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People Management

40 Employee Wellbeing Survey Questions to Prevent Burnout

July 26, 2022
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9 minutes

Fostering team wellbeing starts with asking great questions. Use these 40 employee wellbeing survey questions to understand your employees’ wellbeing needs.

Lawrence Barker
Fostering team wellbeing starts with asking great questions. Use these 40 employee wellbeing survey questions to understand your employees’ wellbeing needs.

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Burnout is like an infection.

It starts out small. It doesn’t seem serious at first. It’s easy to gloss over or make light of. And just like an infection, if you act quickly enough, a simple intervention might be enough to take care of it. 

But leave employee burnout unchecked and it becomes a serious and systemic issue. If you let burnout fester in your workplace long enough, it becomes far harder to cure. 

A quick trip to the doctor’s office can determine if you have strep throat or the flu. But how do you know if burnout is a problem in your workplace? The best way is to run an employee wellbeing survey. 


We’ve gathered forty employee wellbeing survey questions to help you understand who in your organization is experiencing the symptoms of burnout. Use them to uncover potential burnout quickly and get ahead of any serious problems within your organization.

Burnout is an epidemic

Unfortunately, burnout is a huge problem in modern workplaces. 

A 2018 Gallup survey found that 23% of employees always or often feel burned out at work. An additional 44% report feeling burned out sometimes. And the COVID pandemic only made things worse

Even your most engaged employees aren’t immune to symptoms of burnout. If you want your team to be functioning at their best, it’s critical to regularly check-in on their wellbeing.

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Why you should include wellbeing survey questions in your employee engagement survey


Phil McParlane, founder of the job board 4 Day Week, has seen firsthand how employee wellbeing has influenced the types of roles and companies job seekers are interested in. 

“45% of workers now list the ability to control their schedule at the top of their wish list, and for others, a shorter working week is now more desirable than a higher salary. It’s more important than ever to ensure staff control when they start and finish working. When conducting wellbeing surveys, it’s crucial to ask staff whether they feel they have enough flexibility in their work schedule and whether they are working beyond the hours in their contract.” 

If you aren’t actively promoting your employees’ wellbeing, you’re going to have a much harder time retaining them. You’ll lose more time to sick days. When they’re working, your team will be less focused and productive.

It’s important to include employee wellbeing questions on your engagement survey because employee wellbeing and employee engagement are two different things:

  • Employee wellbeing is about how your employees feel. It includes their physical, mental, and emotional health. 
  • Employee engagement measures how your employees feel about their work. It measures their enthusiasm for their role and their commitment to your company.
Source: direct quote from Harriet Willmott at Remotion

Wellbeing and engagement have always been closely linked, but the COVID pandemic changed that. Engaged employees aren’t necessarily healthy, and healthy employees aren’t necessarily engaged. 

Including wellbeing questions in your employee engagement survey helps you understand how your employees are doing in both of these vital areas.

How to formulate wellbeing survey questions

Design can make or break a survey. A poorly-designed survey is one you can’t trust or draw conclusions from, while a well-designed survey can be transformative for your organization. 

When you aren’t careful, surveys can become “an exercise in ‘impression management’ rather than a tool for change”. Being thoughtful about your survey design is the only way to prevent that. 

Here are some general tips that you can use to design a solid employee wellbeing survey:

  1. Use questions that start with “how.” You can usually get more information from “How stressed are you in your role?” compared to “Are you feeling stressed in your role?” Life is rarely black-and-white, and a simple yes/no question eliminates your ability to capture nuances. Use a “how” question and let employees respond on a scale of 1-10 instead.
  1. Use open-ended questions wisely. An open-ended question like “Is there anything you would like to improve within the company?” can prompt unique and insightful answers. That said, they take more time for employees to respond to and for you to analyze. You should use them where they’ll have maximum impact. 
  1. Avoid questions that ask about two unrelated topics at the same time. An example of a double-barrelled question is “How satisfied are you with your compensation and working conditions?” People will likely respond to one of those aspects but can’t respond to both simultaneously, so there’s no way to know which one of those impacts the answers the most. 
  1. Limit negative “I” statements. People are likely to say no to statements like “I feel burned out” because they want to present themselves positively (even if it’s not entirely true). You can ask something like, "How often do you feel burned out at work?” instead. 

