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Building a Better Workplace: 15 Employee-Centric Culture Survey Questions

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Your culture is your brand! This is because your people are the biggest asset of any organization.
– Matt Phelan, Author of Freedom to be Happy

Do you ever walk into an office and immediately feel the energy in the air? Some workplaces exude a distinct energy - maybe the lively banter, the creative decor, or simply visibly happy and smiling people. While some office premises are stressful, the dull faces and tense atmosphere make you want to run away.

Your company's culture is like its soul—it gives the organization life and personality. That's why defining and nurturing the right culture is critical.

I remember an organization I worked with that would bring Energy drinks to employees' desks on Fridays. The impact was huge! Those vibes really do matter!

One study conducted by Harvard Business Review found that companies with strong cultures outperformed their competitors in revenue growth, stock price, and net income.

Another study by Deloitte found that companies with positive cultures have 72% higher employee engagement levels and are 4.5 times more likely to have highly engaged employees.

On the flip side, a toxic culture can be like kryptonite for retention. One study byJobvite revealed that 30% of job seekers left a job within the first 90 days, largely due to company culture.

So, how can companies ensure their culture is more uplifting and positive rather than gloomy and negative?

Whether your culture needs a full revamp or just a few changes, an insightful survey can be the first step towards an environment that makes everyone feel welcomed, valued, and fired up. In this blog, we'll discuss the importance of culture surveys, explore key areas they should cover, and provide effective questions to ask. We'll also share best practices for creating impactful culture surveys that drive meaningful change.

Key Takeaways

  1. Workplace Culture Surveys: A Definition
  2. Essential Components of a Workplace Culture Survey
  3. Top 15 Questions to Assess Workplace Culture
  4. Best Practices for Crafting Effective Survey Questions
  5. Strategies for a Successful Culture Survey

Workplace Culture Surveys: A Definition

A workplace culture survey is a tool used to assess an organization's values, beliefs, behaviors, and social dynamics. It helps leaders understand employees' perceptions and experiences regarding various workplace aspects, such as leadership, communication, recognition , and inclusion.

The* University of Warwick *found that satisfied employees are 12% more productive than the average worker. - Forbes

Analyzing Culture Surveys: Objectives and Scope

It can be challenging for HR executives to accurately gauge the company culture from their offices. Employee surveys provide real, honest feedback from those on the ground, providing essential insights into the true state of the workplace culture.

A workplace culture survey checks the pulse of those vibes. Typical topics covered include:

  • Values and Mission: Alignment with the company's core values and mission.
  • Collaboration and Communication: Effectiveness of teamwork and communication.
  • Recognition and Feedback: Frequency and quality of recognition and feedback.
  • Growth and Development: Opportunities for professional growth and development.
  • Leadership: Effectiveness and approachability of leaders.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): Inclusivity and commitment to diversity.


These surveys are usually conducted anonymously online to encourage candid responses. They often include open-ended questions, Likert scale ratings, and multiple-choice questions.

The Use of Culture Surveys
Why does culture matter so much? Because it impacts just about every measure of a company's success and impacts several key areas:

Enhancing Employee Engagement
Culture surveys help identify what drives or hinders employee engagement. Understanding these factors allows organizations to implement strategies that increase engagement, such as better recognition programs or improved communication.

Boosting Morale
Surveys can reveal employee morale issues, like lack of recognition or poor communication. Addressing these issues can create a more positive and supportive work environment.

Improving Retention
By identifying why employees might leave, such as dissatisfaction with leadership or lack of career growth, organizations can make changes to improve job satisfaction and reduce turnover.

Increasing Productivity
A positive culture boosts productivity. Surveys can highlight barriers to productivity, like ineffective communication or unclear goals, allowing organizations to address these issues and enhance performance.

Building Trust and Transparency
Conducting culture surveys regularly and acting on the results shows employees that their feedback is valued. This builds trust and transparency between employees and management.

So, a culture survey mirrors the current state. It highlights what's working well and what needs some adjustment. With that insight, companies can nurture an environment for people to thrive.

Essential Components of a Workplace Culture Survey

An effective workplace culture survey should cover several key areas that collectively provide a well-rounded picture of the organizational culture. Here are the essential elements to include:

Values and Mission

  • Assess employees' understanding and connection to the company's stated values, purpose, and mission.
    Evaluate whether these guiding principles are actively lived out or just stated.

Collaboration and Communication

  • Examine how well teams work together, share information, and support one another (collaboration).
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of communication channels, openness to ideas, and whether employees feel heard.

Recognition and Feedback

  • Gauge the frequency and meaningfulness of employee recognition and appreciation.
  • Assess the quality of performance feedback, constructiveness, and clarity of growth paths.

Growth and Development

Studies show that companies with best-in-class cultures are 72% more likely to invest in training for leaders than all others (67% vs 39%).

  • Focus on opportunities for learning, skill development, and career advancement.
  • Explore access to training, mentorship, and an environment that nurtures employee growth.


  • Evaluate employees' confidence in senior managers, embodying company values and providing clear vision and direction.
  • Assess management's openness to feedback and communication.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

  • The issue revolves around whether all employees feel welcomed, respected, and have equal opportunities regardless of characteristics like race, gender, age, or background.
  • Evaluate attitudes, policies, and accountability related to DEI within the organization.

Top 15 Questions to Assess Workplace Culture

A workplace culture survey aims to understand employees' perceptions of your company culture and gather insights to improve it.

Whether you need to enhance virtual team-building strategies or refine leadership communications, asking the right culture questions is essential.

Your survey questions should be clear, engaging, simple, and straightforward to effectively tap into employee insights.

