82% of US workers would consider quitting their job because of a bad manager. And only 32% feel their team lead truly cares about their career progression.*
These statistics came from a survey of about 3,000 employees across ten popular sectors, ranging from healthcare to finance. And they present an important question: What would your organization’s data look like? Without asking employees for feedback on their experiences with your company, you won’t know how they feel about coming to work every day.
Retention surveys should be at the top of your list of engagement ideas. And to conduct great employee retention surveys, you need to know what questions to ask.
This article details 40 valuable questions to ask your staff in retention surveys. We also explore the benefits of such surveys, when to use them, and how to make the most of the data you collect.
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 people have, like a lack of training or poor internal communication, in order to boost retention.
We recommend making your retention surveys fully anonymous to get more honest responses and help your employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts.
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Our Engagement Surveys can show you where to start with improving employee satisfaction and retention rates.
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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 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 they need to thrive at your company.
- Foster growth within your organization — Increased employee retention means more internal growth. This 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 and desire, 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 retention surveys to pinpoint where your people feel they 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 engage with your employees and ask how they’re doing in their role, they’ll engage back. Retention surveys promote open communication and a collaborative team culture.
When to use an employee retention survey
While you don’t want to bombard your team with constant questionnaires, it’s important to conduct employee retention surveys regularly to ensure your team is happy. Strike a healthy balance between continuously checking in with your team and being careful not to overwhelm 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 employee retention surveys quarterly or bi-annually is a good strategy to proactively help team members feel challenged and fulfilled in their roles. But if you’re dealing with high levels of turnover, you may need to send out surveys more frequently to uncover and tackle underlying issues.
And 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 jobs: Be sure to ask the right questions in team meetings, performance reviews, and regular check-ins.
😅 Don’t wait until it’s time for an exit interview to ask the important questions
Leapsome can help you send out regular engagement surveys to boost retention and see happier employees.
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40 employee retention survey questions
Scheduling a survey is the easy part — it’s deciding which questions to ask that takes the most time and thought.
To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 40 employee retention survey questions. They’re divided into:
- Yes/no questions
- Scaled questions
- Open-ended questions
By combining different types of queries, you’ll get deeper, more diverse insights into how your employees feel.
Yes/no 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:
- Do you feel valued for the work you do?
- Does the work you do motivate you?
- Do you feel comfortable around your managers and team?
- Do you feel supported by your managers and team?
- Does our organization give you the resources you need to succeed?
- Does our organization offer you sufficient opportunities for growth?
- Do you see yourself working here six months from now?
- Would you recommend working here to a friend?
Scaled 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 are typically structured as follows:
- Strongly disagree
- Neither agree nor disagree
- Strongly agree
By asking the subsequent 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
- I enjoy coming to work most days.
- I have a healthy balance between my work and personal life.
- I’m happy with my decision to work here.
- My work provides value.
- I feel appreciated for the work I do.
- I’m compensated fairly for my work.
- I feel comfortable giving feedback.
- My colleagues value the feedback I share.
- I feel satisfied with the amount of feedback I receive.
- I can see myself growing at this company.
- I can see myself working for this company long-term.
- I can reach my full potential at this company.
- If I could go back, I’d apply for this job again.
1-to-10 scale questions
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your role?
- On a scale of 1-10, how aligned do you feel with our company values?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much does your role align with your career goals?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much does your job position you for growth?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much do you feel our organization supports your development?
- On a scale of 1-10, how much do you feel your feedback is taken into account?
- On a scale of 1-10, how well does leadership communicate changes with the company?
- On a scale of 1-10, how effective is your team communication?
- On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your manager’s approach to leadership?
Open-ended 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.
Plus, people often find it easier to be honest about their opinions when filling out a survey rather than speaking with a manager directly. Just be aware that your staff may be wary of responding to open-ended questions as they may fear writing out a detailed answer could compromise 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:
- When was the last time you felt proud of something you did at work?
- Is there anything you’d change about how this company operates? What and why?
- Is there anything you’d change about our organization’s culture? What and why?
- Are you getting the training you need to succeed in your position? Why or why not?
- Does your position align with your skill set? How?
- Are there other duties you’d be interested in incorporating into your role? Which?
- Do you see yourself progressing (laterally or vertically) at this company? How?
- What plan have you and your manager made for your future growth at this company?
- What type of development plan would help get you where you want to be?
- Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Next steps: How to use your retention survey data
Sending out a survey and calling it quits isn’t enough to retain employees. Natasha Maddock, Co-Founder and Non-Exec Director at Events Made Simple, shares her thoughts on this:
“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 to begin to generate solutions.”
— Natasha Maddock, Co-Founder & Non-Executive Director at Events Made Simple
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 your negative feedback in the same areas, something isn’t working. But you need to monitor employee responses from survey to survey to realize that’s happening.
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.
Measure where the results of your employee retention surveys are and aren’t improving, then pinpoint the areas that need extra attention and formulate a strategy for making meaningful changes.
Compare data between different categories
When you take a closer look at how groups of people respond to your retention surveys 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.
A tool like Leapsome can improve your survey analytics by automatically grouping data for managers, non-managers, and each department. This can help you uncover discrepancies between team leads and employees and detect whether certain teams are dealing with recurring issues — without compromising anonymity.
Above all, prioritize employee well-being and privacy. Don’t make it mandatory for people to indicate personal details about themselves in retention surveys if they don’t want to. You should also make sure staff know why you’re asking these questions. For example, if you ask your team members to note down their age range in a survey, explain that you’re researching this data to ensure the organization is addressing all employee needs.
Keep managers in the loop
The people in your organization who work towards retaining employees most actively 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, lay out job duties, and directly interact with people on a regular basis.
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 the success of their team.
Create & track employee surveys with Leapsome
For retention surveys to be successful, you need a comprehensive, customizable solution to help you design and analyze them. Leapsome lets you create and automate surveys that engage your people and make them feel heard and appreciated.
With a user-friendly platform and sophisticated survey sentiment analysis, our platform makes it easy to track and interpret survey results so you can improve your employee experience and boost retention.
Leapsome wants to help businesses become the best they can be for their employees. And by taking the time to listen to your team and dig deeper into their responses, you can improve company performance while making your organization a better place to work.
💪 Collect meaningful employee data with Leapsome
Our Engagement Surveys help you stay connected with your people, so you know what they need to thrive in their role — and stick around longer.
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