Employee Interest Surveys: Avoiding Pitfalls By Asking the Right Questions

Katie Dunlap October 9, 2018 Employee Engagement

The most important piece of a successful CSR program is employee engagement. Building a program that speaks to your employee’s interests, skills, and passions is key in order to ensure a high engagement rate. But how do you know what your team actually cares about? The best solution we’ve found is to just go ahead and ask them with interest surveys!


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Keep in mind, there are many ways to design employee surveys. The best way to success is understanding your priority goal and writing questions that will give you the information that you need to take steps toward that goal. These questions are primarily designed to understand employee interests with the hopes of increasing employee engagement (either having an employee give or volunteer).


Employee Interest Surveys

There are two types of surveys that we’ve found particularly helpful. The first set of questions ask employees what they are personally passionate about. This is a great way to understand the underlying cares of your employee base and their ongoing involvement in NPOs.


Some good questions to kick off employee interest surveys are:

  1. What are the causes that you are personally most passionate about?
    • (High level; education, health, etc.)
  2. Are you actively involved with any specific nonprofits?
  3. Do you sit on any NPO Boards?
  4. Are you involved in any professional groups associated with a local nonprofit?
  5. Would you be comfortable educating the company in the NPOs you’re involved in?
    • (Internally, Externally, I like to do things behind the scenes, etc.)
  6. Which specific skills and abilities are you interested in offering nonprofits?
  7. Are there any specific Employee Resource Groups (ERG’s) that do not exist at [your company] that you’d like to see created?


Company Involvement Surveys

The second survey is a survey that asks employees how they would like to participate in your company’s CSR efforts. It asks employees to think about how the company as a whole can make the biggest impact, while still taking their personal interest areas into account. This survey may be best to give anonymously, although it can also be tied to the first survey for simplicity.


When creating your company involvement survey, you may want to consider questions like:

  1. Are you aware of [your company’s] Corporate Social Responsibility Efforts?
    • Yes/No
  2. If Yes, which of our efforts did you enjoy most in the last 12 months?
    • Include a list of past CSR efforts for them to choose from.
  3. What are the top two (general) areas you hope to see [your company] participate in over the next 12 months?
  4. What specific area, or specific NPO, do you think [your company] can best impact with our company’s core skills and abilities?
  5. What specific area would you absolutely never want to see [your company] take part in?
  6. Do you have any general suggestions that you would like to see in [your company’s] future CSR initiatives? (Events, high-level strategy, volunteering, fundraising)
  7. How much time do you have to dedicate to volunteering each month?


As you go through the process of beginning a CSR program OR re-strategizing an existing program, collecting data from stakeholders is an essential first step. All the strategies in the world won’t matter if you don’t create a program that your employees identify with. Once you send these surveys out to the whole company, be sure to get influencers on board. Ask them to check in with their team and champion the importance of responding to these surveys. Personalized requests from influential members on each team will help increase the response rate drastically.


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Once the interest surveys have been completed, take a second to consolidate answers, identify trends, and quantify what you can. As you create a new structure for your CSR program, you’ll be able to reference back to this information to show executives and other key stakeholders areas that have support from a majority of employees.