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Writing Staff Survey Questions

The right open-ended questions can add a lot to a survey. When formulating your questions, keep your end objective in mind. Ask yourself:

  • What do I hope to understand from asking this question?
  • What will I do the results?

Keep the following tips in mind ...

Staff Survey Questions


Avoid questions that can be answered with a one word response.

These questions will not give you the depth and breadth of response that you typically want from on open-ended question. If you truly want a yes or no or a one word answer, choose a drop-down question instead.

  • Example: Are there areas of weakness in the organization that are hindering your job performance?

  • Revision: In your view, what are your organization’s two greatest weaknesses/areas for improvement that are currently hindering your effectiveness in your job?

Keep your questions simple and focused.

Avoid complicated questions where the participant may not know what or how to answer.

  • Example: Imagine that your supervisor is away. You notice that defective parts are being manufactured on the line, and you just heard that a new, big name client has ordered a significant number of these parts in order to make their production schedule. You know that if your organization loses this client it will be a major blow both to your organization's reputation and to its financial performance and stability. Do you feel empowered enough to be able to stop the line and make the necessary repairs?

  • Revised: What gets in the way of your feeling fully informed and empowered to succeed in your job?

Keep your tone clear and unbiased.

If there is a possibility that a question can be misinterpreted or misconstrued, it will be. Make sure your questions are clear and that the tone is appropriate.

  • Example: Why do you continue to work for this organization?

  • Revision: How do you feel about working for this organization?

Avoid leading questions

A leading question is one in which you are pointing a respondent to an answer. Asking questions this way will not yield honest responses from your raters and will be counter productive in your organizational culture change efforts.

  • Example: Our company is a great place to work. Explain why you agree with this statement.

  • Revision: What do you feel are our organizations three greatest strengths. Please explain your answers.

Be sensitive to hot button issues

Every organization has their "hot button" issues. It's important to ask questions around these issues but make sure your wording is appropriate so that people don't get defensive.

  • Example: Morale: What's yours and who's responsible for it?

  • Revision: How would you describe the employee morale at work? Please list three suggestions as to how to improve it.

Article Credits

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Article source: Denison Consulting


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