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Designing an Employee Wellness Survey for Your Company

Though it’s business-critical, tackling the subject of mental and physical health can be a tough task. However, an employee wellness survey can provide a powerful tool to help you take stock of your people’s health. 

How well does your company take care of its employees? 

Are your people feeling positive, supported and have a healthy work/life balance? Or are they stressed, burned out and feeling physically exhausted? 

Your people are your company’s most valuable asset. It’s their hard work, dedication and innovation that fuels your success. But if they’re going to perform at their best, they have to feel at their best. 

Unfortunately, in the modern workplace, employees are struggling like never before. Higher workloads, fast-paced environments and new technologies are contributing to an era of unrivalled stress that’s made burnout an all too common occurrence. 

So what can organizations do to take stock of their people’s mental, emotional and physical health? In this guide, we’ll explore how an employee wellness survey can help you support your workforce and deliver business success. 

employee wellness survey

In this guide you’ll learn…

The current state of employee wellbeing

How wellbeing impacts your operations

What is an employee wellness survey

How an employee wellness survey can boost your business

Questions to include in your employee wellness survey

How to analyze the results of your employee wellness survey

The Current State Of Employee Wellness

In an era where businesses are increasingly asking their people to achieve more with less, something has to give – and for employees, it’s often their wellbeing.

Workplace wellness has always been a keen consideration for employers, but during recent years many have faced a perfect storm of challenges that’s pushed it firmly to the top of their agendas.

In a relatively short space of time employees have had to deal with the impact and fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to remote work, social justice movements, economic upheavals, global instability and the ongoing climate crisis. It’s perhaps no wonder then that more and more people are finding it hard to keep their wellbeing in check.

Unfortunately, the nature of modern workplaces is only exacerbating the problem. A desire to drive better outcomes and improved performance is heaping pressure onto people. At the same time many of the tools and technologies that we’ve implemented to try and help employees are actually having a negative impact. Instant messaging platforms, remote meeting technology, time-tracking tools and our ubiquitous mobile devices mean that the line between work and life has become blurred.

Add it all together and we’ve inadvertently created an environment where people struggle to switch off, where they find it difficult to prioritize their own wellbeing, to take exercise, eat healthily and step away from their jobs. 

Inevitably it’s beginning to take its toll. Right now we’re seeing record levels of burnout among employees, along with rising absenteeism. As a result, wellness has also become a key driver for employees who are making decisions about their future, with many choosing to leave or accept roles based on its potential impact on their overall wellness. 

All of which brings us to the current state of employee wellness. With more and more people struggling with their mental, physical and emotional health, companies are being forced to act. That means investing in employee wellness is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a strategic imperative.

By the numbers: The business case for employee wellness

Just 24% of workers believe that their organization cares about their wellbeing.

Burnout costs businesses as much as $322 billion every year.

Employee burnout is on the rise with as many as three-quarters (75%) of professionals in North America experiencing it. 

69% of employees have experienced some form of burnout while working from home. 

Over half of employees (53%) have done their job in the last three months despite not feeling well.

employee wellness survey

How Employee Wellness Impacts Your Business

Some of the world’s biggest businesses invest billions of dollars into employee wellness every year. They’re not just doing it because they want to be seen as great employers, or because it’s the right thing to do. They’re doing it because employee wellness directly impacts your bottom line. 

When your employees are happy and healthy they perform better. That’s a fact. But the opposite is also true. When your employees are unwell then it can have a negative impact on their output. Indeed, low productivity, high turnover, absenteeism and job dissatisfaction are just some of the measurable impacts that come from failing to look after your people’s wellbeing. 

And we’re not just talking about their physical health either, though that’s undeniably important. In our fast-paced modern society, emotional and mental health are becoming increasingly important too. That’s because more and more people are now experiencing workplace burnout, suffering side effects that range from feelings of exhaustion and energy depletion to negativity and reduced efficiency

It’s no surprise then that employee wellness is one of the key contributors to the current battle for talent. Not only are levels of health-related absenteeism on the rise but an increasing number of employees are now actively leaving their roles due to concerns over their wellbeing, driven to search for new workplaces that actively invest in their wellness. 

