Last time, we talked about how you should make an employee survey and what ought to be in it.  But I want to ask something of all of you: how do you ask employee survey questions?

It sounds like a non-sensical thing to ask, but really, it isn’t.  When it comes to knowing more about how your employees think, how you ask a question makes all the difference.

The most important element of any employee engagement or employee satisfaction survey is the questions you ask.  All the data that you could possibly gather from your survey is dependent only on that one variable, and it also sets the tone for how your survey will be received by those answering it.

Take, for example, the very common employee survey question: “I trust my boss”.

Normally, this question is followed by a Likert scale, ranking your response from between “Strongly disagree” and “Strongly agree”.  However, this question is very, very broad–so broad, in fact, that a simple tick of an option on a Likert scale couldn’t possibly capture one’s sentiments at the time the survey was answered.

What if, let’s say, you trust your boss on some matters, but not on all matters?  A ‘3’ (“Neutral” on a typical Likert scale) couldn’t possibly cover that, right?  Would you end up giving him/her a ‘4’ (“Agree”) instead, even when you don’t?  Or a ‘2’ (“Disagree”) when the balance tips the other way?

This is why it’s important to ask the right questions, so that you have a strong idea of just how employees feel about things going on in the office.  When you have unclear data, you don’t know whether the information you’ve gotten will help you make the right decisions.  In fact, you’re not even sure whether those changes you want to make are even the right changes to begin with.

Employee surveys are not meant to run on blind faith, and neither are employee survey questions.  Rather, those questions are supposed to guide you to an outcome that actually makes a meaningful change in our workplace, so that they benefit everyone.  What would be the point of a survey if the data isn’t clear, right?

So, when you make a question, always make sure that clarity is at the top of your list.  Not only will you be able to confidently make decisions out of it, but you’ll also be able to really know just what’s going on in even the deepest depths of your workplace.