How to craft a team survey that will help you lead with purpose

Employee engagement surveys are a great way to benchmark exactly what your team needs to both stick around and thrive at work. But you have to put some thought into it to get the results you’re looking for. 

Ask powerful questions, use the right tools, and be thoughtful in your approach to develop a survey — and survey process — that helps you lead with purpose.

Set the right goal for your team surveys

To get a real pulse check on your team, you should know exactly what you’re trying to uncover. Focusing on a theme will help you focus your questions and get the most actionable feedback. 

Lay out your expectations and define the purpose. For example, you might want to find ways to improve engagement, retention, and communication. You could also use the survey results to determine how to fix a negative culture or increase the overall happiness of your team. 

An easy way to outline your goal is to make sure it’s SMART: 

  • Specific 
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound 

Craft your survey questions with care 

Once your goal is set, consider which questions will prompt the most valuable feedback. 

They should be short and straightforward, and it’s helpful to use a scaling system — framing questions as statements that employees can agree (or disagree) with on a scale of 1-5.


You can also mix in a few open-ended questions where it might be helpful to have a little more explanation. 

Most importantly, the questionnaire should be completely anonymous so employees feel comfortable giving their most honest opinion. 

Whatever your theme, hit on the following 7 points to get the best read on team satisfaction. 

Work environment 

A positive business culture is highly important to today’s employees, with a negative culture often being the reason team members leave their jobs

Example statements/questions: 

  • I would recommend my organization as a great place to work.
  • I look forward to going to work. 
  • I am treated with respect and fairness.
  • I feel we have enough peer-to-peer interaction.
  • What other resources would make your work-life easier? 

Communication 

Communication is key to any successful business and must always be kept in check. Ask questions that uncover and measure the effectiveness of your current strategy. 

Example statements/questions:

  • I get information that’s critical to my role when I need it. 
  • My opinions and thoughts are valued. 
  • Communication between senior management and employees is good in my organization.
  • I feel that the business always tells the truth. 
  • How do you typically get information about the business?

Leadership  

We learned from a recent survey that employees value quality leadership most — even over a bigger paycheck. So it’s  important to keep a pulse on how worker/manager relationships are going. 

Example statements/questions:

  • My manager and I have a good relationship.
  • I get relevant, frequent, and constructive feedback from my manager.
  • My manager cares about me and values my opinion.
  • My leaders have communicated a vision and goals that motivates me.
  • Have you ever been discriminated against by leadership? 

Compensation and benefits 

With the ongoing labor shortage, businesses everywhere are boosting wages and benefits packages to attract jobseekers. So, it’s wise to check that your team is happy with what they’re earning. 

Example statements/questions: 

  • I believe I am paid fairly for my role.
    I have a clear overview of the benefits package offered by the company.
  • I am satisfied with the current benefits package. 
  • My current benefits can compete with those offered by other businesses. 
  • What other benefits would you value? 

Recognition 

Recognition for a job well done motivates employees to succeed in their roles and makes them happier at work. 

Example statements/questions:

  • Leadership encourages employees to give recognition to one another.
  • Recognition is given frequently. 
  • I know that if I do a great job, I will be recognized. 
  • I am happy with the recognition process and the rewards given. 
  • I feel valued and appreciated. 

Personal and professional development

Employees value the chance to grow their careers, and opportunities to develop both personally and professionally are key to keeping your team members around. Specific questions around career development and training programs should drive responses such as:

  • I am satisfied with my professional growth opportunities. 
  • My organization offers quality job-related training 
  • I feel that I have improved due to the training provided. 
  • I’m happy with my opportunities to apply my talents. 
  • What other training courses would you like to receive? 

Know what NOT to ask

First things first, avoid asking any questions that could lead the employee to believe the survey isn’t as anonymous as you say it is. If you want to include demographic questions about age, race, or gender that could give insights on group concerns or trends, make them voluntary. 

Limit “nice-to-know” questions that won’t give you actionable answers or questions that are too open-ended or vague. For example, don’t ask the employee what changes they would make to the business in general. Frame it more specifically in terms of your goal with a question like, “how would you like to see our communication strategy improve?” 

Pick the right platform 

You do have the option of paying a service like Culture Amp or Workday.But if you’d like to save some cash (who wouldn’t?), there are plenty of free or cheap solutions: 

  • SurveyMonkey: Their free option allows you to conduct unlimited surveys with up to 10 questions a piece and 40 responses.
  • Google Forms: A free, basic tool that gives you the ability to customize surveys with photos and logos. 
  • Typeform: Typeform’s platform is loved by users for its elegant, minimalistic design and ability to work on virtually every device. 
  • SurveyPlanet: The free version comes with 10 customizable themes and allows unlimited questions and responses. 

Boost participation

Your beautifully crafted survey simply won’t work if no one actually takes it. Increase participation rates by first clearly explaining the purpose of the survey. Emphasis how important your team’s (anonymous) feedback is — and make sure they know you’re using it to make work better for everyone. 

Notify your team multiple times about the survey with announcements, and make sure it’s optimized for different devices. Avoid scaring anyone away by keeping it short, simple, and relevant. 

Finally, thank your team for their contribution! Offer small incentives like a free lunch or a gift card to their favorite coffee shop, and include a personalized thank you note at the end of the survey reminding them how critical their opinions are to the goal at hand. 


Keeping a pulse on your team’s happiness requires more than just regular surveys — you need consistent communication as well. Homebase’s employee communication tool keeps your team in sync and updated so you don’t waste time wondering whether everyone has the information they need. The best part? It’s free! 

Related posts

How to communicate with your team — from 2 small biz owners who’ve nailed the process

Communication is the key to any relationship — especially when it comes to your small business team. And for Morgan…

Read article

3 tips for communicating with different personality types on your team

Effective leadership requires solid communication. But it isn’t always cut and dried — especially when you’ve got a  variety of…

Read article

Confronting conflict: How to deal with difficult employee disputes 

Conflict is a part of every relationship — even the relationships in your workplace. But when employees are involved in…

Read article

4 lessons managers learned the hard way (so you don’t have to)

We asked a few successful small biz bosses to share some of the team communications challenges they’ve faced — and…

Read article

5 easy ways teams use Homebase
to drive employee happiness

Happy teams are loyal teams. And our customers often say it’s easier to keep theirs around with the Homebase app…

Read article

10 easy employee recognition ideas (for when ‘thank you’ just isn’t enough)

Keeping your team happy and motivated should be high on your priority list — especially if you want them to…

Read article