It’s clear that investing in employee wellness can drive positive benefits across every aspect of your operation. So why aren’t more companies doing more to protect their workforce’s wellbeing? 

The biggest issue for many is that they simply don’t know where to start. 

What Is An Employee Wellness Survey 

Typically your employees want to highlight their strengths in the workplace. They want to tell you when they’re performing above expectations, delivering wins for the company or striving for that promotion. What they’re less good at however, is communicating when they’re being challenged. 

As a result conversations about employee wellness are all too infrequent. It may be that your people simply don’t feel comfortable discussing the subject. Or they may even be worried that talking about their mental, physical or emotional wellbeing might be perceived as a weakness. But whatever the cause, many organizations simply don’t know that their employees are facing wellness issues until it’s too late. 

But that’s where an employee wellness survey comes in. 

So what are they? An employee wellness survey is a questionnaire that your company can use to measure the overall health and wellbeing of your people. In many ways it’s similar to an employee engagement survey or a company culture survey, only here the goal is to measure people’s perceptions about health and wellbeing. 

Typically conducted anonymously, an employee wellness survey provides your people with a forum where they can provide you with open and honest feedback on their wellbeing. It’s a platform for them to share their concerns, to tell you about their energy levels and how stressed out they are. 

employee wellness survey

Why Your Company Needs An Employee Wellness Survey 

Conducting an employee wellness survey can provide leaders with invaluable data that can signpost potential problems on the horizon. It can tell you about people’s workloads, about their stress levels, about their work/life balance and their wellbeing. 

Done right you can find out what’s contributing to these concerns, what’s bringing people down and what can be done to alleviate the issues. It’s a way of taking your company’s pulse, to see what your employees are feeling and what you can do to help. 

It’s particularly useful in today’s climate where many people are working in remote or hybrid settings. Businesses can often find it hard to keep track of exactly how their people are feeling when they’re not physically present, which can lead to issues such as mental and physical health being overlooked. But with an employee wellness survey, you can ensure that you always have a line of sight on how your workers are feeling and take action to move the needle on wellbeing over the long term. 

Another benefit of conducting an employee wellness survey is that it shows your people that you care.

The simple act of enabling them to provide their feedback and offering them a platform to share their issues sends a powerful message that shows them how important their health is to you. It tells your people that you don’t only worry about what they do during their working hours, but what their life looks like outside of work too. That can be a powerful motivator on its own, it can also help to boost morale, improve retention and signal to candidates that yours is the kind of company that they will want to work for.

The Benefits of Employee Wellness Surveys

✔️Measure stress levels.

✔️Gain an improved awareness of how your people are feeling.

✔️Enables you to track wellbeing over time.

✔️Provides tangible data to help you improve employee wellness.

✔️Helps you to focus on wellbeing initiatives and target investment. 

✔️Reduce absenteeism.

✔️Spot and tackle issues before they become a business concern.

✔️Gauge the effectiveness of your employee wellness activities. 

✔️Ensure your people get the support they need to prioritize their health. 

✔️ Identify your company as a caring and conscientious employer. 

employee wellness survey

How to Design and Conduct Your Employee Wellness Survey 

Not all surveys are created equally. So before you rush off to send out your employee wellness survey there are some best practices that you should bear in mind to ensure that your work is as effective as it can be.

1. Ask compelling questions

The goal of your employee wellness survey is to gather as much information as possible, so you need to take time to design your questions so that they can deliver the kind of actionable insight you need. Simply asking if people feel good or bad won’t cut it. Instead, you need to include a mix of qualitative and quantitative questions so that you can gather both measurable data and valuable insight. 

Finally, be sure to collect demographic information as part of your survey. Information like location, gender, tenure and race will help you sort your data and identify trends among different groups. 

2. Keep it short and simple

Make your survey too long, or too demanding, and your people will either rush through it or abandon it entirely. That means that if you want to maximize its impact you should keep things short and simple. By making sure that every question is targeted, you can ensure that you gather as much data as possible while still keeping the task manageable for your people. 

