The Employee Survey tool offers four different questions types (with multiple settings options on each), as well as a separator. When writing a survey, it may be overwhelming to figure out which type of question to use in each scenario. The most important thing to keep in mind is what kind of data you want to collect for each question along with what you are going to do with the data.
Single choice questions are great when you want the recipient to have to choose only one option from a list. It’s similar to asking a “closed-ended question” where you want to elicit a yes or no response (or in this case, a response from a pre-written list). Single choice questions are great if you’re trying to pinpoint a decision or focus area. For example if you ask, “what do you like the most?” you will likely be able to remove a few of the least popular responses, giving you a more narrow focus on how the majority feels.
Note: there is always an option with single select to include an option for “other” to give the employee a chance to write in their own answer. It’s recommended to only use this option if you are trying to consider all options in which an employee may want to respond. If you’re trying to hone in on one or two areas, giving this option will make it more difficult.
Multiple choice questions are best used when you want to find out all of the choices a recipient would choose. This is most useful in situations where you have many options to choose from, but you have the ability to act on more than one of those options. For example you may want to find out which topics employees would most like to learn about in an upcoming event. If you have the time for multiple topics, then allowing an employee to choose more than one will give you more data.
Open answer is best used when you want to gather data from the employees own words. It’s similar to asking an “open-ended question”. Sometimes you may not know what possible answers to include as you are not sure how employees are feeling, in which case asking an open-ended question and letting employees describe how they feel in their own words may be best. It can also be useful as a starting point in a survey strategy. If employees fill out an open answer box with a specific prompt, you can later use other question types to narrow in on their thoughts and how you can help solve issues. For example you could use an open answer to ask what suggestions employees have for improving communication in your organization. Once you see the suggestions, you can consider which are feasible and use another survey with rating and/or single select questions to determine which suggestions would have the most positive impact.
Note: Keep in mind that asking an employee to use their own words is often a difficult or daunting task for certain people. It’s a best practice to make open answer responses optional, as requiring someone to write a response when they are unsure or unable to articulate could likely result in survey abandonment.
Rating questions are best used when trying to understand a specific sentiment from an employee on a scale, such as their likelihood to do something, their agreement level on a topic, their satisfaction with something, or their likelihood to recommend something. Rating questions are a great way to get employees thinking in extremes, which is a great tactic for getting strong responses. For example if you ask someone “Would you recommend this company” with a yes/no choice versus rate their likelihood to recommend your company (if a 0 is “not at all likely” and 10 is “extremely likely”), the rating is pushing the recipient to own the self-descriptor of “extremely” which has more depth than simply responding yes or no.
Note: Ratings can be on a number scale, star scale, or likert scale represented by smiley faces. Number scale can have as few as 3 selections or up to 11. Stars are only out of 5. Likert/smileys are either 3 or 5. All can have the left and right endpoints customized (the part where you can include the “not at all likely” and “extremely likely” bit).
Separators are not questions, but a way to help break apart a survey into multiple pages. There are a few reasons why you may want to use a separator. First is if you are changing your scale or question type. It’s difficult for the human brain to jump from different scales (for example, 1-5 rating, then a 3 star rating, then a 1-10 rating), so by using a separator to group together question types and scales, it helps our brain to understand that we are done with one type of thought process and moving on to another. Second, if a survey is quite long, a separator can help break it down into smaller sections. Often times employees will choose whether or not to complete a survey based on how long it is. If the very first page of a survey includes a long scroll of questions, it will likely deter the employee from continuing, whereas if they can see the next button on the first page, or if it’s a short scroll, they are likely more willing to continue. Third, each time you include a separator you have space to include a title and description. In some cases you may want to include a heading or instructions for a section of a survey, in which case a separator would be the best way to accomplish this.
Note: each time a separator gets added, it creates a new page in the survey. The employee will see this by clicking on a next button and then will proceed to the next page until they have completed the survey.
While this isn’t a question type, it may help you determine how to use questions to make your survey more efficient. Skip logic allows you to limit who sees a question based on their response to a different question. For example, you may want to ask employees to rate their experience with a particular event. In the case that they did not rate their experience as high, you may want to ask follow up questions on why that was the case. By using skip logic, you can set it so only those that rated the initial question low will see the follow up questions.