What is an Employee Attitude Survey?

Often an essential component of organizational training and development, Employee Attitude surveys provide a picture of your organization's needs. These surveys can be used to solicit employee opinions on a variety of issues such as the company's success in communicating its mission to employees, or local issues such as quality of the working environment.

These surveys often contain a series of multiple choice items grouped along one or more dimensions of the organization.

The types of items included in these surveys may concern areas such as:

The results of this type of feedback process provide an understanding of how the employee perceives the organization along different dimensions.

This feedback:

The purpose of this document is to provide a guide to assist those who are conducting an employee attitude (employee opinion) survey.

Chapter Highlights

  1. Uses
  2. Benefits
  3. How it is conducted
  4. Requirements
  5. Benefits of using the Internet
  6. Demos
  7. Item Bank
  8. Related Pages
Principle of Employee Attitude Surveys: Provides an understanding how how the employee perceives the organization and work groups.

Employee Attitude Survey: Uses

Uses for Employee Attitude Surveys include:This process can also be a motivator of performance since it shows the employee that their opinions and views are considered important.


Provides a direct means of assessing employee attitudes that would otherwise be unreported.

How it is conducted

Checklist of what to do when conducting an employee survey.

Needs Analysis

Why is the survey being conducted? Meetings are held to determine the goals and objectives, as well as the content of the project. Whether implemented through individual interview or focus group this needs analysis will ensure that the critical information is gathered in the manner that best fits the customer need and will assist in determining the best method of collecting the data.

Focus Groups

Structured meetings to gather qualitative information relevant to the survey development.

Survey Design

Develop survey instrument by synthesizing the information gathered from needs analysis, focus groups and other documents available

Determine the rating scale to be used:

  1. Strongly agree | agree | (neither agree nor disagree) | disagree | strongly disagree.
  2. Excellent | good | fair | poor
  3. All of the time | most of the time | some of the time | hardly ever | never
  4. To a very great extent | to a great extent | to some extent | to a very little extent | to no extent at all
  5. Very satisfied | satisfied | (neither satisfied nor dissatisfied) | dissatisfied | very dissatisfied

Develop questionnaire

A questionnaire used for Employee Attitude/Opinion Surveys typically contains items that are rated on a 5 point scale. These items may be developed to measure different dimensions of the organization (e.g., communication, teamwork, leadership, initiative, management, compensation, ...). Questionnaires also typically include one or more open-ended questions to solicit written feedback.

Questionnaires typically include from 50 to 100 items. When estimating the amount of time to complete the questionnaire you should estimate about 1 minute per questionnaire item.

If using a printed questionnaire form, you should consider using forms that can be scanned into a computer.

It should be noted that the design of a questionnaire is usually an iterative process -- questions are formulated, tested, reformulated, tested, and so on.

Questionnaire Review

Examine and critique of an existing survey. The review is conducted to improve the quality of the survey, and to increase the likelihood the customer receives actionable information. Critiques are also performed to increase the probability of high response rates.

Instrument Pre-Test

Conduct an instrument pre-test, which is an examination of the data collection instrument by potential respondents. It can be completed for paper-based, as well as electronic and phone based data capture. This may include a series of telephone interviews or focus groups designed to gather feedback on the content, clarity, readability, relevance, length, and comprehensiveness of the item set, as well as the overall experience of completing the instrument.

Pre-testing can show:

  1. poor question wording or sequencing, as well as errors in layout
  2. problems caused by the length of the questionnaire or the respondents' inability or unwillingness to answer the questions
  3. additional questions or response categories that can be pre-coded on the questionnaire
  4. non-response problems
  5. any negative repercussions the survey may have on employees

Ensure confidentiality of participants

Steps must be taken to ensure the confidentiality of the feedback results. For example, the feedback ratings from several employees should be combined (averaged) to mask the identity of an individual employee. Comments or written answers to questions may be summarized in the results to mask the identity of the author. The confidentiality helps ensure that the results are genuine.

Administer the questionnaire

Distribute questionnaire forms (if using printed copies) with instructions. May want to prepare answers to common questions if other employees will be assisting in the administration. If possible, post the questions and answers to your website for easy access.

Administer it to everyone? Or, just a sample?

Advantages of administering it to everyone:
  • All employees are given the opportunity to express their opinions
  • Advantages of administering it to only to a sample:
  • Reduced time to collect and process the data
  • Less data to collect
  • Analyze the data

    Basic data analysis would include averages of ratings. More complicated analyses may include item-analysis and/or factor-analysis. Types of analyses include: Performance Dimension Summary; Summary-Performance vs. Expected; Individual Item Ratings; Item Ratings-Performance vs. Expected (normed); Highest- or Lowest-Rated Items (shows individual's strengths and weaknesses); Group & Organizational Ranking, and Recommendations for Development.

    You may want to analyze the data by organizational division or department to assess group and organizational strengths and weaknesses. This can be used to support or promote training and organizational development.

    Written Interpretive Reports

    Examine data through written interpretive reports, which summarize the results of your study. We can provide reports that identify themes in the data, and provide conclusions and recommendations.

    Presentation of Survey Results

    The analysis of data in report format, or on a variety of other media, such as CD-ROM, diskette, or Internet.

    Develop and Distribute Results

    Feedback results should be shared with the employees.

    You may want to provide individual review sessions or group workshops conducted by a facilitator to help individuals review and understand the results and develop appropriate goals and objectives.


    An Employee Attitude Survey process requires a coordinated effort to collect hundreds, or even thousands, of pieces of data. In addition, the validity of the results is enhanced by ensuring confidentiality of the participants.

    The survey administration may require time (to complete the questionnaires) and computer resources to analyze the data.

    Benefits of using Internet

    Fortunately, there are many software companies that offer tools to assist you in conducting this type of feedback process. Some links to these companies can be found at the HR-Software network.


    Request a customized free online demo from

    Item Selector

    If you are interested in developing an employee opinion survey, this would be a good place to get started. Click the link below to access our Item Selector program. This will display a form containing a list of items. Just select the items you want included on your questionnaire and follow the instructions on the form.

    Item Selector

    Item Bank

    Item Bank

    Here are a list of general items: