender email address] with the subject line, “Employee Survey: We Need Your Feedback on [Example Company]”.


9. Testing 🧪

Thorough testing is conducted by the research team to ensure survey accuracy and functionality, addressing aspects such as grammar, context, comprehension, and skip patterns.

We also seek client feedback to further refine the survey, ensuring a seamless respondent experience.

10. Invitations and Reminders 📨

With testing complete, the survey is ready for launch, accompanied by initial email invitations and subsequent reminders to boost employee survey response rates.

We recommend leaving the survey open for at least two weeks to account for any employees who are out of the office at the time the survey was first sent.

As the survey is in the field, clients will receive a live reporting dashboard to see employee responses in real time.

Use our interactive link to see how the client portal works 

Employee survey portal

11. Analysis and Reporting 📊

Once response goals are met or exhausted, fieldwork is formally closed, signaling the end of the survey data collection phase.

The collected data undergoes comprehensive analysis, yielding key insights, feedback, and recommendations. 

Various reporting options are available, ranging from online dashboards to comprehensive reports, providing actionable insights tailored to organizational needs.

12. Debrief 🗣️

A follow-up debriefing session is conducted to present the survey findings, methodology, key insights, recommendations, and next steps to the client team. This collaborative session ensures clarity and facilitates strategic decision-making based on survey outcomes.

13. Gratitude Gesture 🙏

Finally, post-project completion, we recommend expressing gratitude via a thank-you note or email to all employees. This reinforces the organization's commitment to valuing employee feedback and encourages continued engagement in future initiatives.

Employee Survey Best Practices

By following common employee survey best practices, organizations can maximize the effectiveness of employee surveys in driving positive change, enhancing employee engagement, and fostering a culture of openness and transparency.

Here are some things our employee survey company considers when executing these surveys for our clients:

  • Purpose Clarity: Clearly define the purpose of the survey. Whether it's to gather feedback on a recent change, assess overall satisfaction, or identify areas for improvement, make sure employees understand why they are being surveyed.

  • Anonymity and Confidentiality: Ensure anonymity and confidentiality to encourage honest feedback. Assure employees that their responses will not be traced back to them individually. The best way to do this is by using a third party for employee surveys.

  • Frequency: Avoid survey fatigue by not over-surveying employees. Determine a reasonable frequency for surveys, considering the pace of change within the organization and the need for feedback. Our market research company recommends surveying employees 2-4 times a year.

  • Use of Multiple-Choice and Open-Ended Questions: Use a mix of multiple-choice questions for quantitative data and open-ended questions for qualitative insights. This combination allows for both structured data analysis and a deeper understanding of employees' thoughts and feelings.

Open vs closed ended questions

  • Communication and Transparency: Clearly communicate the purpose, timeline, and expected outcomes of the survey to employees. Be transparent about how the feedback will be used and share the results along with any action plans resulting from the survey.

  • Action Planning and Follow-Up: Act on the feedback received by developing action plans to address areas of concern and capitalize on strengths. Follow up with employees to communicate progress on action items and demonstrate that their feedback is valued.

  • Continuous Improvement: Use survey results as a basis for continuous improvement efforts. Regularly revisit survey data, track progress over time, and make adjustments to policies, practices, and initiatives based on evolving employee needs and preferences.

Employee Survey Question Examples

With a simple Google search, you are presented with hundreds of articles sharing example employee survey questions. Many of these questions are great to include in your survey as they are considered the industry standard. 

However, we always recommend including custom-written survey questions – whether that be done with a professional employee survey company like Drive Research or in-house.

Every organization is unique, with its own culture, challenges, and objectives.

Custom questions ensure that the survey addresses specific issues and concerns relevant to your company, making the feedback gathered more actionable.

