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11 questions to include in an employee benefits survey

An employee benefits survey can reveal areas where a company needs to improve its benefits. Learn some of the most important questions to include in the survey.

Employee benefits are a big part of employee experience and can potentially determine whether a worker decides to stay at a company or seek out another job. An employee benefits survey is a good way to gather data on employee satisfaction with current benefits and determine areas for improvement.

Some questions to ask employees include whether their health benefits are meeting their needs and if they're satisfied with their retirement plan. Questions like whether employees find a benefits self-service portal difficult to use can alert HR staff to issues that they had not previously known about.

Learn some of the most important questions to include in an employee benefits survey.

Why should companies send out employee benefits surveys?

Top-tier benefits packages help attract candidates to job openings, both external and internal, and play an important role in employee retention.

A benefits package could be the deciding factor for a job candidate who is determining which company to work for.

An employee benefits survey can also help companies save on costs because the survey might reveal that employees are receiving some benefits that they do not want or need. Removing benefits that employees do not want can enable HR leaders to switch the money for those benefits to other benefits that employees are asking for instead.

11 questions to have in an employee benefits survey

Questions to include in an employee benefits survey can sometimes vary, depending on company goals for the survey and the company's current benefits. However, the questions will not differ between organizations in most cases.

Questions should include an optimum combination of open-ended and rating scale questions.

1. On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with the current range of benefits options and benefits packages offered by the company?

This question is a good one to start the survey because it provides a general overview of the employee's feelings about company benefits.

If the employee's score is a surprisingly low one, the questions below enable the employee to provide more context about their negative feelings, including whether there is a specific benefit that does not meet the employee's needs.

2. How would you rate the accessibility and clarity of information regarding employee benefits options and benefits packages?

Employees must be able to understand the benefits they receive from the company and be able to easily find information about the benefits.

This question will reveal if employees don't know where to find benefits FAQs or any other documents that HR staff have created to attempt to answer employee questions.

3. Do you find the health insurance coverage -- range of coverage, deductibles, co-pays, etc. -- adequate for your needs?

Health insurance is one of the most important benefits for employees.

Asking workers about their health insurance at this level of detail can reveal whether employees would like to change certain aspects of the healthcare plan. For example, employees might be satisfied with most aspects of their healthcare options but feel that their co-pays are too expensive.

4. Are the dental and vision benefits meeting your expectations?

Dental and vision coverage are important parts of health insurance for employees, so putting them in a separate question is a good way to check employees' feelings about those parts of their healthcare coverage.

5. How satisfied are you with the retirement savings plans provided by the company?

Employees want to feel peace of mind about their retirement, and a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k) plan, with employer matching contributions is an important way to help them achieve this.

In some cases, the employer matching aspect can add a significant financial benefit to the overall compensation package, which can be a competitive advantage against other employers. This question can potentially reveal if employees feel the employer matching contributions should be higher.

6. Are the wellness programs effectively contributing to your overall well-being?

Wellness programs can help employees in a variety of ways, such as relieving stress and improving their overall mental health.

Even if an organization already has wellness programs in place, employees might be looking for more options for the programs or other expansions. This question can give insight into whether existing wellness programs are fulfilling worker needs.

7. Do you find the paid time off (PTO) policy sufficient and easy to utilize?

Paid time off helps employees recharge. However, workers might find the amount of PTO they receive to be insufficient. This question can give insight into employees' dissatisfaction, if any, with their PTO and how much they would like to increase their vacation time.

Employees might also find their vacation tracking system difficult to use, and this question can reveal problems with the system or areas that employees would like improved.

8. How satisfied are you with the flexible work schedule options provided?

While many companies have implemented return-to-office plans, some workers still work from home permanently or a couple of days a week. If a company offers a flexible work schedule, this question enables employees to share their feelings about potentially adding more work-at-home days or if they are satisfied with the current plan.

In addition, some companies allow their employees to set their own daily schedule, potentially starting earlier or later than the traditional nine-to-five workday. If a company enables employees to plan their own hours, this question can give insight into whether the workers are satisfied with the amount of freedom they possess around scheduling.

9. Have you faced any challenges or difficulties in accessing or utilizing any of the benefits provided?

Similar to the vacation tracking question above, this question can shed light on whether employees struggle to use benefits systems. For example, workers might not know where to find insurance documents in their employee portal.

HR staff might be unaware of employee difficulties with accessing the system, so this question can point to any problems.

10. Do you believe the benefits offered by the company are competitive compared to industry standards? How likely are you to recommend the company's benefits package to a potential employee?

Better benefits at another company could convince employees to take another job. This question can reveal employees' feelings about their benefits compared to other companies' benefits and whether employees see a need for improvement.

Asking whether an employee would recommend the company's benefits is one of the best ways to get insight into their feelings about the organization's offerings.

11. Are there any specific changes or improvements you would suggest for the current benefits package or any additional benefits you would like to see added?

Answers to this question can provide a good overall summary of employees' feelings about the benefits offerings.

In addition, employees might have suggestions for new benefits that HR staff haven't thought of, which could provide fresh ideas.

How HR staff should analyze benefits survey results

HR staff can analyze benefits survey results by looking at overall patterns in results. For example, results might reveal that a large portion of employees are unhappy with the company's PTO policy.

HR staff can also break down survey results by different segments of the workforce, such as age, gender, and location. For example, younger employees might feel more dissatisfied with company health benefits.

While company leaders might not find it possible to act on every employee concern, leaders should prioritize key issues that were brought to light by the survey and achieve some quick wins. Doing so will help convince employees that company leaders will act on the survey feedback.

HR staff should send out benefits surveys periodically and compare responses to previous submissions in order to note any improvements in employee sentiment.

Luke Marson is a principal architect and part of the management team of a global SAP SuccessFactors consulting partner, where he focuses on SuccessFactors Employee Central, extensibility and integration technologies.

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