Wellness Surveys: Questions to Get to the Heart of Employee Wellbeing

September 13, 2022 Anna Chmura

employee wellness surveys

How well is your organization taking care of its employees?

A recent Gallup report shockingly found only 24% of workers strongly agree that their organization cares about their wellbeing, and 71% of experiencing burnout are less likely to report it because of that.

Organizations are brainstorming new ways to make their working environment as healthy as possible to reduce psychological and physiological threats like anxiety, burnout, and stress. As you read on, we’ll uncover how employee wellness surveys are a useful tool for organizations to educate themselves on employee wellbeing, as well as how to support wellness initiatives.

work life balance

How well do you support your employees’ wellbeing?

When it comes to supporting employees’ wellbeing there’s no specific way – at Workhuman® we look at it like this: our motto is “make work more human” and that means making a conscious effort to support employee needs. Whether it’s flexible work hours, prioritizing one’s personal time, or encouraging fitness and wellness goals with discounts and perks.

But, incorporating these actions is easier said than done.

Depending on company size, gaining feedback from each employee can be a struggle – formal check-ins only provide so much detail and don’t always get at the truth.

Going forward, keep in mind the difference between understanding individual needs and the needs that must be tailored to the whole organization.

Wellness surveys provide these insights through anonymous input and as to not intimidate employees from being honest with how they feel about their workplace, management, etc.

Remember, employee wellness accounts for an employee’s overall happiness, and the happier your employees are, the more motivated they will be to work.

Benefits of employee wellness

Employees who are happy with their company’s support show higher rates of job satisfaction. In a Microsoft study, 48% of respondents left their job because of mental health issues or lack of work-life balance, and 21% said flexibility in work hours or locations were an issue.

Implementing strategies that help employee wellbeing can have significant benefits to overall ROI. Harvard researchers discovered that employee wellness programs save companies $3.27 for every dollar spent in health care costs.

It’s clear: investing in employee wellness leads to higher engagement and better business outcomes. What’s not to like?

workplace wellness programs

What is an employee wellness survey?

Surveys are a great place to start when it comes to measuring anything regarding employee perception, opinion, or feelings about something. A company survey on wellness assesses overall health and wellbeing of employees through a holistic approach, focusing on areas of wellness like physical, mental, social, environmental, etc.

This investment in understanding employee needs helps move the needle on long-term goals involving employee productivity, innovation, and overall company culture.

Companies can also utilize surveys to supplement other HR initiatives. If employee engagement is an issue, pulse surveys are an easy way to provide program administrators with insights and early warning signals on employee job satisfaction , work life balance, and energy. With many workers continuing to work from home, this helps keep leaders in touch with the “pulse” of what their employees are thinking and feeling.

How do you deploy an employee wellness survey?

It’s recommended that wellness surveys are collected anonymously. This contributes to why some respondents tend to be less than completely honest, especially when discussing personal topics such as mental health and finances.

But an anonymous employee wellbeing survey could also allow employees to be more honest about their feelings. Employees should feel comfortable knowing they won’t be judged based on responses.

Benefits of an employee wellness survey

Employees desire an organization that aligns with their own principles.

When crafted with relevant and strategic questions around how employees feel, wellness surveys give organizations valuable data to look into which aspects of employee wellness are needed, what’s working, and what requires improvement.

These wellness surveys results produce an effective action plan for an organization’s journey to creating a human centric culture.

Also, surveys give employees the potential to discover things they didn’t even know about themselves. For example, one employee could thrive in an office environment while others may find it difficult to concentrate, affecting their overall workload.

In a Gallup survey, 54% of employees revealed they would look for another job if they were required to return to the office and 38% of hybrid workers said they would do so as well.

Understanding what matters to each employee will help you balance the needs of the business along with the needs of the individual.

answering survey questions

Examples of health and employee wellness survey questions

Topics and questions asked in an employee wellness survey are dependent on your organization and the desired outcome of the wellness survey.

