How to Measure Employee Engagement & Happiness at Work

It’s easy for me to understand why we want to be fulfilled and engaged in our work. We like to feel warm fuzzies when we meet goals, surpass expectations, and if we’re competitive, we like winning. I don’t just like winning; I love it. I have a bit of a competitive streak so I always make my work projects a competition ensuring I do my best and give one hundred percent.

How to Measure Employee Engagement & Happiness at Work

Measuring the engagement of our employees isn’t easy in my experience, engagement ebbs and flows over the months, days and even the hours of the workday. Some project calls I’m more interested in others. Maybe it’s because the team leader is more in sync with me and inspiring. The next hour maybe I’m disengaged because my manager assigned me to a project team which had nothing to do with what I wanted to do. Maybe my boss had to assign someone and I just was unlucky.

Work is not always fun. Tasks are BORING. I detest filing, deleting emails and erasing voicemails. I avoid these more than I do  when it comes to home chores like washing and folding our laundry. I realize this and understand that I’m not engaged in the task. Thankfully, I have team members who thrive on organization and are excited about things like organized email inboxes and filed work receipts.

Leadership and Manager Challenges at Work

I’ve written about workplace happinessemployee engagement, and workplace creativity. The challenge for managers is that these topics are subjective, they change and thus, are hard to quantify and define. The employee survey is a concrete snapshot of your workplace at a moment in time. It’s the balance sheet of the company’s workforce providing a metrics based window into the overall view straight from the employee.

My personal view is that employee surveys should be done more than just annually which can get expensive and time consuming. I just think it’s hard to put a price on the engagement or disengagement costs of employees especially when employees are most engaged in their jobs the first six months in position. I said, “Employees are most engaged in their jobs the first six months in position with the new company.” Companies should use surveys to understand the engagement and disengagement points of new as well as tenured employees.

Gallup is a popular survey company that most HR and hiring managers have encountered at some point in their career. One of the benefits of using them is the global and industry benchmarking they provide due to the fact that they’ve surveyed more than 25 million employees. The challenge is that Gallup is expensive and as I mentioned earlier I believe that companies should measure engagement more than just annually. Whether it’s using an online tool like Survey Monkey, a mobile app or text message platform (read this to see how unions are using mobile and get inspired for your own employees) to poll your employees, we need to be understanding, measuring and taking action to keep our employees engaged, productive and working.

What Are Employee Survey Questions Like Gallup’s

At a time when concerns over employee productivity and engagement is at all time high, employee engagement surveys are a great way to survey the field and especially a standard like Gallup. Gallup reports that employee engagement in the U.S. saw its first annual decline in a decade, It dropped from 36% engaged employees in 2020 to 34% in 2021 and in 2022 the downward trend continues.

Inspired by Gallup, I’ve put together a list of 12 employee survey questions you can use in your next employee engagement survey. These questions are not Gallup’s, but they do provide you a sample of survey questions to use as inspiration when developing your own Gallup-like employee survey.

When you put together your employee survey, you will ask the employee to rate the statement on a scale from a 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. You will set the range from completely false to completely true keeping it consistent throughout the survey. I like to use a series of radio buttons below the statement allowing employees to evaluate each question and you can compare and contrast providing further data and evaluation over time.

List of 12 Employee Survey Questions 

– My manager emphasizes teamwork. 

– When I have a frustration or concern at work, someone addresses my concerns. 

– At my company, I am comfortable being myself. 

– I feel free to discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion issues at work. 

– I believe my job is important. 

– Company communication happens frequently at my company. 

– I am confident action will be taken from this survey. 

– My company provides a safe work environment for all employees. 

– I have the training I need to do my job effectively and efficiently.

– I have a long-term career at this company.

– I am satisfied with the pay and benefits I receive at my company. 

– My company offers a good work life balance.

The key to great employee surveys and understanding your employees is not only asking the right questions, measuring them but then creating a benchmark to understand the ebbs and flows of your employees. Creating surveys monthly for your teams will allow you to better understand opportunities and challenges before they become these really big things. And by really big, I mean that moment when your entire facility is ready to  throw desks over and light them on fire because of a payroll problem that could have been uncovered by regular conversations, measurements and meetings with each team.


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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jason says

    A great article.

    As an employer branding company, Brandemix is a big believer in employee engagement and measuring it frequently. We conduct surveys, focus groups, and interviews; along with the questions above, I’d add a few more that Brandemix uses. They seem “fun” but actually reveal a lot about workers’ attitudes:

    – What makes you excited to come to work on Monday morning?
    – Will you still be working here in a year? Three years? Five years?
    – Will you be HAPPY about it?
    – If someone offered you $3,000 to quit, would you do it?

    The answers can be very illuminating. Again: This was a very informative article, Jessica.

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for the comment. Zappos offers a lump sum to employees during orientation which speaks so much to their company culture. Finding happy, engaged and productive employees is hard work, but it can catapult a company to success and profitability with the right team.


  2. Kelli Glasser says

    I agree that these 12 questions are great ones for measuring employee engagement. I have thought so since I first read them in the book “First, Break All the Rules” written by authors from The Gallup Organization and published in 1999.

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says

      Thanks, Kelly. The questions to ask really depend on the organization and should be consistent so they can accurately be measured to understand when there are swings, where the new opportunities lie.


  3. Lisa says

    Those are survey questions from your own surveys? Did you create the Gallup Q12?

    Fairly certain those statement are proprietary and copyrighted by Gallup, Inc. It would be an awful embarassment for someone to suggest using them at their company and not know that.

  4. Wendy says

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  5. Charlie Colon says

    Jessica….just sharing that Gallup launched a more cost-effective way to utilize their industry-leading Q12 questions. Designed specifically for the SMB market, you can know use Gallup’s Q12 for just $15 per person within your organization. You receive database comparisons, a variety of self-selected group reports, and other resource material. All of this can be found at, and please let me know if you have any questions!



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