What to ask in your employee benefits survey

Written by: Gabrielle Smith
Published on December 8, 2021.

When it comes to offering benefits to your employees, it’s important to make sure that you’re tailoring your benefits to what your employees actually want and need. This is especially true for small and medium size businesses with a limited benefits budget.

The best way to make sure that you’re putting your dollars in the right place is to send out an employee benefits survey. By asking your employees directly how they feel about your current offerings and what benefits they’d like to see offered in the future, you’ll gain valuable insights on how to make the most of your benefits budget.

Read on for answers to the top questions about employee benefits surveys, including:

Download our employee benefits survey template to help you get started

What are employee benefits surveys?

An employee benefits survey is a survey you send out to your employees with questions about your benefits package. These are generally anonymous so your employees can feel free to offer honest feedback on their benefits.

The most common way to send these surveys is through email using a third-party survey platform, such as Google Forms, MailChimp, or Qualtrics, so employees can have the survey sent directly to their inbox.

Why should I do an employee benefits survey?

Sending out an employee benefits survey is a smart way to make sure your benefits budget is being spent on benefits your employees actually want and use. For example, if you’re spending a large portion of your benefits budget on a gym membership for each of your employees, but hardly any of your employees are actually using it, your survey will tell you that.

While your employees may not use a gym membership, they may be more excited about a tuition reimbursement program that gives them the opportunity to get important professional development training.

Another benefit of sending out an employee benefits survey is to make sure your employees actually understand the benefits you’re currently offering.

For example, if you’re offering a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), your employees may need more education on how to get their expenses reimbursed than you would if you were offering a traditional group health insurance plan. Asking questions like these will help your employees get the most out of your current offerings.

What questions should I ask in a benefits survey?

Depending on what you want to learn, you’ll want to include categories of questions that answer everything you need to know. Below are a few categories you should consider.

Demographic questions

Basic demographic questions will help you understand which of your employees are benefiting from your current benefits the most, and which ones may need to be offered more or different benefits to keep them happy. This is especially important if you offer different benefits to different classes of employees, such as if you’re offering an individual coverage HRA (ICHRA) to some employees and a group health plan to others.

Employee understanding questions

If you’re worried your employees aren’t utilizing your current benefits to the fullest, or don’t understand how they work, be sure to include some comprehension questions to see if your employees have everything they need to understand and start to use the benefits you offer.

Current benefit questions

Including questions about your current benefits package will help you evaluate if you’re offering the kinds of things your employees care about most. This will help you decide which benefits to keep and which to drop as you restructure your package in the future.

Discovery questions

Discovery questions are the questions you ask to help you discover what new benefits your employees would like to see added. If you have benefits that you’re considering offering but aren’t sure it would be worth the investment, this is your time to find out.

Free response questions

Finally, your survey should include a free response section that gives your employees a chance to express their ideas and opinions that they may not have had the chance to in other parts of the survey. You may find that a lot of your employees have a specific benefit in mind that you hadn’t considered offering.

Download our employee benefits survey template for free sample questions

How frequently should I be formally reviewing my benefits?

How often you send out an employee benefits survey is completely up to you and your organization’s needs. If you’re just starting out with a brand new benefits package, you may want to send out a survey more frequently, such as every quarter. If you’ve gotten into a good groove with your benefits package, you may only need to evaluate your benefits on an annual basis.

Employee turnover also influences how often you should evaluate your benefits. For example, if you’re having a lot of turnover, you may want to take a closer look at your benefits more often to see if they’re playing a role in your retention.

Get our guide for 11 expert tips on employee retention


Offering benefits that are tailored to your employees’ specific wants and needs is an essential part of recruiting and retaining top talent. Without a quality benefits package, your employees will inevitably leave for another organization that offers one. By putting together an employee benefits survey, you not only show your employees that you care about their opinions, but that you’re willing to take action to make sure that their needs are met.

Originally published on December 8, 2021. Last updated December 8, 2021.


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