Check-in with Employees: 30 Wellbeing Questions You Need to Ask
In a human workplace, employee morale and wellbeing are critical. They shape every phase of the employee experience and have a direct effect on engagement, retention, and even revenue. Happy people are generally more creative and dependable, and studies show that they can be 50% more productive when they do meaningful tasks with trustworthy people.
A human workplace happens by asking your employees the right wellbeing questions. After all, without knowing what would make the biggest impact on your employees, you’re just guessing. And that’s an easy way to waste time and money.
In this post we have assembled some of best wellbeing questions to ask employees. They can help you assess each individual’s overall sense of wellbeing and how individual employee experiences add up to the totality of workplace wellbeing.
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If you’re not convinced you need to ask employees questions about their wellbeing in order to inform your own wellbeing strategy, there’s this: a survey from Deloitte and Workplace Intelligence cited in Forbes shows that there’s a huge rift between how employees truly feel and how execs perceive these sentiments.
- 47% of workers believe their executives understand how difficult the pandemic has been for them.
- 90% of the C-suite who say they do recognize how challenging it’s been.
- 53% of employees feel their company’s executives have been making the best decisions for their wellbeing during the pandemic.
- 88% of the C-suite believe their decision-making has been exemplary.
- 56% of employees think that their company’s executives care about their wellbeing.
- 91% of the C-suite believe that employees feel their leaders care about them.
If you’re a leader that believes they have a finger on the pulse of your company, check again.
Start by assembling a wellness survey or check in personally with your employees on a regular basis (or both!). By checking in on the mental wellbeing of your staff, you’re able to receive valuable feedback on how your workers feel and better understand the support they need to succeed at their job.
Remember, this is just the start. Data collection isn’t worth much without meaningful action.
According to Psychology Today, five main types of wellbeing contribute to overall happiness. These are:
Based on these five categories, we’ve put together 30 actionable questions about employee wellbeing that any employer or manager can implement today.
Health matters are legit causes for happiness or anxiety. This is even more important with the global pandemic affecting the lives of many.
It’s important to respect your employee’s privacy when asking about physical wellbeing. Physical health looks different for everyone. The focus should be on how they are feeling and what kinds of initiatives would be most helpful for where they are.
- Right now, I am in a great physical state. (agree/disagree on a sliding scale)
- I have a healthy sleep schedule. (agree/disagree on a sliding scale)
- I have a healthy routine. (agree/disagree on a sliding scale)
- Do you find time to exercise?
- Are the snacks available to company employees healthy?
- Is the weekend sufficient to refresh and recharge?
- Do you do home tasks alone or share the chores?
- Do you consider your work exhausting?
Understanding aspects of wellbeing like if employees are getting enough sleep and finding work-life harmony throughout the week are huge indicators of physical wellbeing. While a nice perk, simply offering gym membership reimbursements can be a narrow benefit so it’s important to go beyond that. While it may seem trivial, snack questions can help identify allergies, medical restrictions, or personal choices.
Emotions affect every aspect of a person’s life. Thus, you must be fully aware of your employee’s mental health and offer support. Absenteeism, a drop in performance, and unusual edginess are all workplace signs of emotional stress. Here are six questions you can ask to gauge your team’s emotional wellbeing:
- Right now, I am in a great mental state. (agree/disagree on a sliding scale)
- Is the commute to and from work easy or stressful?
- When was the last time you had an exciting task?
- Do you need to stay after hours too often to finish work?
- What makes you really happy?
Asking about a commute can reveal anger issues, stress, and anxiety being felt on a daily basis for some. The rest of the questions are designed to show the employee’s level of engagement or ambivalence. Naturally, you should follow up with how to improve.
Mental wellbeing benefits can have a wide-ranging impact on the entirety of the workplace. When employees are less stressed. they’re happier, more collaborative, and more likely to build strong relationships with colleagues. All of those effects combine to make drastic improvements to a company’s culture.
Fitting in within a group is critical for anyone’s happiness. People sometimes stay in jobs they aren’t enthusiastic about just because their colleagues “feel like family.” Having that trust and amicability makes even the demanding tasks seem manageable.
With multiple ways of working now common (on-site, hybrid, and remote), it’s important to make sure that connection is happening regardless of how employees are working. Regularly check in with your staff and ensure they are comfortable and confident interacting with the team.
