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Surveys & Engagement

Employee retention surveys: 40 questions to ask your team

Leapsome Team
Employee retention surveys: 40 questions to ask your team
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The best organizations thrive on employee feedback, relying on it to improve the work experience and hold on to their best talent. 

However, most companies struggle with this. We found that only one out of three HR leaders tracks engagement and turnover, and of those who do, only a third use surveys to yield more detailed team member input. (1)

When facing an unpredictable economy and shrinking talent pool (2), not knowing how employees feel about your workplace is one of the biggest risks you can take.

That’s why a thoughtfully developed employee retention survey should be at the top of your current list of engagement initiatives. Retention surveys allow you to quickly gauge team member sentiment while also forecasting future turnover — before it’s too late.

That’s why we developed this article and discuss:

  • What an employee retention survey is
  • The benefits a retention survey can offer your business
  • 40 valuable questions to ask staff in retention surveys
  1. Leapsome Workforce Trends Report, 2023
  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023
💜 Get to the heart of what impacts the employee experience

Leapsome Surveys allows you to pinpoint the issues employees care about most so you can improve satisfaction and retention rates.

👉 Learn more

What is an employee retention survey exactly?

An employee retention survey is a questionnaire companies send out to gauge the likelihood of their staff staying with them in the short and long term. Retention surveys can help employers detect common frustrations their team members have, like a lack of training or poor internal communication, to boost retention

We recommend making your employee retention survey anonymous to get more honest responses and help your employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.

Benefits of retention surveys

Employee retention surveys aren’t just helpful for detecting potential areas of growth within your organization — they can also boost internal development and improve your company culture. Here are some significant retention and engagement survey benefits

  • Reduce staff turnover rates One of the clearest benefits of employee retention surveys is lower churn since they help you pinpoint the causes of employee dissatisfaction and give you the knowledge you need to address them. 
  • Keep your best people around for longer Few things harm a great team more than losing a valued member. Retention surveys help ensure your people get the support and incentives they need to thrive at your company.
  • Foster growth within your organization Increased employee retention means more internal growth. Retaining and developing top talent keeps hiring costs low and helps you build a strong, experienced team.
  • Maintain people-centered recruitment and development processes — Instead of guessing what employees want, rely on detailed surveys to show what they need, helping you keep people at the center of your decisions.
  • Uncover unmet needs and skills gaps It‘s difficult to know where staff is struggling if you don’t ask. Use an employee retention questionnaire to pinpoint where your people need more support or training.
  • Detect common frustrations among your team — The majority of your reports could be unhappy with their benefits packages or compensation plans, but you won’t know for sure unless you ask.
  • Foster a dynamic and engaged company culture When you regularly engage with your employees, ask how they’re doing in their role, and take action, they’ll feel more connected with your organization. Retention surveys promote open communication and a collaborative team culture.

When to use an employee retention survey

A screenshot illustrating how you can use Leapsome Surveys to predict turnover.
Retention software like Leapsome Surveys uses survey results to make turnover predictions

While you don’t want to bombard your team with constant questionnaires, it’s vital to conduct employee retention surveys regularly to ensure your team is happy. Strike a healthy balance between continuously checking in with your team without overwhelming them. Employees may feel irritated by weekly surveys, but only reaching out once a year increases the possibility of your people being dissatisfied without you knowing it. 

Sending out a retention survey quarterly or bi-annually is an excellent, proactive strategy to help team members feel challenged and fulfilled in their roles. However, if you’re dealing with high levels of turnover, you may need to send out surveys more frequently to uncover and tackle underlying issues. 

Remember: While retention surveys are certainly a great tool, they aren’t the only way to gain insights into how your staff feels about their roles. You can also gauge team sentiment throughin meetings, anonymous review boxes, and regular Q&As.

Using a platform like Leapsome Surveys to run your retention survey means you can leverage AI to summarize key themes and generate action plans quickly. You can even download survey results in PowerPoint format, making data easily shareable company-wide.

