Employee wellness is linked to lower turnover rates, lower healthcare premiums, and higher employee performance. Understanding these benefits, 48 percent of organizations made investments in employee wellness by increasing their well-being budgets in 2020.
Employee wellness programs come in many forms. You can fund health insurance options, employee gatherings and social clubs, mental health programming, healthier snacks, exercise classes, subsidies for stress management programs, better bonuses for performance to show employee appreciation, or more flexible schedules.
In a perfect world, you could implement all of these employee wellness programs. However, resources are finite. As you consider the benefits of investing more in employee wellness, you need to determine which programs matter most to your employees.
Conducting employee wellness surveys helps you narrow down which programs could make the biggest impact.
What is an employee wellness survey?
The purpose of an employee wellness survey is to capture the current state of your employees’ overall well-being. You could administer this survey once a year if things are going well or twice a year if you have significant employee turnover.
Depending on what your company already offers, you can design these surveys either to help you monitor the success of your current employee wellness programs or help you decide what to invest in as you build out a new employee wellness program.
A comprehensive employee wellness survey typically checks on several major categories of employee wellness:
- Overall well-being
- Work-life balance
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Social connection
- Work culture
- Employee benefits
Each of these categories is integral to keeping your employees happy, healthy, and productive.
Why do you need employee wellness surveys?
Well-crafted employee wellness survey questions help you determine how to spend your employee wellness budget. For example, if most of your team members are parents, childcare benefits and flexible schedules might make a bigger impact than investing in healthy snacks and employee gatherings. Alternately, if your team struggles with diet or daily exercise, providing free tracking apps might help them develop healthier routines.
Employee wellness surveys also help you monitor the success of your employee wellness programs. As you build out your programs, the first set of employee wellness survey questions will serve as your baseline and allow you to measure success. Resend the surveys regularly and build reports to determine how effective each program has been.
What should you ask in employee wellness surveys?
A good survey will have employee wellness survey questions that cover the seven categories mentioned above. Getting a baseline on these categories, either in one big survey or a series of smaller surveys, will allow you to develop your initial program and save data to measure your program’s success.
The next section explores 10 employee wellness survey questions to help you get to know your employees better and address each aspect of employee wellness.
1. Overall well-being: What are three aspects of your overall health that you feel good about?
This broad question will tell you what your employees are already taking care of and, by extension, what wellness programs you might not need to invest in. If most employees say they feel great about their exercise habits, perhaps investing in gym memberships for your employees won’t make a big difference in overall wellness.
For this question, you could develop a list of 10–20 different aspects of health, ideally tied to potential wellness programs, and let employees select the ones they already feel good about. You could also pose this as an open-ended question and ask them to provide short answers.
2. Overall well-being: What are three aspects of your overall health that you would like to improve?
Just as the first “overall well-being” question helps narrow down what programs you don’t need to invest in, this question helps you decide where you make investments. This could be a short answer or multiple-choice question. The multiple-choice option will help you make quick decisions about existing employee wellness services. But making this an open-ended question might uncover needs that you didn’t know existed.
3. Work-life balance: Does your work schedule leave time to take care of your daily needs?
Once you understand where your employees thrive and where they struggle, begin asking more detailed questions about different aspects of employee wellness.
Work-life balance, an employee’s ability to balance their job with their other priorities, is key to preventing burnout and ensuring your employees have rich, well-rounded lives. Asking a simple question like this one about their work schedule can point to whether you need to implement a more flexible office schedule or provide your employees with more resources.
For instance, if respondents say they struggle to find time to eat healthy meals, mandating longer lunch breaks or providing healthy lunch options in the office are two ways to help ensure your employees have time for a nutritious meal.
4. Physical health: What do you do to take care of your physical well-being?
Taking care of physical health, which includes everything from going to the gym and eating well to going to the doctor, plays a key role in an employee’s performance, longevity, and happiness. Digging into the specifics on your employee’s physical health practices will show you how they’re taking care of themselves and which areas need room for improvement.
As with the overall well-being questions, the physical health questions can either be multiple choice or short answer. A multiple choice question will help your employees think of their physical health from multiple angles. While an employee might report that they run 10 miles every day to care for their physical health, they might forget to mention that they also get eight hours of sleep.