Here are 15 effective questions for a workplace culture survey, organized by key area, along with the rationale behind asking each question:

Values and Mission

  1. "Do you understand the company's values and mission?" (Yes/No)
    Rationale: To see if employees know and agree with the company's core values and mission.
  2. "On a scale of 1 to 5, how often do you see the company's values in your daily work?"
    Rationale: To check if the organization's values are part of everyday tasks and behaviors.

Collaboration and Communication

  1. On a scale of 1 to 5 , How well does your team communicate? (Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent)
    Rationale: To find out if team members communicate clearly and effectively.
  2. On a scale of 1 to 5 ,How well do different departments work together? (Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Excellent)
    Rationale: To assess how well various departments collaborate.

Recognition and Feedback

  1. How often do you get recognized for your work? (Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Often, Always)
    Rationale: To understand how frequently employees receive recognition.
  2. Is the feedback from your manager helpful? (Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neutral, Agree, Strongly Agree)
    Rationale: To measure the quality of feedback from supervisors.
  3. Can you describe a time when you felt particularly recognized at work?(Open-ended)
    Rationale: To gain specific examples of effective recognition.

Growth and Development

  1. Do you have enough opportunities for professional growth? (Yes/No) Rationale: To see if employees feel there are enough chances for career development.
  2. How satisfied are you with the training programs offered? (Very Dissatisfied, Dissatisfied, Neutral, Satisfied, Very Satisfied)
    Rationale: To gauge satisfaction with training and development programs.
  3. What additional training or development opportunities would you like to see? (Open-ended)
    Rationale: To identify specific employee needs for growth and development.


  1. Are leaders approachable and supportive? (Yes/No)
    Rationale: To evaluate how accessible and supportive leaders are.
  2. On a scale of 1 to 5, how transparent are leaders when making decisions?
    Rationale: To see if leadership is open and clear about company decisions.
  3. How can leadership improve their support for employees? (Open-ended)
    Rationale: To gather suggestions for enhancing leadership effectiveness.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

  1. Do you think our company supports diversity and inclusion? (Yes/No)
    Rationale: To measure if employees feel the company is committed to DEI.
  2. "How comfortable do you feel sharing your ideas at work?" (Very Uncomfortable, Uncomfortable, Neutral, Comfortable, Very Comfortable)
    Rationale: To assess the inclusiveness of the workplace environment and the acceptance of diverse viewpoints.

Did You Know :

As per a recent report by Josh Bersin, Companies are 2.6x more likely to retain their workforce if they employ strong DEI measures.

Best Practices for Crafting Effective Survey Questions

A Good Blend of Question Types:

Use both open-ended and Likert scale questions to gather comprehensive insights.
Open-ended questions encourage detailed feedback, while Likert scale questions provide quantifiable data.


Ensure surveys are anonymous to promote greater honesty and candid responses. Anonymity helps ensure better participation as employees feel safe sharing their true opinions without fear.


Craft questions that lead to actionable insights. Avoid vagueness - instead, be specific about the cultural strengths and gaps to inform your action plan. Each question should aim to uncover information that can drive meaningful improvements in the workplace culture.
By combining different question formats, protecting anonymity, and keeping an "actionable" mindset, you'll maximize the effectiveness of your culture assessment.

Strategies for a Successful Culture Survey

Best practices to conduct an effective culture survey include:

Clear Purpose:

Define the purpose of the survey and communicate it to employees. Before launching the survey, clearly define the goals and objectives. Is it to gain an understanding of the current culture? Identify strengths and areas for improvement. Evaluate the impact of recent initiatives. Communicating a clear purpose upfront increases participation and ensures the questions align with your aims.

Well-Designed Questions:

The quality of your questions directly impacts the value of the results.
Here are some tips:
Mix question types: Use a combination of multiple-choice, Likert scale (strongly disagree to agree strongly), and open-ended questions to capture specific data and employee voices.
Keep it concise: Shorter surveys with clear language are likelier to get a high completion rate.
Focus on objectivity: Avoid questions that lead to biased responses.

Time for Reflection:

Give employees ample time to reflect on their responses. Rushed surveys may not capture thoughtful feedback.

Survey Tools:

Even after having the right objective, HRs falter in executing these Surveys. It is highly recommended that reliable survey tools be utilized to facilitate the creation, easy distribution, completion, and analysis of the survey data. There are various online survey tools available to administer your culture survey. These tools should support anonymous responses to encourage honesty and provide features for easy distribution, tracking, and data analysis. Examples of such survey tools include Culture Monkey,Vantage Pulse, Surveymonkey and Workday Peakon. Vantage Pulse, for instance, offers a survey creation tool with customizable templates, analytics, and reporting capabilities that can streamline the process and enhance the quality of the insights gathered.

Follow Up with Action:

It is critical to Communicate the results with your employees and outline a clear plan for addressing the feedback. Following up with action shows the organization's right intent to theemployees, demonstrating that their input is valued and leading to continuous improvement.

Recommended Read: How to Design an Employee Survey: Best Practices and Tips


Just like every human has a different personality, every organization is defined by its unique personality called "culture". Thus, Workplace culture surveys are vital for understanding and improving the workplace.A well-executed workplace culture survey allows you to take that all-important pulse. It cuts through the corporate jargon and leadership assumptions to gather honest feedback from "your" people.
The key is approaching it as more than a routine task. Follow the tips we have covered to create a happy workforce and thriving organization.

Supriya Gupta is a new mother and communications pro at Vantage Circle. She is passionate about sports, news, climate change, and the power of storytelling. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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