😅 Don’t wait for exit interviews to ask the important questions

Leapsome automates engagement surveys and generates quick action plans, making it simpler to boost retention and see happier employees.

👉 Learn more

40 employee retention questions to include in your survey

Deciding which questions to ask in your survey is arguably the most challenging task. That’s because you want to ask questions that’ll produce the most straightforward data with minimal opportunities for employees to misinterpret the prompts. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 40 employee retention survey questions, divided into:

  • Yes/no questions
  • Scaled questions
  • Open-ended questions

By combining different types of prompts, you’ll get deeper, more diverse insights into how your employees feel.

Yes/no retention survey questions

While anonymous yes/no questions may not give you complex insights into the challenges your people face, they’re great for quickly measuring general employee sentiment. If the majority of your team answered ‘no’ to a question about feeling supported at work, you’d know you need an effective employee engagement action plan — and quick. 

Ask the following yes/no questions to see how your team members feel at a glance: 

  1. Do you feel valued for the work you do?
  2. Does the work you do motivate you?
  3. Do you feel comfortable around your managers and team?
  4. Do you feel supported by your managers and team?
  5. Does our organization give you the resources you need to succeed?
  6. Does our organization offer you sufficient opportunities for growth?
  7. Do you see yourself working here six months from now?
  8. Would you recommend working here to a friend?

Scaled retention survey questions

Scaled survey questions, which are also great for protecting anonymity, come in two formats: 5-answer Likert-scale questions and 1-to-10 scale questions. 

Likert-scale answers typically require respondents to rate their questions from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.”

By asking these scaled questions, you’ll get more detailed data than yes/no questions provide without having to conduct the more complex and in-depth analysis open-ended questions require.‍

5-answer Likert-scale questions

  1. I enjoy coming to work most days.
  2. I have a healthy balance between my work and personal life. 
  3. I’m happy with my decision to work here.  
  4. My work provides value. 
  5. I feel appreciated for the work I do. 
  6. I’m compensated fairly for my work.
  7. I feel comfortable giving feedback. 
  8. My colleagues value the feedback I share.
  9. I feel satisfied with the amount of feedback I receive. 
  10. I can see myself growing at this company. 
  11. I can see myself working for this company long-term. 
  12. I can reach my full potential at this company. 
  13. If I could go back, I’d apply for this job again. 

1-to-10 scale questions

  1. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your role?
  2. On a scale of 1-10, how aligned do you feel with our company values?
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how much does your role align with your career goals?
  4. On a scale of 1-10, how much does your job position you for growth?
  5. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you feel our organization supports your development?
  6. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you feel your feedback is taken into account?
  7. On a scale of 1-10, how well does leadership communicate changes with the company?
  8. On a scale of 1-10, how effective is your team communication?
  9. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your manager’s approach to leadership?

Open-ended retention survey questions

Including open-ended questions in your survey can greatly elevate your overall takeaways. These questions give staff a chance to share what they’re feeling in their own words. 

Additionally, people often find it easier to be honest about their opinions when filling out a survey rather than speaking directly with a manager. Just be aware that your staff may be wary of responding to open-ended questions as they may worry about compromising their anonymity. 

Consider including some optional open-ended questions at the end of your retention surveys for those who feel comfortable responding.

Use these retention survey open questions for deeper insights into your team and how they’re really doing: 

  1. When was the last time you felt proud of something you did at work?
  2. Is there anything you’d change about how this company operates? What and why?
  3. Is there anything you’d change about our organization’s culture? What and why?
  4. Are you getting the training you need to succeed in your position? Why or why not?
  5. Does your position align with your skill set? How?
  6. Are there other duties you’d be interested in incorporating into your role? Which?
  7. Do you see yourself progressing (laterally or vertically) at this company? How?
  8. What plan have you and your manager made for your future growth at this company?
  9. What type of development plan would help get you where you want to be?
  10. Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

Next steps: How to use your retention survey data

A photo of two employees creating an employee survey together.

Sending out a survey and gathering data isn’t enough to retain employees. 

