Workplace Wellbeing Surveys: Why They Matter For Your Business

Philip Cleave
June 21, 2023
Planning a workplace wellbeing program to improve staff wellness

When you consider that just 24% of staff believe that their organisation cares about their wellbeing, the need to better address mental health and wellness at work has never been more important.

Yet, talking about mental health and wellness in the workplace can be challenging. This is not helped by the fact that most employees only want to focus on their strengths, with the fear that if they talk about their personal challenges this could be viewed as a weakness.

Subsequently, many staff will avoid broaching the subject altogether, which can harm their engagement and performance levels, and leave others in the business unsure about the reasons behind the dip in their productive output.

Removing the stigma of discussions around employee mental health and wellness will help in the long term. However, conducting employee wellbeing surveys in your workplace, particularly if you administer them anonymously is a really good way of getting your staff to open up about their wellbeing.

What is an workplace wellbeing survey?

When we talk about employee wellbeing, we’re essentially referring to the holistic health and wellness of employees within the workplace, which includes all aspects ranging from their physical to their social welfare.

Subsequently, the employee wellbeing survey is designed to examine a number of factors that can directly impact workplace wellbeing such as workload, health benefits, work-life balance and management.

The aim of this survey is to get a better measure of employee wellness, determine where employee wellbeing is being compromised, and collect staff engagement ideas to improve wellbeing.

While traditionally, HR teams have looked to metrics such as absence rates and workplace turnover to assess staff wellness, the great thing about the staff wellbeing survey is that it addresses some of the underlying issues up front.

Why employee health and wellness matters

While poor staff health can have far reaching consequences that extend far beyond health insurance costs and employee absence, the benefits of employee wellbeing can stretch across many areas of your business from staff engagement to customer service.

If you’re not yet fully convinced about the importance of employee wellbeing, here are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Poor employee health reduces levels of engagement
  • Employee health issues can take a real toll on employee performance and productivity
  • High employee absence is linked to poor employee health and wellness

Yet when you’re regularly collecting feedback from your staff, and you have the right processes in place for improving their health and wellbeing, you’re more likely to experience the following:

  • Improved health outcomes
  • Increased engagement and job satisfaction
  • Improved workplace culture
  • Increased productivity

Benefits of workplace wellbeing surveys

While we’ve touched on the top-level advantages of getting regular feedback from your staff, there are some more detailed benefits that staff wellbeing surveys can provide for HR and management teams, that can be really useful in helping them to formulate wellness initiatives.

Here is an overview of some of the key ones:

  • Gaining an improved understanding of employee perspectives on the importance of health and wellness
  • Measuring the stress levels that your workforce is experiencing
  • Checking if your employees are aware of and have access to effective stress management techniques
  • Determining if any staff are taking appropriate health measures for any serious conditions
  • Assessing if there are any gaps in your current wellness programs and initiatives
  • Obtaining suggestions from your employees about how to improve your current wellness programs
  • Working to optimise medical insurance policies for staff
  • Assessing whether you need to implement any workplace ergonomic practices
  • Improving office policies to allow for more work-life balance
  • Increasing employee job satisfaction, while reducing turnover rates
  • Improving work-life balance

Wellbeing survey best practices

Having got up to speed with what a staff wellbeing survey is, why it matters to your business and the many benefits it can offer, we’re sure many of you are keen to crack on with a survey.

However, before you do so, it’s helpful to be aware of a few best practices if you want to maximise your survey’s engagement and results.

Ask diverse and compelling questions

Given that the goal of this survey is to uncover specific and actionable insights about your teams’ health and wellbeing. You don’t simply just want to analyse if things are good or bad. You also need to ask questions that allow you to get to the root of the issues. This means changing questions like, “How much time do you spend exercising?” to, “What’s your workout routine?”

A subtle change such as this should help you understand how fitness-conscious your staff are.

In addition to this, you’ll want to ask a mix of closed-ended and open-ended questions. Doing this will enable you to gather both measurable data and more detailed information, which help to explain why respondents have selected the answer options they’ve run with.

Keep your survey short and simple

In keeping with any other surveys you write, you’ll want to keep your wellness survey concise and straight to the point, as shorter surveys tend to have higher completion rates.

By contrast, if your employees are forced to complete a survey that takes any more than ten minutes, you’ll risk losing their interest. Not only this, but if you quickly gain a reputation for producing lengthy and boring surveys, it will be a lot harder to get anyone to complete any more of them moving forward.