5. Physical health: How does your job enable you to take care of your physical health?
Asking your employees what aspects of their job enable them to take care of their physical health can both help them see how their job makes them healthier in the long term and help you pinpoint what you’re already doing right.
Questions that ask for specific, positive feedback can also provide great examples that different departments can copy and help you identify teams that are already putting wellness into practice.
6. Mental health: What tools do you use to manage stress?
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Stress not only hurts performance and decision-making, but also has negative impacts on your body.
Even though mental health plays a key role in wellness, asking employees about mental health can be difficult. Many employees are nervous about sharing their struggles with their friends and family, let alone their employers.
Given the sensitivity around this topic, you can ask what employees are actively doing to manage their mental health. While these results won’t explicitly speak to struggles, they may show you how many employees are managing their mental health, what kinds of issues they’re managing, and what tools the rest of the office might benefit from.
7. Social connections: Do you feel connected to your coworkers?
Social connection inside the office is key to both building a strong team and creating a happy work environment. On average, employees spend eight hours at work every day. Work makes up the majority of our conscious lives. Since people need strong social connections to be happy, a work environment that doesn’t offer strong social connections can leave employees feeling isolated.
Asking about connections to other coworkers can indicate whether you need to put more time and effort into funding office social gatherings.
8. Social connections: Who is in your support system outside of work?
Social connections outside of work matter just as much as social connections in the office. While we spend a lot of our time with our coworkers, they shouldn’t make up the entirety of our support network. Making sure that your employees have solid social networks outside of work or friends and family they go home to after a long day will have a major impact on their physical and mental health.
If employees don’t have strong support systems outside of work, you might want to allow more flexible schedules or host fewer social events for your employees to encourage them to spend more time focusing on their lives outside of work.
9. Work culture: If someone you knew were applying to this company, what would you tell them about it?
Work culture can be one of the most important metrics for employee wellness and one of the most difficult to measure. Work culture comes from the shared values, belief systems, attitudes, and unwritten assumptions that people in a workplace share. While companies determine some aspects of their culture through conscious effort, other parts of workplace culture often form through unwritten rules and practices.
In a healthy work culture, employees trust each other, are motivated to work independently, ask important questions, and challenge the status quo when needed. On the other hand, a bad work culture might result in micromanaging, cutting out early, meeting for twice as long as necessary, or unfair workloads.
Given that the specifics of work culture are often unspoken, asking direct questions about it can be challenging. Instead, short-answer questions that try to get employees to examine their situation from another perspective can help them understand what aspects of the company culture work well and what aspects of culture are toxic.
While employee wellness programs might not be the only things impacting work culture, well-rounded and healthy employees are often less toxic, more functional teammates.
10. Employee benefits: What are all the benefits that your employer provides to support your health and well-being?
Employee benefits — such as healthcare, mental health services, paid time off, and bonuses — all play a key role in employee wellness. Better benefits allow employees to live healthier lives by enabling them to really rest on their paid time off, access good health care, and work with a professional on their mental health. Employee benefits like bonuses also help create a work culture that rewards employees when they go above and beyond.
While employee benefit programs are key components of employee wellness, sometimes employees don’t know about all the programs a company offers. Asking about which employee benefits your team members know about and use helps you identify which programs you need to advertise better and which programs you might need to invest in more.
A powerful solution for developing employee wellness surveys
Once you have your questions sorted out, it’s time to find the right survey platform. You can use Jotform’s survey templates to create your new employee wellness survey and customize it to fit your needs. Jotform offers over 80 free templates that include employee wellness survey questions.
Surveys are simple to create and customize. The survey maker lets you easily add your company logo and your company’s brand colors and fonts. Drag questions to reorder them and add or delete sections. The survey maker even has conditional logic that helps you customize surveys based on employee responses.
Survey submissions are stored securely in your Jotform account, which is GDPR- and CCPA-compliant and offers a 256-bit SSL connection. This feature is important for employee wellness surveys, which often contain potentially sensitive information.
With these tools, building employee wellness surveys is a simple process. Taking time to send out these surveys, securely store your data, and monitor changes in your results over time will save you time and money down the road.
Determining the right employee wellness survey questions to ask early on — and then consistently checking in on the results — allows you to tailor your programs to meet your employees’ needs. These tailored services will help you lower your healthcare premiums, increase employee retention, and avoid overspending on unproductive programs.