Employee turnover and attrition are bad news for many companies and organizations. Retaining employees can make a massive difference to your business's bottom line. The recent Great Resignation has been a serious wake-up call for many of us in management to pay more attention to our workplace culture, refocus on retention and introduce new practices like regularly asking survey questions to take the pulse of employee sentiment.

The cost to replace an employee can range between one to two times the employee's annual salary.


This painful amount is due to:

  • lost productivity
  • new employee training and onboarding
  • effects on decreased employee morale.

Losing your top performers can be even more devastating, as they often fill a niche role that requires expertise and skillset that's hard to replace.

Retaining employees rather than seeing another turnover offers several attractive retention benefits, including:

  • increased revenue
  • improved corporate culture
  • a better customer experience

The good news is that you can do a lot to reduce employee turnover. More than half of exiting employees say that their manager could have done something to prevent them from leaving. Just ponder that a moment.

Employee retention surveys are a great way to identify how employees feel about their workplace and prospects in your company. They also complement traditional exit surveys and stay interviews to pinpoint current workplace concerns and head them off before they lead to excessive employee attrition.

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The importance of asking the right survey questions for employee retention

Any company serious about improving its retention rates needs to be able to measure its employee satisfaction. While an open feedback culture is a gold standard for improving employee morale and retention, creating one takes significant time and effort to show results.

Employee surveys provide your organization with clear evidence of how employees feel in their workplace. These vital tools can monitor trends and identify current and future concerns.

There is an inherent link between employee engagement and retention, another reason why it's so important to find ways to keep your finger on the pulse of employee sentiment.

They also provide better answers than a traditional exit survey, where responses are often biased and skewed because the former employee doesn't want to burn bridges or because they are fed up with the organization.

As with other employee sentiment measurement tools, you'll need to invest in development to get the most out of your employee retention survey. It isn't enough to put together a few questions about the workplace and hope for the best. The more time you spend developing the right survey questions and strategy, the more valuable the employee feedback you'll get will be.

20 examples of employee retention survey questions

A platform like Officevibe helps you get to know your people by using tools like Pulse Surveys to take the guesswork out of finding out how your team feels. While the examples below aren't as exhaustive as our in-app bank of 122 science-baked questions, we've created a quick list related to the most relevant retention themes to spark the conversation.

If you find this list helpful, you might also enjoy these 35 employee survey questions to amplify team engagement.

Employee engagement survey questions

Employee engagement refers to how passionate your workers are about their job, which often translates into their commitment to their organization. It's a key component of low turnover workplaces, where employees feel valued and challenged by their work.

Here are some questions to help your management discover how engaged your employees are in their current positions.

  1. When was the last time you felt proud about something you achieved at work?
  2. What would you consider to be the most challenging aspect of your position?
  3. Rate your workload on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being too little and 10 being completely overwhelmed.
  4. How likely would you be to recommend a job at our company to a family member or friend? Can you explain the reasoning for your answer?

Survey questions about company culture

Workplace culture plays a prominent role in employee engagement and retention. A collaborative culture improves the employee experience, enhances productivity, and stops managers from losing employees to other teams, departments, or companies.

Here are some of the best questions to assess how employees perceive their corporate culture.

  1. Do you feel like you can be yourself around your managers and teammates?
  2. Do you feel you can bring up problems to your manager and, if so, that your manager will address them?
  3. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you think your employer values your contribution, with 1 being not at all and 10 being highly valued?
  4. If you could change one thing about the culture in our organization, what would it be and why?

Survey questions about career development

Employees are likely to leave if they feel your company doesn't offer the career advancement they expect. High-quality development opportunities within the organization can ensure that your most highly skilled individuals will stay.

  1. Have you received any training opportunities within the last six months, and did they contribute to achieving your career goals?
  2. Have you encountered any new opportunities within the company that will help you on your career path?
  3. What type of development plan would improve your performance and help you move forward in your career?
  4. Are you getting value out of current training and development programs?
  5. Have you and your manager set expectations about your progress in the company?

🌱 Help your team members grow. Take the career development talk a step further using our one-on-one meeting template specifically designed to guide these conversations.

Survey questions about compensation and perks

Proper and fair compensation is critical in keeping employees at their jobs. According to a report from the Society for Human Resource Management, 96% of employees say that compensation is important to their overall job satisfaction and employee experience. We can't say we're surprised by that fact.

