An organization is only as healthy as its employees. But employee wellness isn’t always top-of-mind for companies thinking about getting business done. That’s because when things are going well—and employees are well—it’s easy to take that boost in productivity for granted. According to Statista, “a survey from 2021 found that 79 percent of employees believed their company’s wellbeing programs helped them be as productive as possible” while “ 79 percent also believed such programs had helped them avoid getting sick.”
The trick to understanding employee wellness: communication. To that end, you’ll need an employee wellness survey to track what’s bugging your employees, what’s not, and how you can foster a more productive and healthy workplace.
What is an employee wellness survey?
An employee wellness survey, or employee wellbeing survey, is a questionnaire that will gather information about the physical health and mental health of your team members. It will also get information about their overall well-being and job satisfaction—with a particular eye on stress levels in the work environment.
What is the goal of each employee wellness survey? Identifying your blind spots. Maybe you have a workforce that feels engaged at work, with low stress levels and plenty of feelings of well-being. But there may be storm clouds on the horizon of which you’re not aware. Using employee wellness surveys helps you identify areas of improvement, build wellness programs that will benefit your employees, and promote their long-term job satisfaction.
A good employee wellness survey will include incisive questions. You’ll want to make sure they’re anonymous so employees feel comfortable and safe expressing their true opinions. While it can sometimes be difficult for employees to give you an accurate self-assessment, there are ways to build your surveys so you pull genuine insights from their answers.
Why run an employee wellness survey?
Imagine a business full of people who enjoy their work. How well might things run? According to Zippia, over 80% of employees whose employers are engaged in their wellness say they enjoy work. So as it turns out: yes, your engagement in employee wellness will pay substantial dividends in how your employees feel about your company.
But that’s a broad perspective. Let’s zoom in on the benefits you can get from the employee wellness surveys you create—and why a careful, methodical approach to these surveys will help you.
- Building on-target wellness programs. Employee wellness programs will likely cost you resources like time and money. Isn’t it worth knowing whether these programs will actually help? Or whether they’ll address specific employee concerns? When you know what’s bugging your employees, you’ll stand a better chance at building wellness programs that feel relevant and helpful.
- Preventing employee burnout. This is a bigger problem than you might realize. 56% of people reported that their HR departments didn’t encourage conversations about burnout. And if employees are facing burnout, it will show up on your bottom line: less productivity, more stress, and lower-quality work. Employee wellness surveys will help you prevent employee burnout by nipping their biggest complaints in the bud.
- Increasing employee retention. Even if you don’t use your employee wellness surveys to improve your wellness programs yet, giving employees a voice matters. They need to know that they have some ownership in the way their jobs work. You can increase employee retention by listening to their wellness challenges and tailoring your programs to meet their needs. But at the very least, an employee wellness survey is a good start. Employees need to know that you’re taking their wellness seriously.
- Promoting a healthier workplace. Ideally, your workplace is already healthy. But if you understand the specific health and wellness challenges of your workforce, you can make it a far better place to work. And employees who are healthy are also more productive, more satisfied with their work, and will likely take less time off. That helps your business get more done while increasing the satisfaction your employees get from working.
- Improving your communication. Some companies may avoid employee wellness surveys because they’re afraid of what they might say. But this is a critical first step in fostering healthy communication. You need to know what your employees are thinking and feeling. The quality of your surveys—including insightful questions and accurate, anonymous responses—will improve your communication so you never feel out of the loop when it comes to employee wellness.
Example survey questions on employee wellness
When running your survey, it’s important to ask the right questions to get detailed insights from the answers. Here are some questions you could ask:
- I am satisfied with the company’s commitment to employee health and wellness.
- I am satisfied with the resources and support provided for physical and mental health.
- I am satisfied with the company’s policies on sick days and flexible schedules.
- I am satisfied with the company’s approach to stress management and well-being.
- I am satisfied with the work-life balance offered by the company.
- I am satisfied with the company’s policies on healthy food and physical activity.
