There’s no doubt that high levels of employee engagement is an important factor in your organization’s success. When you get it right, the benefits of an engagement program can include greater revenue growth and improvements in employee retention rates. That said, engagement isn’t a one-size-fits-all matter. You need to gain insights into what matters to your workers so you can tailor your approach accordingly. This means performing regular employee surveys.
Yet you’re likely to find actually getting your employees to take the time to complete a survey is quite challenging. They’re busy people and they will probably have other priorities. If you present them with a dry and dull survey, you’re unlikely to find them keen to give it their full attention. This in turn will impact the quality of their answers, if they answer at all. One way to improve the quantity and quality of engagement with employee surveys is to inject them with a little fun.
Let’s run down a few approaches you can take to creating fun employee survey questions.
Make a Strong Start
The beginning of your survey can be a vital element in securing full engagement for the rest of the process. If your workers’ first impressions are that you’re asking dry or lengthy questions, they may not be keen to keep going. This is where a fun question can be a good ice-breaker. It shows that you’re not being overly serious and it sets the tone for the rest of the survey.
It’s important to make sure these ice-breakers are fun and interesting but not something that could identify the respondent. When your surveys are anonymous, asking an employee about an experience they know will show who they are can derail the process.
Don’t be afraid to get a little silly here if it’s in keeping with the culture of your company. Some good ideas to consider include:
- If you could be an animal for a day, what would you be?
- What food would you banish from the world forever?
- How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
It’s also worth considering how these ice-breaker questions can serve the structure of your survey. When you’re building an engagement survey, you may have separate sections dealing with specific subject areas, even if these aren’t visually separated as such. Placing a fun ice-breaker question at the beginning of each section can be a good way to keep the momentum flowing and maintain your workers’ engagement. Indeed, it’s a good idea to ask a fun question related to the subject matter you’re covering.
Some examples could include:
- “What’s the funniest dream you’ve ever had?”
For a section related to employees’ ideas or ambitions within the company.
- “If you could have a superpower, what would it be?”
For a section related to skills and development.
- “If you could rule the world for a day, what would you do?”
For a section about management or company ethics.
Use Fun Ideas While Seeking Insights
Enjoyable questions don’t need to just be fun or silly to be impactful. Indeed, part of using fun employee questions when surveying engagement should still be to learn something about your workforce. The answers your employees give to seemingly frivolous questions can still reveal something about them.
This isn't about tricking your workers into uncovering their subconscious feelings through fun survey questions. In fact, your workers are smart enough to see through that kind of question. Rather, be open about how this relates to their experiences. But provide them with enjoyable or engaging mental pictures to engage with. You’ll generally find your workers are more willing to answer in an honest and revealing way.
Some examples here could include:
- “You’re stuck on a desert island with an authority figure. What negative trait would make you resort to cannibalism?”
To gain insights into their perspectives on leadership frustrations.
- “Which mythical creature best describes your working style and why?”
This gives a more creative and engaging way to talk about strengths and weaknesses.
- “What task at work would you load into a canon and fire at the moon?”
This can provide insights into common areas of work that may be interrupting productivity or employee satisfaction.
Another important aspect this serves is in keeping your questions relevant. Your workers are taking time out of their day to answer your engagement survey. The last thing you want is for them to feel as though their time is being wasted by questions that don’t have any practical application.
Give a Reason to Care
One of the challenges with any survey is in giving your workers incentive to engage. This can’t just be limited to giving a small bonus or gift certificate in exchange for responses. You want them to care about the answers they provide you in the survey. This should extend to the fun questions, too. Yes, make the questions enjoyable but also find ways to make them meaningful to your workers.
Some approaches to this could include:
- “What song gets you through the hard days?”
This is a question that can elicit strong emotional responses. People hold their favorite music in high regard in their lives. This question both gives employees a chance to talk about something positive in their lives. But it also shows you a little about what ideas and emotions help workers overcome challenges.
- “Which movie, book, or TV character would you most like to be friends with and why?”
It isn’t just the pop cultural passions your workers get to talk about here, it’s also the strong emotional idea of friendship. Importantly, it gives you insights into what qualities your workers value in others.
- “Who would play you in the movie about your life and why?”
This is a question that can spark the imagination and give employees a chance to talk about performers they enjoy or even be a little silly. But it can also show you how they view themselves and what they may see as their best or worst qualities.
Leverage the Past and the Future
Some of the more fun and engaging survey questions get your employees talking about the past and the future. This is something that your workers can engage with on a psychological level. Indeed, studies show that giving people opportunities to indulge in nostalgia can induce powerful feelings of optimism. Not to mention that questions to elicit thoughts about a bright future can help workers to feel more positive about the activity, too.
From the perspective of your engagement strategy, leveraging the past and the future can give you a better understanding of what is important to your workers. Discussing employees’ history reveals experiences they formed important emotional bonds with. While exploring the future unveils more information about their needs and hopes.
Some good questions to consider can include:
- “What is your favorite memory of high school?”
Grade school might seem like a better choice for fun memories. However, the person your employee was in high school is probably closer to who they are now in personality. This can provide more useful and relevant insights.
- “What technology from the distant future would you like now?”
This is a fun sci-fi question, but it also gets workers thinking about the tools that make their life more exciting or convenient. As such, it’s a good way to get insights into the challenges they feel they face.
- “If you could retire tomorrow, what would you do with your time?”
This isn’t just a question about the fantasy of early retirement. It’s about what is important in employees' lives when you remove the need to make money.
To Wrap Up
Surveys can take a significant amount of time and energy for employees to complete. As such, it’s worth injecting a little fun into the situation to make the process more enjoyable. These questions can also serve a deeper purpose, though. What may at first appear to be a slightly silly question with enjoyable imagery can give you valuable insights into your workers’ needs, priorities, and hopes. It’s worth putting in a little extra time to design a question strategy that your employees will find engaging and encourage them to provide you with more meaningful responses.