If your last employee communication survey yielded inconclusive or contradictory data, the problem may lie in the questions you asked. Drafting a survey may seem easy, but it’s actually difficult to craft questions that are so clear that employees answer them accurately.

Here are three common mistakes people make when writing questions. Avoid them in your next survey:




1. Very vague
Problem: When a question is too broad or conceptual, employees aren’t sure how to answer it. 
Don’t do this   Do this
“How valuable was the town hall meeting?”   Ask a more focused question
Why it doesn't work The employees may think a part of the town hall—such as the content—was valuable, but there was not enough time for Q&A's.   Example “I had an opportunity to ask questions at the town hall meeting”


2. Two in one
Problem: When you include more than one attribute or concept, employees are confused about which to focus on.
Don’t do this   Do this
“Communication from leaders is honest and meaningful”   Split one question into two
Why it doesn't work Employees may believe that communication from leaders is meaningful, but not honest, or vice versa.   Example
  1. “Communication from leaders is honest”
  2. “Communication from leaders is meaningful”



3. Under influence
Problem: When a question leans in a certain direction, employees can be swayed.
Don’t do this   Do this
“Was the town hall meeting too long?”   Use neutral wording
Why it doesn't work “Too long” suggests that there’s a problem with the duration of the town hall meeting.   Example

Our town hall meetings are:

  • too long

  • the right length

  • too short