- I am provided with adequate resources and support for physical and mental well-being.
- I am satisfied with the company’s on-site health facilities or their resources offered to access external health facilities (gyms, etc).
- Employees are encouraged to prioritize their health and well-being.
- I am satisfied with the company’s approach to health and wellness education.
- The company offers wellness programs or initiatives, such as fitness challenges or mental health workshops.
- There are opportunities for flexible schedules or remote work to support work-life balance.
The best practices for employee wellness surveys
If you’re going to foster a healthy work-life balance for your employees, it’s not enough to run a survey. You need those surveys to work. Let’s explore some ways you can build surveys to accurately capture and measure the feelings of employee well-being at your workplace:
- Anonymous answers. Wellness is a deeply personal topic. People may only feel comfortable sharing intimate details and concerns if they know they’ll be anonymous. So make sure you invest in a wellness survey platform where the survey results promise to be 100% anonymous. Make sure that you inform your employees that they will be anonymous—even the suspicion that they’re not anonymous can be enough to make some employees hesitant about sharing their concerns.
- Explain your objectives. Don’t just send out the survey and hope for the best. Give a brief explanation of the intent behind the survey. Let employees know that you’re considering investing in more wellness programs. Let them know that their answers can shape the nature of those programs. If they know their answers will impact the way you run your business, they may be more likely to push for the programs they know they need. This leads to more accurate responses.
- Include different types of question types. Multiple-choice answers can be great: asking employees to rate their current wellness levels, for example, is an ideal use of multiple-choice questions. You can use multiple-choice questions to measure the progress of your employees’ self-evaluated well-being over time. But don’t be afraid to mix in other types of questions. Ask open-ended questions so employees can give you what they want in their exact words.
- Measure your results over time. Speaking of results over time, make sure you schedule new employee wellness surveys in the future. Don’t you want to know how many employees revised their “1” on a scale of 1-10 to a “10”? Or maybe even just track slow progress? While an employee wellness survey on its own is worthwhile, you should also send them out periodically. Once every six months or once a quarter is a good start. Don’t overwhelm your employees with constant surveys, but do make sure you revisit the same questions so you can measure your progress against the answers from a previous period.
- Give your survey a “pilot test.” Ever heard of a television pilot? It’s when a TV company produces a small sample of a TV show and submits it to focus groups and small test audiences. The results of these tests help TV executives decide which shows to invest in. You can do something similar with your surveys. Run a small pilot test to look for issues with your survey questions before you submit them to the entire company.
Tips for how to address the wellness feedback you receive
With clear questions and objectives, your wellness surveys should help you identify how to improve employee wellness at your company. But there will be a point where your insights need to turn into action.
Start with a thorough analysis of the data you’ve received. Hopefully, you’ve run enough surveys that you have a large pool of answers you can sort through. Try to identify the most common answers to your questions. You may not be able to address every employee’s concern, but you can address the weaknesses that receive the most frequent mentions.
Next, take the results to your employees and engage them in the process. Share the statistical data without compromising the anonymity of the results. Tell them the ideas you’ve had for wellness programs and ask for their feedback. Will the programs you have in mind help employees with their concerns, or do you need some adjustments before you launch a wellness program?
Finally, come up with ways to encourage employee participation. Your employees need resources and support if they’re going to turn your wellness programs into action plans that genuinely improve their lives. This can feel like the missing piece of the puzzle for many: the support that backs up the good intentions you expressed in your wellness surveys.
Become a business that invests in employee wellness
Investing in employee wellness is investing in your business. Your employees are the backbone of what makes your business run. Their confidence, their feelings of well-being, and their engagement will all be major contributing factors to your success. If your employees are well, your company is well. If not, you have problems to address.
With employee wellness surveys, you can become a company that invests in the well-being of its employees. That’s a company willing to reinvest in its success—which can pay dividends for years. Request a demo or sign up for a free trial and start running employee wellness surveys today!