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How to create a wellbeing survey

Wellbeing surveys help you understand employees to keep your business running smoothly.

Employee wellbeing is a critical element of your company’s success. It affects employee engagement, retention, and productivity, which impacts your bottom line. Employee wellbeing is essential now, as many companies are dealing with remote, hybrid, or return-to-office situations with COVID-19 still lingering in the background of everyone’s minds.

Employee wellbeing is the overall physical, emotional, and economic health of your employees. It is influenced by company culture, relationships with coworkers and managers, work hours, wages, workplace safety, work-life balance, and more. Wellbeing will vary by employee and is also impacted by sources outside of work.

A current survey from Alight reveals that in 2021, reports less than half of US employees positively perceive their overall wellbeing—a significant decline from 2020. How do your employees feel? Find out by creating a wellbeing survey.

An employee wellness survey—also called a wellbeing survey—measures various facets of wellbeing. Combined with metrics for absenteeism, turnover, and employee engagement surveys, wellness survey data reveals the underlying causes for issues. Administered monthly, your wellbeing surveys will help you address problems early and identify trends that need your attention.

There are countless benefits of wellbeing surveys. Let’s look at the most significant advantages. 

Employers who administer surveys and take action on results will be viewed more positively than those who don’t. Employees won’t hesitate to recommend their workplace to others and this will enhance the public perception of the workplace. MetLife’s 2021 US Employee Benefit Trends Study reports that attention to employee wellbeing is a key determinant of a company’s future success.

Just knowing that your employer is interested in your wellbeing and wants to know more about what they can do to help increases employee satisfaction. Employees are less interested in short-term, fun rewards than they are in overall wellness. And having happy employees matters.

80% of employees feel stressed out at work. That’s a high number. How do your employees feel? What is causing them to feel stressed? Your survey should address this head-on so that you can implement solutions that alleviate stressors. Less stress equals happier employees.

When you administer an employee wellbeing survey, you’re letting employees know that you are concerned about them. By acting on the data from your survey, you’re showing them that you value them and want to offer support for their wellness, be it through physical, mental, financial, or other means. 

You may have wellness programs in place, but are they working well? Are there gaps in your initiatives? Employees’ needs change over time. By administering an employee wellness survey monthly or quarterly, you can stay current with your efforts—and offer employees what they need.

Wellness surveys and the resulting offerings increase employee morale, decrease stress, and improve your company culture. All of this leads to improved employee engagement.

According to Gallup, the impacts of employee health and wellbeing are not only felt at an employee level but at a company level. Consider this: $322 billion of turnover and lost productivity globally due to employee burnout, and $20 million additional lost opportunity for every 10,000 workers due to struggling or suffering employees. 

When an employee is unwell, they are less likely to be able to become engaged at work. Whether they are suffering from mental or physical health issues, employees will find it impossible to make the necessary commitment to their work. 

Physical or mental illnesses may cause employees to take days off from work. Keep in mind that stress, depression, and anxiety are important and very difficult mental health issues. Offering wellness programs will help employees be healthier, happier, and more present at work.

Healthy employees are more likely to be productive. When employees feel physically or mentally unwell, they simply will not work to their full potential because they cannot do so. They are also more prone to accidents at work.

SurveyMonkey asked thousands of employees across the US about burnout, and 47% replied that they had felt burnt out during the previous six months. Improving employee wellness will help you avoid the risk of burnout and create a healthier workplace culture.

Now that you understand the importance of employee wellbeing, it’s time to talk about ways to evaluate how your employees are doing.

What prompted you to create an employee wellness survey? Are there specific wellness topics you want to explore? What do you want to measure? Answering these questions will help you create your survey goals.

Take your answers from above and use them to craft your survey questions. Make sure you have some open questions for employees to express their answers in their own words. Once you have a draft completed, submit it to internal stakeholders for review and feedback before sending it out to your employees. If you predict that your employees will not respond, you may want to incentivize participation.

Review survey data to identify your wellness initiatives' focus. Look for data trends and read open-text answers to ensure you have the complete picture. 

The purpose of administering the survey is to determine where you need to take action. Draft a roadmap of how you’ll turn your data into a well-thought-out plan of action.

Put your plan into action. In a month, readminister the wellness survey, revising it to reflect your current wellbeing programs. Find out where gaps exist, and work on a plan for making your program more complete.

Here are a few quick tips for your employee wellbeing surveys:

  • Keep it short: Respect your employees’ time by keeping your survey as brief and concise as possible. And shorter surveys have higher completion rates!
  • Keep the first question(s) easy to answer: Ease into the survey by asking easy questions before you get into more intimate health and wellbeing topics.
  • Allow open-ended responses: Open-ended questions provide you with more information directly from the employees. You’ll get more details and discover things you may not have found without the open-text answers.
  • Ask compelling and diverse questions: Retain employees’ interest with compelling questions they’ll want to answer. Switch up your question types as well.
  • Offer incentives: Knowing that you’re planning to create or improve your employee wellness program is a huge reward in itself, but incentives such as gift cards, time off, or a monetary payment will encourage employees to complete your survey.
  • Define use: Explicitly state that the surveys are completely anonymous, confidential, and will only be used to create the employee wellness program.
  • Ask leading questions: Don’t put your opinion or desired answer into the questions.
  • Ask double-barreled questions: Ask one question at a time to avoid confusion.
  • Ask vague questions: Be clear. If survey participants don’t understand what you’re asking, they can’t give you a good answer.
  • Make every question required: To get balanced data, don’t allow questions to be skipped.

We’d like to help you get started with a few employee wellbeing survey question examples. Feel free to use these or tweak them to fit your needs.

  • On a scale of 1-10, rate your work-life balance.
  • How often do your tasks require you to work beyond business hours?
  • Are you able to balance your personal activities with your workload?
  • Do you exercise regularly?
  • How many hours per week do you engage in physical activity?
  • Do your back, neck, or elbows hurt while you work at your desk?
  • Do you ever miss lunch due to your workload?
    • How often do you miss lunch due to your workload?
  • Does your manager give you a reasonable workload?
    • Have you discussed your workload with your manager?
  • Do you ever feel burnt out?
  • Would your manager understand if you took a mental health day off?
  • Do you have negative thoughts about your job?
    • What kind of negative thoughts do you have about your job?
  • Do you feel supported and respected in your close relationships at work?
    • At home?
  • Of the wellbeing initiatives the company has in place, which ones provide you with the most value? 

Of course, these are just a sampling of the questions you can ask, and you can format any of these or your own questions in the way that best suits your style. Use skip logic, N/A as an answer choice, or question randomization where appropriate.

Employee wellbeing surveys are handy for assessing how well your company addresses employee wellness. Find out where your employees need support, devise a roadmap for your wellness plan, and take action to reap the benefits for your employees and your company. Create your employee wellbeing survey today with SurveyMonkey!