Whether you employ two people or two hundred people, you know how important your employees are. Without a workforce, your business would reach a permanent standstill. But, keeping a productive, happy crew is easier said than done. Hiring is a major challenge for many employers, one that gets billions of dollars of attention every year. But, beyond a few cursory efforts, keeping people from leaving often goes overlooked. This is a mistake, since turnover is expensive and draining to your personnel and your business.
But, how do you keep good people from getting poached or from quitting out of frustration? Many managers and business owners assume that the open complaints they receive (or lack thereof) is an accurate indicator of how happy their employees are. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Employees are very reluctant to complain to their employers about anything, even serious issues like harassment.
According to a recent study, only 13% of American workers are not currently open to other opportunities. This means that it’s very likely that 87% of your workers are not totally committed to their job at your company. If you were receiving open complaints from 87% of your employees, would you consider changing your policies?
One way to know better about the real feelings and attitudes within your workforce is to circulate a survey or poll of your own. We have some suggestions on how to do this right and get the most accurate results.
What is an Employee Benefits Survey?
An employee benefits survey is a list of questions or statements about your company that give the survey-taker the ability to examine their feelings and record honest feedback. Employee benefits range from health benefits to free snacks in the breakroom to time off. It’s basically everything you do for your people, including pay.
The standard list of benefits is pay, PTO, health benefits and a nice Christmas party every year. But, some companies have branched out to free daily lunches, happy hour, volleyball games, bring your dog to work day, tickets to the next NBA game, casual attire, and many, many more. This is largely in an attempt to attract millennial workers, who are notoriously difficult to retain.
Employee Benefits Survey Questionnaire
A questionnaire is another way to assess your employee’s true feelings and get some feedback, but your results will be more qualitative, rather than quantitative. In questionnaire form, you will pose questions and have space for thoughtful, free form responses. For instance, you might ask, “What, in your opinion, is the most challenging aspect of working for ACME Accounting Agency?” In this scenario, instead of a bar graph or pie chart at the end, there will be lots of reading and analysis of what each employee meant by his or her response.
But, if straight data is less important to you, having the more in depth, relaxed responses could be revealing in different ways.
How to Build and Circulate Your Employee Benefits Survey
First of all, anonymity is key. If you employees feel that, in any way, their honest response could be traced back to them, they won’t be honest. Worse, they will submit their completed survey with answers that will give you a false sense of security, which is more damaging than not having done the survey at all.
A questionnaire is pretty straightforward. Your questions should be dispassionate and objective. Try not to imply any threat or emotion. For example, “Do you plan on quitting your job at ACME Accounting Agency?” is slightly accusatory. “Do you see a long term future working for ACME Accounting Agency? If not, why? If so, why?” is a better way make your respondents feel relaxed and comfortable.
Since a survey is a way to gather data that can be easily compiled into a spreadsheet or table, you want to make sure you do it right. Your questions should be straightforward, and the possible answers should cover all your bases.
For instance, “Rate your experience with your health benefits to date” should be followed with a scale that makes sense for all the various experiences. Since this is more complex, giving the respondent a broader scale might make it easier to answer. Giving them a scale of one to three might not cut it, but a scale of one to five might be perfect.
If you offer a performance bonus at the end of each quarter, you might ask whether your employees feel that these bonuses properly reflect their effort and accomplishments. If you have a ping pong table, you might ask if this benefit is important to them, on a scale of one to five.
Here are some other examples:
- How would you rate the CEO and his/her leadership?
- How important is the free lunch (or whichever special benefits you are offering) policy to you?
- Do you think there could be improvement in our PTO policy?
- Select from this list of possible benefits that you find most appealing (followed by a list of 10-20 benefits that you might consider instituting)
There are many tools to help you easily build your survey. Try Google Forms or SurveyMonkey. These tools have some great options for circulating your survey. Make sure that your method of circulation fits the culture of your company. If most people at your company are tech savvy, try sharing the survey URL. If you must print and pass out the survey, you will need to add the results in manually to whatever tool you choose.
As traditional boilerplate benefits packages become a thing of the past, and as employers become more focused on retention, keeping an eye on how content your workers are will become more essential to your company’s success. While you might be able to spend hours in the conference room guessing at solutions, it’s always best to go straight to the source and just ask.