Issue your survey via multiple channels

Your staff will typically receive many messages over the course of a working day, so it’s not unusual for them to miss a few.

Consequently, if you want to ensure they don’t miss any communications about your survey, it’s best to try and issue them across multiple channels if you can.

Besides issuing it using the traditional channel of email, think about sending it via your company intranet and any work messaging apps that you use too.  You might also think about reminding staff to complete it during any company or team meetings that you host.

Consider offering incentives to encourage survey participation

Whether it’s due to a lack of time, interest or simply the result of a bad experience with a previous survey’ they taken, unless you make your survey compulsory there will always be some staff who ignore it.

However, with the extra encouragement of some type of reward or incentive, it will be easier to get some of this audience to take your survey. And that incentive doesn’t need to be hugely expensive, it could be something as simple as an Amazon gift card.

However, one of the biggest incentives is being able to demonstrate to your staff that your team are really listening and acting on survey results.  If you can demonstrate that employee feedback leads to tangible change, more staff should be inclined to participate in the long run and have greater trust in your management team.

Examples of workplace wellbeing survey questions

Having researched the many reasons for carrying out a staff wellbeing survey and some best practices for running it, it’s useful to know some good questions to ask.

The questions for this type of survey typically explore the following areas, work-life balance, physical health and workload and stress.

Here are some sample questions for you to consider:

Work-life balance

  • Please rate the work-life balance in your role. (on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being extremely poor and ten being excellent)
  • Do you think the breaks you're given are sufficiently long enough for you? (yes / no)
  • Would you feel comfortable in asking your manager for support in sustaining a healthy work-life balance? (yes / no)
  • How frequently do your tasks drag into post-work hours? (very often, sometimes, never)
  • To what extent do you agree with this statement: “My organisation is committed to the health and wellbeing of its employees.” (based on a scale five-point Likert scale from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree)

Fitness, nutrition and health

  • Do you follow a regular exercise routine? (yes / no)
  • Would you join a fitness club (e.g. Pilates, yoga, cycling club), if your employer started one? (yes / no)
  • Do you skip breakfast or lunch while at work? (yes / no)
  • Have you ever experienced eyesight problems because of your screen time? (yes / no)
  • Does your neck, upper back, lower back, or elbows hurt while you work? (yes / no)

Workload and stress survey questions

  • My manager gives me a manageable workload. (yes / no)
  • To what extent do you agree with the following statement: “I often feel burnt out.” (based on a scale five-point Likert scale from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree)
  • I feel there are people I can speak to when I am feeling stressed at work. (yes / no)
  • Conversations about mental health and stress are normal at my company. (yes / no)
  • To what extent do you agree with the following statement: “Most days I look forward to coming to work.” (based on a scale five-point Likert scale from Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree)

These questions should give you a few ideas to help get you started, and you should also include a few open-ended questions, so people can expand on how they feel and provide you with a bit more insight to work with.  However, if you would like some more examples plus a sample template of how to best structure and layout your questions, you might like to view our customisable employee wellness survey template.

Measure and analyse your results

Once you’ve run your survey and you’ve got your results back, you need to see if you can spot any trends in your data.

If you’ve used rating or Likert scale questions, it will give you more to work with in terms of quantitative data to help you with this. Similarly, with open questions, if you have access to text analysis and word cloud tools, which are available for our own customers on our Pro plan or above, you’ll be able to identify common sentiments expressed by respondents.

For the best results, you need to frequently run this survey and use the same questions each time. If you can do this, you’ll be better able to identify developing trends and see how these change over time, which should help you to assess which areas of your wellbeing program are working and which areas you still need to improve.

Act on your feedback

Wherever you are currently in terms of any workplace wellness programs or initiatives to better manage staff stress or mental health issues, we’re sure most of you will have recognised from this piece the value of having ongoing staff feedback.

Not only will it enable you to better understand how your staff are feeling, but it will give you a better insight as to what you need to do improve your employees’ happiness and wellbeing. However, if you’re to experience the best results, you need to acknowledge and act on this feedback. If you can do that, you’ll have a happier, more engaged and productive workforce where people want to stay, and your business is more successful.

Maximise your survey’s success with the right tools

The questions you ask in your employee wellbeing survey, will be crucial to what you’re able to find out and the improvements you’re able to make. However, to attain the best results, you need to be using the right survey tools and delivering the best experiences.

Find out more

Get started and create your first survey

If you would like more information then please get in touch.