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What to ask in your employee benefits survey

Written by: Chase Charaba
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Published on August 16, 2022.

When offering benefits to your employees, it's essential to ensure that you're tailoring your benefits to what your employees actually want and need. This is especially true for small to medium-sized businesses with more limited benefits budgets.

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 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 so that you can better attract and retain top talent.

In this article, we'll explain what employee benefits surveys are, the questions you should ask, and how frequently you should reevaluate your benefits offerings.

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 regarding 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.

Your survey should address questions about the quality of the specific benefits you provide, how they compare to other organizations, and what your employees would like to see added or removed in the future. For example, your survey could address your paid time off (PTO), healthcare insurance, retirement benefits, wellness programs, and more.

Why should I do an employee benefits survey?

There are many reasons why you should conduct an employee benefits survey.

Ensure you're spending money on benefits your employees actually use

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, let’s say you're spending a large portion of your benefits budget on an on-site gym membership or wellness benefits for each of your employees. If  hardly any of your employees are using it because they have their own gym memberships, your survey will tell you that.

While your employees may not use that particular benefit, they may be more excited about a tuition reimbursement program, for example, that allows them to get essential professional development training.

Ensure your employees understand their benefit offerings

Another advantage of sending out an employee benefits survey is that it can help ensure your employees understand the benefits you're currently offering and how to use them.

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 they would if you were offering a traditional group health insurance plan.

Benchmarking your retainment efforts

By conducting a benefits survey, you'll be able to see if the benefits you currently provide are enough to improve employee satisfaction and employee retention. If your employees aren't satisfied with their offerings, they'll be more likely to leave your organization when they receive a better offer.

You can use your survey results to improve and expand your current benefits program to ensure that your employees remain with your organization, helping you save on recruitment costs.

Doing right by your employees

Asking employee benefits survey questions about all aspects of your benefits will help your employees get the most out of your current offerings, allowing you to do right by them and create a positive culture where your employees want to come to work.

PeopleKeep's 2022 Employee Benefits Survey Report found that 65% of employees value being able to choose their own benefits. Additionally, 50% of employers feel their employees have a say in the benefits being offered, while only 36% of employees agree.

Conducting a benefits survey and taking action based on the results is one way to involve your employees in their benefits selections, helping to keep them happy at work.

What questions should I ask in a benefits survey?

Depending on what you want to learn, you'll want to include various categories and types of questions that answer everything you need to know about what your employees want.

Below we've outlined a few categories you should consider for your survey.

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 additional or entirely 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 insurance plan to others.

Employee understanding questions

If you're worried your employees aren't utilizing your current benefits to the fullest because they may not understand how they work, be sure to include some comprehension questions to see if your employees have everything they need to understand and start using their benefits.

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.

Discovery questions

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

Types of benefits you may want to ask about include:

  • Health benefits
  • Retirement
  • Stock options
  • Childcare
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Paid parental leave
  • PTO and sick days
  • Education benefits, such as tuition reimbursement
  • Wellness benefits
  • Transportation and commuter benefits
  • Disability insurance
  • Remote work and flexible work schedules
  • Internet and technology reimbursement

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 many of your employees have a specific perk in mind that you hadn't considered offering.

What specific questions can I ask?

There are a few different types of questions that you should ask in your employee benefits survey:

  • Comparison questions, such as: "Are the benefits you're being offered better or worse than other employers?"
  • Rating questions, such as asking employees to rate their benefits on a scale of one to ten or from not important to very important.
  • Satisfaction scale questions, asking employees to rate each benefit as either extremely dissatisfied, dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, somewhat satisfied, satisfied, or extremely satisfied.
  • Open-answer questions for benefit recommendations, such as: "Are there any additional employee benefits you wish were offered?"
  • True or false statements, such as: "My employer offers the kind of benefits I want."
  • Questions about employee comprehension of their benefits, such as if they know how to use them or get reimbursed.

If your organization is large enough, you may also want to ask for optional demographic information, such as age groups or the departments respondents work in.

Analyzing and understanding your results

Once your survey is complete, it's time to analyze the results. If there are offerings your employees rate poorly in terms of importance, you might consider replacing them with other benefits your employees said would work better for them.

If there are benefits categories your employees wish were offered, consider how you can work those additional benefits into your compensation package.

How frequently should I be formally reviewing my benefits?

How often you send out an employee benefits survey is entirely up to you and your organization's needs. If you're just starting 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 company benefits annually.

Employee turnover also influences how often you should evaluate your benefits. For example, if you're experiencing an increase in turnover, you may want to look at your benefit plans more often to see if they play a role in your retention.

Which benefits do employees generally prefer?

If you're just starting to offer benefits to your employees, it might be a good idea to look at the benefits that employees generally want in the workplace. This will give you a good starting point for crafting the perfect employee benefits package while ensuring you provide the most important benefits.

According to our 2022 Employee Benefits Survey, health insurance is the most popular benefit for employees and employers, with 87% of employees valuing it. Other popular benefits, according to our findings, include paid time off (PTO), retirement benefits, flexible work schedules, paid family leave, and mental health benefits.

Personalized benefits

Whether you're offering your first benefit or improving your existing compensation package, personalized employee benefits empower your employees to use their benefits the way they want to, rather than being forced into a one-size-fits-all model.

HRAs allow you to reimburse your employees tax-free for qualifying medical expenses up to your set allowance caps. This gives you complete control over your health benefit while allowing employees to choose which medical expenses they want to get reimbursed.

Employee stipends are another excellent personalized benefit that allow you to reimburse employees for various expenses of your choice, including health, wellness, and remote work.

Conclusion

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.

If you're ready to expand your employee benefits, PeopleKeep can help! Our personalized benefits administration software allows organizations of all sizes to set up and manage their HRAs and employee stipends in minutes each month.

Schedule a call with a personalized benefits advisor today to see how you can expand and enrich your benefits offerings

This blog article was originally published on December 8, 2021. It was last updated on August 16, 2022.

Originally published on August 16, 2022. Last updated August 16, 2022.
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