Below are 19 questions you can ask about social wellbeing. (Note that the first four questions are agree/disagree questions on a sliding scale.)
- I am great at asking for help.
- I feel connected to my team.
- I plan to work here for the next 12 months.
- I am satisfied with my career.
- What are your favorite hobbies?
- Are you a member of a club or a neighborhood activity?
- Do you find many of your coworkers supportive, inspiring, or trustworthy?
- Would you rather work with a team or on individual tasks?
- Are there any nice cafes you can recommend to your coworkers?
- Are open workspaces better or closed offices?
- Is the office space too noisy or too quiet?
- Would you rather work remotely or in-office?
- Would you consider yourself a people person?
- Is celebrating birthdays at the office appropriate?
- Do you think you have a good work-life balance?
- Who can you ask for help at work?
- Did you learn new skills from coworkers?
- Do you think work friendships can be strong?
- If we start a social program for the company, would you like to sign up?
These questions can help you build communities throughout the workplace. If a handful of workers have similar interests or passions, clubs and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can be valuable support valves for employees to build connections with their co-workers.
Harvard Business Review published a study showing that more than nine out of ten employees would accept low pay if they think their jobs are meaningful. Thus, doing work that feels valuable can reflect positively on a person’s wellbeing.
This actually brings the matter of wellbeing full circle. Happy people do better at work, and people who do better at work feel happy. The value of work impacts your team’s wellbeing and workplace performance. Here are seven questions you can ask to get an overall sense of employee wellbeing at work:
- I successfully manage my work-related stress. (agree/disagree on a sliding scale)
- I feel in control of my time each day. (agree/disagree on a sliding scale)
- I feel supported while at work. (agree/disagree on a sliding scale)
- Do you think your work is important?
- Do you find some parts of your job exhausting?
- What would make your job more engaging?
- What would make your job more fun?
AThese questions are geared towards measuring the level of satisfaction employees have. How they perceive their work can indicate whether or not they’re proud of what they’re doing.
All these questions aim to better understand what makes your employees tick and what makes them happy. It’s not just a “feel good” thing to do either. It impacts your bottom line. One Workhuman® study found that:
- happy workers help their colleagues 33% more often
- happy workers achieve their goals 31% more often
- happy workers are 36% more motivated in their work
One tried and true method for improving overall happiness and wellbeing at work is employee recognition. In a study of 12,000 employees across 12 different countries, recognition had a meaningful impact on wellbeing at work.
With recognition, employees are:
- 2x as likely to evaluate their lives and futures positively
- 90% less likely to report being burned out at work always or very often
- 7x more likely to strongly agree they have meaningful connections or a best friend at work
- 10x as likely to strongly agree that they belong
Gratitude is a powerful feeling. The same study found that employees who experienced gratitude the previous day are 40% less likely to report having experienced a lot of stress, worry, and sadness at work.
Around 60% of employees say that they experience burnout. Over time, this causes anxiety that could incur huge drops in productivity and health expenditure.
There are several proven ways to improve wellbeing at work. It starts with financial safety and appreciation. The next thing is encouraging healthy habits such as physical activity, healthy routines, and mental health.
In addition, the company should encourage positive communication among employees. Finally, paying attention to signs of anxiety and offering help is key to making your employees feel cared for. Wellness programs pay off generously on all levels.
The best way to monitor any kind of wellbeing at work is to go right to the source: your employees.
Send periodic surveys to employees to gauge their wellbeing. By understanding exactly what your workplace needs to be less stressed and happier, you can be specific with the action you take and rest assured that it’s what your employees actually want. Choosing wellbeing benefits at random sets you up for a waste of time, a waste of money, and a workplace frustrated you didn’t ask them in the first place.
Wellbeing conversations, especially those surrounding mental and physical health, should be handled sensitively. The conversation should start by asking employees how they are and what support they need to feel less stressed.
Listening is step one of any wellbeing strategy. It will inform how and when you act and will begin to build a foundation of trust between leaders and employees.
In order to build morale and a more positive workplace, you need a sound wellbeing strategy. A strategy rooted in suggestions and input from your employees to help you create specific policies that benefit everyone.
Prosperity and happiness are achievable at work. It all starts by asking the right questions.
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