In the meantime, here are example employee survey questions covering various aspects of the work environment:

  1. How satisfied are you with your current role and responsibilities?
  2. Do you feel that your work contributes meaningfully to the organization's goals?
  3. How would you rate the level of communication within your team?
  4. Are you satisfied with the opportunities for career growth and advancement provided by the company?
  5. Do you feel valued and recognized for your contributions?
  6. How would you rate the work-life balance in your current role?
  7. Are you provided with adequate resources and tools to perform your job effectively?
  8. Do you feel that your opinions and ideas are listened to and considered by management?
  9. How satisfied are you with the level of support and feedback you receive from your supervisor?
  10. Are you satisfied with the overall company culture and values?
  11. How well does the company support diversity and inclusion?
  12. Are you satisfied with the benefits and perks offered by the company?
  13. How would you rate the level of teamwork and collaboration within your department?
  14. Are you given opportunities for training and professional development?
  15. How likely are you to recommend this company as a great place to work to friends or acquaintances?

These questions can help gauge employee satisfaction, engagement, and areas where improvements may be needed within the organization.

Survey your employees with the help of a third party for honest, actionable feedback

Request A Quote From Drive Research


Using Employee Survey Results

Let's consider an example scenario to best showcase how organizations can leverage employee survey results.

Imagine a company, ABC Industries, notices a decrease in productivity and an increase in employee turnover over the past few months.

Concerned about these trends, the company decided to conduct an employee survey to gather feedback and identify potential issues causing dissatisfaction among employees.

After analyzing the employee survey results, ABC Industries discovers several key insights:

  • Low morale due to lack of recognition: Many employees feel undervalued and unappreciated for their contributions to the company. They express a desire for more recognition and acknowledgment of their hard work.

  • Communication breakdown with management: Employees report feeling disconnected from upper management, with limited opportunities for meaningful communication. They desire more transparency and open dialogue with leadership regarding company goals, changes, and decisions.

  • Concerns about workload and work-life balance: A significant portion of employees feel overwhelmed by their workload, leading to stress and burnout. They highlight the need for better workload management and support to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Armed with these insights, ABC Industries takes actionable steps to address the issues identified:

  • Implement an employee recognition program: The company introduces initiatives to celebrate employee achievements and milestones, such as Employee of the Month awards, team recognitions, and personalized thank-you notes from managers.

  • Enhance communication channels: The company introduces initiatives to celebrate employee achievements and milestones, such as Employee of the Month awards, team recognitions, and personalized thank-you notes from managers.

  • Offer flexible work arrangements: The company introduces flexible work hours, remote work options, and additional support resources (such as employee assistance programs) to help employees manage their workload and achieve a better work-life balance.

As a result of these initiatives, ABC Industries observes improvements in employee morale, engagement, and productivity. The company also sees a reduction in employee turnover, as employees feel more valued, heard, and supported in their roles.

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Employee Surveys

What should an employee survey include?

An effective employee survey should encompass various aspects of the work experience, including job satisfaction, communication, leadership, and opportunities for development, to provide comprehensive insights into the workforce's perceptions and needs.

Are employee surveys a good idea?

While employee surveys can offer valuable insights and opportunities for organizational improvement, their effectiveness depends on factors like survey design, confidentiality assurances, transparent communication about results, and proactive follow-up actions to address issues raised.

How do you create an employee survey?

Creating an employee survey involves careful planning, starting with clearly defined objectives, selecting appropriate survey methods (such as online questionnaires or in-person interviews), crafting well-worded and relevant questions, ensuring anonymity to encourage honest responses, and finally, analyzing the data to extract meaningful insights for actionable steps.

What is the purpose of the employee survey?

The primary purpose of an employee survey is to gauge the overall satisfaction and engagement levels of employees, identify areas of strength and improvement within the organization, foster open communication and trust between management and employees, and ultimately, drive positive changes to enhance the workplace environment and productivity.

Contact Our Employee Survey Company

Drive Research is a full-service market research company specializing in employee surveys. 

An employee survey project with our team includes custom-written surveys based on your team’s objectives, professional survey programming, 100% anonymous survey invitations and reminders, thorough data cleaning and analysis, and expert recommendations based on the survey results.

We partner with B2B and B2C organizations to deliver impactful results that lead to real organizational changes for happier employees.

To learn more about our employee survey services, contact Drive Research today. Simply fill out the form below or send an email to [email protected]

emily carroll about the author

Emily Rodgers

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.


Employee Surveys