Phrasing an open question
Emilie Roze avatar
Written by Emilie Roze
Updated over a week ago

Open-ended questions allow employees to leave comments and thus express themselves freely on a given subject. They are very useful for obtaining a bit more context and ideas for improvement.

Let us give you our tips on how to formulate your open questions to obtain valuable feedback.

In this article:

Why create an open-ended question?

Open-ended questions can be very useful for :

  • giving participants an opportunity to express themselves freely ;

  • directing your next topics to be explored based on participants' feedback ;

  • gathering ideas for improvement.

Supermood offers two ways to collect comments: you can either use open-ended questions or you can activate comments on your closed-ended questions.

💡Our recommendation

Whenever possible, consider activating comments on a closed question rather than creating a new open question. You'll be able to analyze comments in relation to the scores obtained.

4 tips on how to phrase an open-ended question

☝️ Address one topic at a time

Focus on one issue at a time! A multi-topic question could confuse participants and make it difficult to analyze comments.

Example :

❌ How can we improve relations between employees and between managers and employees?
→ Ask two separate questions instead:
✅ How can we improve relations between employees?
✅ How can we improve relations between managers and employees?

😑 Remain neutral

Use neutral language, with no special opinions, to avoid influencing the participants' answers.

Example :

❌ We have significantly improved the format of our meetings. What do you think about it?
→ Remove the bias and opt for an open formulation:
✅ What do you think of our meeting format?

🎯 Be clear and concise

Formulate your questions clearly and concisely, thus reducing the participants' need to concentrate.
Remember to give a clear context and be cautious with long-winded sentences. 👇

  • Use commas as a marker and simplify the wording of your question as soon as you see more than 2 commas.

  • Introduce the context through previous questions and/or a specific section. Place your open question afterward, thus saving you the need to provide context!

Example :

❌ What actions (tools, conduct, events, etc.) could we put in place to improve the company's communication?
→ To categorize your answers without limiting participants' suggestions, just remember to be clear about the context:
✅ What actions could we put in place to improve peer-to-peer exchanges?
✅ What actions could we take to improve communication with your manager?

🥹 Be cautious with sensitive questions

Avoid asking questions that relate to exploring the mental and emotional state of your employees.
You would risk :

  • having a very low response rate due to the difficulty in revealing one's emotional state in writing ;

  • losing the trust of your employees if you are not able to act quickly on this feedback.

💡 Tip

Prefer questions that promote the search for solutions and actions, rather than questions that imply describing facts, problems, or a situation.

Example :

❌ What makes you anxious at work?
→ Instead, adopt an action-oriented approach:
✅ What do you need to be stress-free at work?

You are now fully prepared to create your custom questions!

Need advice on creating your surveys? You can use the questions library produced by our experts or get in touch with your Account Manager.

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