3. Make sure it’s a regular activity

An employee wellness survey isn’t something that you should conduct once and then file away to never see the light of day again. It’s something that should be an ongoing activity, a regular touchpoint for your people to share their thoughts and feelings about the current state of their wellbeing.

Most companies find that an annual cadence is the best approach to scheduling their surveys as this gives them an opportunity to track wellness over time and measure the impact of their initiatives. But don’t be afraid to conduct the occasional ad-hoc questionnaire, especially if you’re experiencing unique circumstances that might negatively impact your people.

4. Tell people why you’re doing it

When it comes to creating an effective employee wellness survey don’t forget to tell your people why you’ve decided to conduct one. This helps to create a sense of transparency which will encourage them to answer your questions openly and honestly. 

5. Address privacy concerns up front

People are naturally reluctant to share personal information about their health and wellness. That means that privacy concerns could be a barrier that stops your employee wellness survey from gathering the insight that you need to deliver real change. 

That’s why it’s essential to ease any potential concerns that your employees might have upfront. Clearly communicate to your people how their data will be used and assure them that their responses will be handled confidentially. You may also want to inform them that you’ll be following relevant data protection guidelines to further ease any concerns that they might have. This will help to build the trust that you need to gather open and honest data. 

6. Utilize multiple channels

Your employees are bombarded with a multitude of emails, memos, Teams messages and noticeboard bulletins every day. With so much information being fired at them it can be easy for things to slip through the cracks. So you should use every avenue that’s available to you to communicate why and how you’re conducting your survey. From the staff intranet to team meetings and even company-wide emails – the more touch points you create the greater the chance that your employees will engage with your survey.

7. Offer incentives

Employee wellness surveys can be an incredibly impactful tool, but only if you can gather as much data as possible to create an accurate representation of where your workforce is at. The problem, as we’ve already explored, is that modern employees are often overworked and that can mean completing your survey can fall to the bottom of their “to-do” lists

If you want to boost response rates don’t be afraid to offer incentives. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant – it could simply be a lunch voucher or an entry into a prize draw – but this can be enough to encourage your employees to fill out your questionnaires. Software like Bucketlist Rewards offers a huge selection of personalized rewards, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, gift cards, branded swag and more to reward your team with and to incentivize survey responses. Click here to learn more about Bucketlist!

8. Don’t forget to say “thank you”

This may sound simple, but don’t underestimate the impact that a simple “thank you” can have. By sending a follow-up message to employees who have filled out the survey you cannot only thank them for their time, but you can also emphasize the fact that you are actively listening to people’s issues and taking action to resolve them. You can even use this opportunity to flag any immediate trends that you’ve spotted and tell your employees that you are actively taking steps to address the information the survey has communicated. 

employee wellness survey

39 Questions To Ask In Your Employee Wellness Survey 

To get you started, here are a few questions that you might want to consider including when you are creating your own employee wellness survey. 

Of course, the specific questions that you include will depend on your business, the industry you operate in and the kind of information that you are looking to gather from your employees. But by using the examples below as a guideline, you can shape your own employee wellness survey to ensure that it delivers the best possible results. 

General questions

How many hours of sleep, on average, do you get a night?

How many breaks do you take on a typical workday?

In the last six months, have you considered quitting your job?

Would you recommend our company as a positive place to work?

What can we do to support your wellbeing? 

Work/life balance questions

On a scale of 1-10 please rate your current level of work/life balance?

Are you given the tools and resources you need to support better work/life balance?

What can we do as an organization to improve your work/life balance? 

How often do you handle work-related tasks outside of your contracted hours? 

Is your home life ever impacted by what happens at work?

On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the importance of flexible and remote working policies? 

Do you have time to pursue hobbies and interests outside of work?

As a company, do you feel we are doing enough to support your work/life balance? 

Workload and stress level questions

Do you ever lose sleep because of work pressure? 

Is your workload manageable?

How often are you stressed by work? 

On a scale of 1-10, please rate your current levels of work stress.

Do you have access to the support you need to manage workplace stress? 

Do you feel burnt out? 