Natasha Maddock, co-founder and non-executive director at Events Made Simple, says, “Surveys on their own are unlikely to generate significant improvement in employee engagement and retention. That’s why it’s important to take actionable steps to implement changes based on the information you receive. Follow up with in-person discussions, using the results to prompt further debate and generate solutions.” Here are a few tips on putting the data you collect from your employee retention survey into action.

Here are a few tips on putting the data you collect from retention surveys into action.

Track how responses evolve over time

If your people are consistently giving negative feedback in the same areas, it’s likely there’s a deeper cultural or organizational issue at play. Still, you need to monitor employee responses from survey to survey to identify and further understand these trends. 

The same goes for measuring the impact of your initiatives: You may think you’ve improved your approach to internal communication, but you’ll only see how effective your efforts were by closely tracking the evolution of your retention survey responses.

Track for upward and downward trends in your employee retention survey results. Then, pinpoint the areas that need extra attention and formulate a strategy for making meaningful changes, such as updating your retention policy or implementing new engagement initiatives.

Compare data between different categories

When you take a closer look at how different groups of people respond to your employee retention questionnaire and compare their answers, you may come across some interesting findings.

For example, ask staff their age range, time with the company, or whether they identify with any underrepresented group at the beginning of your survey. Then, organize your data into those categories and look for trends. That way, you can monitor the impact of your diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives and learn which groups of employees might need additional support.

Platforms like Leapsome, which has detailed survey analytics, automatically group data for managers, non-managers, and departments as well as by age, gender, office location, performance, level, tenure, and more. Segmenting data in this way can help you uncover any discrepancies among these varying groups, allowing you to detect whether specific teams and employee demographics are experiencing recurring issues — without compromising anonymity.

Above all, prioritize employee well-being and privacy. Don’t make it mandatory for people to share personal details about themselves in retention surveys if they don’t want to. 

Also, make sure staff know why you’re asking these questions. For example, if you ask your team members to disclose their age range in a survey, explain that you’re researching this data to ensure the organization addresses all employee needs.

Screenshot showing a part of Leapsome’s Engagement Survey Heatmap.
Leapsome’s in-depth analytics help you make the most of your surveys and fully understand the results

Keep managers in the loop

The people in your organization most actively involved in retention efforts are your managers. After all, direct managers have the most significant impact on their employees’ day-to-day experiences — they’re the ones who present professional development opportunities, help staff plan their career paths, and directly interact with people regularly. 

That makes it essential to keep them well-informed about your retention survey results. Ensuring management is aware of why employees are dissatisfied gives them a clear understanding of what they can do to improve job satisfaction and support their team's success. 

Create effective retention surveys & take action on results with Leapsome

A screenshot of AI-powered survey summaries within Leapsome Surveys.
Leapsome’s AI-supported Surveys module summarizes key survey themes quickly so you can spend more time developing relevant action plans

An employee retention survey can empower you to be more targeted and intentional about the way you gather information by specifically highlighting how likely employees are to leave. Employee retention surveys are tools with a lot of potential, but they also require you to be strategic about leveraging the results. 

That’s why automating and running retention surveys on a platform designed to help you interpret the data more effectively is best.

Leapsome allows you to listen to your team members and dig deeper into their responses. With a user-friendly platform and sophisticated survey sentiment analysis, our Surveys module makes it easy to track and interpret survey results so you can improve your employee experience and boost retention. Moreover, it integrates with our products for career development, learning, compensation management, and instant feedback, making implementing the engagement initiatives employees want easier.

By using Leapsome to gather employee data and put it to good use, you can drive employee engagement while future-proofing your organization. 

💪 Collect and action meaningful employee feedback with Leapsome

Leapsome Surveys integrates with features for developing and engaging employees, allowing them to thrive in their roles — and stick around longer. 

👉 Request a demo

Written By

Leapsome Team

Written by the team at Leapsome — the all-in-one people enablement platform for driving employee engagement, performance, and learning.
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