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Employee Happiness Survey: 20 essential questions you need to ask

A staff happiness survey is only as good as the questions. Here are 20 essential employee well-being questions to ask your employees.
Published 16 Dec 2021
6 min read
Employee Happiness Survey: 20 essential questions you need to ask

Conventional wisdom holds that happy employees are engaged employees. And engaged employees play a significant role in any company’s financial performance. So keeping employees happy is key to business success. That’s why it’s so important to keep a pulse on employee happiness. One of the best ways to do this is via an employee happiness survey.

This year the work happiness survey is potentially going to be more important than any in the last few years. It’s your opportunity to let your employees be frank about how they’re going. It’s important to remember that every survey question you ask implies that you’re going to take action based on the answers you get.

As I said in my earlier post on employee happiness surveys, you have no hope in influencing employee engagement if you do not act on the results. Of course, a staff happiness survey is only as good as the questions. Here are 20 essential employee well-being questions to ask employees.

Happy employees in Australia

A DCA national representative survey of Australian employees focused on employment conditions, along with some other key information, such as diversity demographics, employee engagement, well-being, productivity, business effectiveness and more.

The outcome revealed that companies that fail to keep up with expectations around issues like work-life balance and inclusive workplaces, run a risk of lower productivity and higher turnover.

Some key findings of the study include:

  • Employees with caregiving managers reported greater work-life satisfaction, greater access to flexibility, and positive work-life culture
  • 83% of employees surveyed agreed their manager has unrealistic expectations of their performance 
  • 81% claimed they had a supportive manager when faced with a work problem 
  • 51% said they often have to choose between advancing in their career or giving time to personal life 
  • Work-life balance was revealed as one of the top employment drivers
  • Parents claimed flexibility was the most important employment factor
  • One in five employees (18%) said they had considered resigning in the last six months as the result of a lack of flexibility

Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions on How Individual Goals Align With Business Goals

1. How well do you understand the strategic goals of the business?

A well-run company will align an individual’s goals with its overarching business goals. This ensures your entire team is moving together, in the same direction.

2. Can you see a clear link between your work and the company’s goals and objectives?

Happy employees are employees who can clearly understand how their work impacts a company’s overarching goals and objectives. We all like to feel needed and appreciated and this translates into the workplace.

3. Do you feel like you have opportunities for growth and advancement?

One of the top reasons employees leave their jobs is due to a lack of professional growth opportunities. Even if your employees are happy with their current job, they will be pushing to advance at some point. And if you have a team of Millennials, this will be sooner rather than later. If there are no opportunities for development and growth, don’t expect your employees to stick around for the long haul.

Employee Happiness Survey Questions to Ask About Team Happiness and Interaction

4. How well does your team work together?

Teamwork and collaboration are vital in most workplaces. So you need to make sure your employees are happy with the dynamic of their team.

5. Are you proud to be a member of your team?

Is your employee happy to be associated with their co-workers?

6. Does your team inspire you to do your best work?

A great team is a team that inspires one another. This is an important question to ask because a smooth-running team within your company will be a team of individuals who help one another do their best work.

7. Does your team help you to complete your work?

If results from the happiness at work questionnaire show signs of employee dissatisfaction, make sure you prioritise team building efforts so your people can see that you’re following through.

Employee Satisfaction Survey Questions Related to the Management

8. How does your manager motivate your team?

There’s a fair amount of truth in the old saying, “You don’t quit your job, you quit your boss.” So it’s important to gauge the degree of satisfaction with direct supervisors.

9. How would you describe the level of support offered by your manager?

Effective management should mean an employee feels supported by their manager. If you consistently see low scores for this question, it’s time to start making changes.

10. On a scale of 1 to 10, how comfortable are you in giving feedback to your manager?

Guess what? Managers don’t always know best. Receiving employee feedback is super important to the effective growth of a company and a strong work culture. Employees should feel confident providing feedback to their manager.

11. To what degree is the management team transparent?

Transparency is an incredibly important factor that contributes to workplace happiness. When it comes to leadership, transparency equates to honesty and openness. You need to find out whether your staff trust your candour.

12. Describe our culture in fewer than 20 words.

Because leadership and culture are intertwined, make sure you find out what your employees think about your culture and whether they believe in your company and vision.

13. On a scale of 1 to 10, how likely would you be to recommend our company’s products or services to a friend?

You want to make sure your employees believe in the product you are selling. If you see low scores for this question, don’t panic. Think about your internal messaging and staff education. Not all divisions in your company will work directly with your product. Could it be they simply don’t know enough about it?

Employee Happiness Survey Questions to Ask About Employee Recognition

14. How strongly do you feel valued at work?

Feeling valued at work is a huge motivator, so this is an important question to gauge how valued your workers feel.

15. How frequently do you receive recognition from your manager?

If employees tell you it’s been weeks since they received any recognition, there’s a good chance morale is slipping. And that’s the fast track to zoning out, low productivity and ultimately turnover.

16. What recognition did you receive the last time you completed a big project?

You should also find out how satisfied your employees are with their compensation.

17. Are you satisfied with your compensation and benefits?

While you may not be able to afford to give your employees a pay rise, you may be able to offer them a more generous employee benefits package. Something that doesn’t cost your company directly, but all adds up to big value for your employees.

Employee Happiness Survey Questions to Ask About Working from Home

18. Do you have what you need (i.e. space, set-up, internet) to continue being effective while working remotely?

Find out how your employees are set up while working from home, you need to know what’s going on in their workspace if you want to be able to supply them with what they need.

19. Are you able to work productively in your remote-work


It’s not only about their set-up working from home might mean extra pressures from the home environment like navigating home duties while you work or other disruptions by family members. Do we all remember the case of Professor Robert Kelly? 

20. What is something our company can do to better support you while working remotely?

Sometimes it’s best to just ask directly: “What is something that we can do as a company to support our employees at homes?”. Giving your employees the chance to tell you directly how you can support them should be what the employee happiness index is about.

Yield Actionable Results From Your Employee Happiness Survey

Naturally, to get the most out of your employee work happiness surveys, make sure they’re easy to complete, publish them on a regular basis and only ever ask the right questions. Using some or all of the happiness survey questions we’ve provided is sure to help you do that. Remember, as I said in my last post about assessing your employee happiness surveys, a good survey is a short one. Don’t overdo it.

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Engaging Employees: A Competitive Differentiator

Alex Hattingh
Chief People Officer - Employment Hero
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