Here are some questions to approach the subject of compensation and perks:

  1. Do you feel you get paid fairly in your current position compared to others in your type of position working elsewhere?
  2. Would you take a new job at another company if they offered you the salary you currently make?
  3. Are you satisfied with the perks you get currently? If not, what perks would you like to see the company offer in the future?

Survey questions about management

The old adage says, "People leave managers, not companies." Managers strongly impact overall employee satisfaction and require feedback from employees to know if they're improving the overall employee experience. Here are some questions to find out if resolving management kinks can boost retention.

  1. Does your manager provide you with the support you need to complete your work?
  2. What does your manager do to support you and your team in accomplishing tasks?
  3. Would you recommend your direct manager to another team?
  4. Are you satisfied with the recognition you receive from your manager? When was the last time you received acknowledgment for excelling in your role?

Once you've developed the perfect questionnaire, you'll need a method to carry out the survey. Officevibe has excellent tools to measure all the important aspects of employee retention. Whether you want to conduct a quick pulse survey to get a snapshot of the current situation or longer-form surveys to get ideas on how to improve as an employer or manager, Officevibe's resources are flexible to meet your needs.

When to use employee retention surveys

Employee retention surveys can act as proactive or reactive tools to measure employee engagement and satisfaction. If your organization already experiences too much turnover, using longer surveys can pinpoint specific employee concerns leading them to resign.

However, the best use for surveys is as a proactive tool to keep employees satisfied and turnover low. Short pulse surveys at the end of the week or month can help managers gauge the current employee mood. These questionnaires are an excellent way to pick up potential issues.

In most cases, employees plan to leave well before handing in their resignation letter, so addressing their concerns early on might be enough to head off an unwanted personnel loss.

You can also use a longer employee engagement survey to discover ways to improve employee retention. These questionnaires can help your organization take long-term steps to improve its employer brand and attract new talent to the company.

It's important to note that while employee retention surveys are an excellent tool to discover how employees feel about your organization, you can find plenty of other ways to get employee feedback. These might include:

You can incorporate employee retention surveys in some of these feedback sessions to get even more useful data. Be sure to adapt the questionnaires to suit the situation. For example, an employee engagement questionnaire might not be completely anonymous during a team meeting, so avoid asking those more intimate questions.

Employee retention survey best practices

Designing a survey for maximum results takes time. The type of questions you ask, how you ask them, and even how often you send surveys out can affect the quality of your data. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Keep the survey short: Employees already have enough on their plate without spending half an hour answering a questionnaire. Keep surveys to ten questions or less.
  • Ask specific and open-ended questions: Asking broad questions often leads to employees providing vague, non-actionable answers. By keeping the questions straightforward, the company can identify problems and solutions and get a clearer picture of how the workforce feels. Open-ended questions encourage longer answers that can provide you with ideas on how to improve the organization's culture.
  • Avoid leading questions: Leading questions encourage specific answers, leading to inaccurate data. For instance, "Which aspect of your fantastic job do you love the most?" implies that the employee already feels that their job is fantastic and loves aspects of the job, which may not be the case.
  • Keep surveys anonymous: Employees may be reluctant to give honest answers about their manager or the company if they fear reprisals or negative consequences. Making the surveys anonymous allows for more honest feedback and will often result in a higher response rate.
  • Send out surveys regularly: The only way to maximize results from an employee retention survey is consistency. By integrating the questions into routine quarterly performance reviews and conducting smaller Pulse Surveys at the end of each month, you can show employees that you care about their opinion. Doing so makes it more likely that you'll get genuine, actionable data. Using survey tools like Officevibe can assist in scheduling, making it easier to find the optimal timing for your survey.

How to use employee feedback from surveys to improve retention and turnover

Once you've gotten the hang of employee retention surveys, the next challenge is to analyze the data you receive. As with all other tools, employee retention surveys are only as good as those using them. What you do with the results of an employee survey can have as much of an impact as conducting the employee engagement survey in the first place.

While you will never please everyone, employee retention surveys will give you a starting point for improving your workplace. The more employees you get to answer an employee survey, the more accurate and actionable your results.

If one person on a team says they don't like their manager, you may not have any reason to act. However, if everyone on the team gives the same answer, you know you have a legitimate concern.

đź’ˇ Surveys are a practicable and measurable tool to help, but there are other ways to prevent turnover. Check out these 10 strategies to improve employee retention via engagement.

A management tool from Officevibe can help you make sense of the answers you receive. The platform simplifies the development of an employee survey, and it can also help your organization make effective decisions concerning employee retention and reducing turnover.

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