How to create an employee development survey (with questions)

Sarah Sipek


Understanding how your employees feel about their development and future with your company is important for many reasons. To operate a successful business, employee retention is key. The best way to keep your employees is to offer them opportunities for development. Giving them something to work toward allows them a sense of accomplishment and, ultimately, it can encourage them to stay longer in their positions and with your company.

Periodically taking a survey of how your employees regard development in your company can provide you with insight into areas you can improve and how you can have a workplace environment that encourages growth and development. Make sure that employees can remain anonymous when providing feedback, as this can encourage them to be more honest without fear of retaliation. Some companies that provide services in this area are Lattice, TINYpulse, and Empuls. Here are some ideas to help you create an employee survey about development.

Steps for creating an employee development survey

Asking your employees to take a survey about their development means you must create an employee development survey that's engaging and effective. If your survey gets little response, then it's difficult to judge how your employees feel about development within your company. Whether you're investing in new training opportunities or looking to expand and hire new people, you can use these steps to create a survey that improves your company and makes your employees happier and more fulfilled in their roles so you can retain them.

Determine the format

It's possible that you already use surveys for a variety of reasons in your company. Some common reasons companies conduct surveys include:

  • Performing employee reviews
  • Onboarding and offboarding
  • Determining company culture

There are a few different survey formats you can use, and your preference may be determined by your company's culture, number of employees, and the information you're hoping to learn. The most common survey formats are:

  • Multiple-choice: This is an easy survey format to use and understand because the answers are clear and straightforward and most people are familiar with it. Additionally, it can be a faster survey to complete.
  • Open-ended questions: Allowing your employees to provide answers to open-ended questions can give you more insight into how they really feel. If your company has a culture of honesty and trust, this can be a great format to use.
  • Combination: Using both multiple-choice and open-ended questions in your survey format means employees can give quick answers to some questions while also being able to provide their own answers and truthful opinions. This type of format may garner more engagement as well because some people might prefer one type of survey over the other.

Understand the timing

Deciding when to give your survey is another important step in the process. Your employees are busy, and they can feel like taking a survey is a waste of time or something that can wait. It's a good idea to send the survey out at a time when you know people don't have a lot of tasks or are in between jobs. Another way to give your survey is during a staff meeting. This allows for a set time that everyone can complete the survey without feeling like it's taking away from their other tasks.

Write the questions

Depending on your format, you'll need to create questions regarding employee development in your company that are open-ended or close-ended. These questions need to engage your employees and encourage them to answer truthfully so that you can improve your business's growth and development, and thus, the growth and development of those who work for you. You want to ask questions that:

  • Tell you how employees feel about their professional development
  • Tell you whether employees are interested in advancement opportunities
  • Tell you how you can improve development opportunities within your company

By asking the right questions, you can gather the information you need to improve your company and overall employee satisfaction.

Offer the survey

Once you've created the survey, it's time to offer it to your staff. You could start by only offering it to upper-management or entry-level employees to ensure you aren't overwhelmed with a large amount of data all at the same time. Otherwise, if you don't have too many employees or you have a way to manage and process the data quickly, you can provide the survey to your entire workforce at once. If you don't get the engagement you were hoping for, you can try giving the same or a variation of the survey at a later date.

Take action on the results

Your survey doesn't end after you've given it. The only way to improve is to take action on its results. If your employees' responses indicate that they feel like your company could provide more training, then take the initiative and start planning events. Perhaps some of your staff indicated they'd like opportunities for advancement. In this case, you could start a policy where management and upper-level positions are first offered to existing employees before they're listed on a job posting website. These are just some examples of taking action on survey results.

Example questions to include in an employee development survey

To help you get started with your employee development survey, here are several questions you can include:

  • Do you feel like you're offered opportunities to develop in your role?
  • Are your daily tasks challenging without being too difficult to complete?
  • Have you been offered any training opportunities in the last three months?
  • Are you interested in advancement opportunities?
  • Do you feel satisfied with your job?
  • What are your professional career goals?

Providing your employees with a survey to complete about their development within your organization can help you improve your business. Using these steps and suggestions, you can create an employee development survey for your company that gives you insight into how your employees feel about their growth.


If you want to learn more about making your workplace great, consider these ideas:

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