Do you feel you can communicate openly with your manager about workloads and stress levels? 

In your opinion, what can we do to reduce work-related stress?

Fitness and nutrition questions

Do you have access to healthy snacks at work?

Do you skip breakfast or lunch while at work? 

Do you have the opportunity to leave your workstation to take a break? 

What specific fitness activities interest you?

employee wellness survey

Questions around mental health

Are you often emotionally drained by work?

Are conversations about mental health and stress normal at our company?

Do you have someone at work that you can speak to if you have concerns about your mental health?

Does our company benefits package offer the support you need for your mental health?

Do you regularly experience negative thoughts about your job?

On a scale of 1-10, how difficult do you find it to focus throughout the workday?

Analyzing the impact of the work environment

Have you experienced any eyesight problems because of your work? 

Do you experience physical pain while you work? 

Do you have access to adequate work equipment, whether you work onsite and at home? 

Would you be interested in a standing desk?

Questions about company policy

Do you postpone or go without medical procedures because of insufficient insurance coverage?

What wellness-promoting initiatives would you like to see in the workplace?

Would you join a fitness club if we provide access to one? 

Do you feel like the benefits provided to you support your overall health?

How To Analyze The Results Of Your Employee Wellness Survey  

Once you’ve sent out your survey and gathered your responses there’s just one step to go before you can unlock insight on your employees’ wellness – and that’s analysis. 

By analyzing the cold hard data from your employee wellness survey, you can highlight trends, spot potential issues and form a plan of action to help improve health and wellbeing across your organization. It may sound like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. 

Here are some top tips and best practices to get you started:

Look for themes:

When you’re faced with a mass of data, it can sometimes be difficult to work out what it is trying to tell you. A good way to approach your employee wellness survey analysis is to break the findings down into themes. Let’s say that you repeatedly see concerns over work/life balance, this is something you’re going to want to drill into and turn into an action. 

Benchmark your data:

Once you’ve collected your data, be sure to set benchmarks. These will help you to set achievable goals and track your progress over time. They will also enable you to compare your efforts to best practices within the wider industry so that you can see how you compare to the rest of your sector when it comes to employee wellness. 

Take note of employee suggestions:

Asking your employees about their wellness is only one part of the equation, the other is that you actually have to act on their suggestions. If you don’t, then you’re telling your people that their feedback doesn’t matter to you, which at best will hamper your efforts, and at worst can make them start looking for an employee who does listen to them. So make sure that you turn your analysis into action. You don’t have to implement every idea, but a few strategic investments can go a long way to showing that you care. 

Share your results:

If you want your people to join your mission to improve company wellness, then don’t be afraid to share your data with them. After all, you have nothing to hide. In fact, sharing your data will help to boost your transparency and trustworthiness. It will also help to get people on board with your initiatives and show why you are conducting the activity in the first place. 

employee wellness survey

FAQs

What is an employee wellness survey?

An employee wellness survey is a questionnaire that your company can use to measure the overall health and wellbeing of your people. 

Why is employee wellness important? 

Not only is it the right thing to do, but ensuring your employees are healthy and happy helps to boost your bottom line.

How do you ask employees about their wellbeing?

Health and wellbeing can be difficult subjects to tackle. Ensuring that your employee wellness survey gathers information anonymously can help to relax your workers and ensure they can contribute openly and honestly.

What do you do with the results of your employee wellness survey? 

The short answer is to put them into action. The entire goal of an employee wellness survey is to gather actionable insight so that you can target your activity to make a genuine difference to your people’s lives. 

Putting Analysis Into Action 

Right now employee wellness is in crisis. Across the world, people feel overworked, overwhelmed and under appreciated. As your most important asset, it’s vital that you take steps to ensure your people are in the best shape to do their best work. 

Investing in employee wellness is crucial. But without insight, you could just be throwing money at the problem without creating any meaningful change. That’s why employee wellness surveys are such a powerful tool to help you target your efforts and track their progress over time. Think of it as a regular health check for your organization, an ongoing initiative that can leave a lasting impact on your employees’ wellbeing and your business’s bottom line.

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