Companies can partner with a survey platform or work in-house with HR leaders and executives to narrow down what to ask employees. Surveys can vary from yes/no, Likert scale, or open-ended. Here are a few examples of questions to include in an employee wellness survey:

Emotional well-being

  • Are you stressed at work?
  • Do you experience sleeplessness because of work pressure?
  • What percentage of your overall stress would you say is work-related?
  • How often do you feel like you have a day that you would classify as “bad” or “stressful”?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how difficult do you find it to focus and stay on task throughout the workday? (in the office)
  • On a scale of 1-10, how difficult do you find it to focus and stay on task throughout the workday? (at home)


  • On a scale of 1-10, what would you say your average daily stress level is?
  • What would you say your average stress level is at work?
  • What would you say your average daily stress level is outside of work?
  • On a scale of 1-10, what percent of your overall stress would you attribute to work?
  • How much do you agree with the following statements?
  • I rarely feel stressed.
  • I am well-equipped to manage stressful situations.

Social well-being and psychological safety

  • On a scale of 1-10, are people at this organization able to bring up problems and tough issues?
  • I feel safe to take a risk in this organization.
  • It is difficult to ask other members of this organization for help.
  • On a scale of 1-10, no one at this organization would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.
  • Working with members of this organization, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.
  • If I make a mistake at this organization, it is often held against me.
  • People at this organization sometimes reject others for being different.

share office policies around wellness widely

Analyzing employee wellness survey results

Wellness survey results should not be accepted without acknowledging limitations. A positive score for a particular variable does not attest to how each individual employee feels, since they are company-wide results.

To gain further insight, organizations should think about surveys at the departmental level.

A survey is just the beginning. It’s important to take action from what you’ve learned. From these wellness surveys, it’s the uncovered trends and patterns that allow for meaningful decisions to be incorporated throughout your organization.

For example, if stress is causing employees to lose focus on their work, establish a required, 10-minute mid-day break that allows employees to reset their mind through deep breathing or moving their body.

analyze current wellness programs

Best practices for employee wellness surveys

Narrow down what you’re looking for. Based on long-term goals, provide follow-up surveys after wellness initiatives are implemented. By adding this comparative data, you can see how employees are feeling before and after the initiative.

You may want to consider benchmarking results against similar organizations to see how their employee wellness differs, gaining insight on employee opinions in the industry.

Also, soliciting regular feedback shows employees their company cares about their wellbeing and how they perceive their overall work environment. Consider scheduling the survey during slower periods so that employees can devote the necessary time to it.

Choosing when to conduct a survey can skew results either positively or negatively, so try to avoid stressful periods that may bring forth an unrealistic picture of typical employee satisfaction.

And most importantly, keep diversity, equity, and inclusion top-of-mind. Different demographic groups are impacted by wellness issues differently, and experiences vary across racial and ethnic groups, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc.

Make sure support and resources are provided to these employees that coincides with their feedback.

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Why are employee wellness surveys important?

Wellness surveys give employers a chance to put their employees’ health first and identifies links between stress, mental and physical health, and overall wellbeing.

With this proactive approach, organizations can identify action steps toward wellness programs, supplement their needs, and create long-term investments for the business.

What factors go into an employee wellness culture survey?

What’s put in your wellness survey depends on your specific organizational goals toward a culture of wellbeing. Survey questionnaires should remain inclusive to all employee demographics and be submitted anonymously so respondents feel comfortable sharing personal opinions.

Also think about timing and how often you should distribute surveys, along with follow-up if applicable, based on urgency of the matter.

How do you ask an employee about their wellbeing?

Be cautious and mindful of one’s current situation, as some employees may be hesitant to open up about their struggles.

If respondents choose to opt out of survey research, share other methods of open communication on wellbeing topics like employee resource groups (ERGs). Giving your employees options to share their voice demonstrates your organization’s investment in their health.

What do you do with employee wellness survey results?

Review and reflect on your survey results – this is the time to really understand what employees want or feel about wellness programs throughout the organization.

Present results in easy-to-read graphics to share with managers and employees, along with a game plan for how you’ll execute wellness initiatives to support them.

Post survey, measure how these programs impact your organization in case another change needs to occur – like we said earlier, there’s no one roadmap to supporting your employees’ wellbeing.

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Employee wellness is key to organizational success and should continue to be an ongoing priority. Whether it’s through pulse checks or annual surveys, remember to keep it fun and communicate regularly with employees – you may be surprised at what you learn.

For an added bonus, include incentives for completing the wellness survey like an award on the company’s social recognition platform or an opportunity to win a small prize in a company-wide raffle, helping to get higher response rates.

Now is the time to start your organization’s journey toward employee wellness.