No matter how you write the questions, getting honest feedback is essential to making surveys valuable. Creating a psychologically safe work environment is foundational, because if employees aren’t comfortable being vulnerable at work, you’re unlikely to get the full picture of their wellbeing.

40 employee wellbeing survey questions


We’ve collected forty example survey questions you use for the well-being section of your engagement survey. You’re welcome to copy and paste, but remember to adjust these to your context where needed.

Jennifer Hartman, HR Expert at Fit Small Business, says, “Be sure to ask questions that elicit positive answers and areas of improvement. These questions can be used to impact change within your organization. Take to heart what your employees are telling you and use that information to make positive changes.” 

You don’t want to focus your whole survey on finding problems. Wellbeing surveys can also help you find out what’s working well. 

Note: For any of the below questions that are statements—such as “I’m generously compensated for my work—you should use a Likert scale to gauge how strongly your employees agree or disagree with the indicated statement. 

Job satisfaction

Job satisfaction is one of the most significant factors influencing wellbeing at work. 

Jeff Mains, a five-time entrepreneur and CEO of the Champion Leadership Group, describes it this way: “Workers are happier when they achieve progress and accomplishment rather than the other way around. In a culture of high efficiency and low turnover, your workers will provide better solutions when satisfied with their jobs.”

These wellbeing survey questions can uncover how satisfied your employees feel about their jobs:

  1. How satisfied are you with your job?
  2. How fulfilling or rewarding do you find your work?
  3. How much do you enjoy your work on a day-to-day basis? 
  4. I’m generously compensated for my work.
  5. To what extent do you understand how your role contributes to company goals?
  6. Do you feel a sense of purpose working here?
  7. What could we do to help you feel more satisfied with your job?
  8. When do you feel happy or proud to be working here?
  9. How likely are you to look for a role at a different company?
  10. What could tempt you to leave our company, and why?

Work/life balance

68% of employees say poor work/life balance negatively impacts their morale and motivation at work. When work/life balance is out of whack for long, it manifests itself as increased burnout.

Imagine the opposite: an environment where individuals have the time, energy, and capacity to live their lives to the fullest outside work. Their productivity and drive during their work hours will go up, and they’ll be happier employees. Questions that focus on work/life balance help you achieve this sweet spot:

  1. How likely are you to complete your work in a 40-hour work week?
  2. How often do you have to work overtime to finish your work?
  3. What are things you look forward to when you get ready for work?
  4. What about work tends to drain your energy or demotivate you?
  5. My work allows me to allocate time to physical fitness.
  6. My work allows me to spend enough time with family, friends, and non-work activities.
  7. I can completely switch off during my vacation. 
  8. I feel compelled to reply to work emails when I’m not working.

Mental health and stress


Stress management might be one of the most underrated skills for remote workers today. Discussing mental health in a work setting still feels uncomfortable for many people, so addressing it openly is a way to start that conversation. 

“Asking well-being inquiries regularly can help you determine employees’ levels of engagement and gives the impression that they are valued for reasons other than their performance,” says Jeff Mains. 

  1. How satisfied are you with our wellness initiatives?
  2. How often do you start the day feeling refreshed and energized?
  3. How confident are you with saying “no” to projects you don’t have the capacity for?
  4. To what extent do you feel in control of your tasks and projects?
  5. How comfortable are you requesting a vacation?
  6. How would you rate your mental health right now?
  7. How often do you feel stressed out at work?
  8. What is the most stressful aspect of your position now?
  9. I’m often waiting for the work day to end. 
  10. I feel relaxed and calm when I’m at work. 
  11. I feel appreciated and valued at work. 
  12. I have the right amount of social connections at work.

Management


Managers play a huge role in employee wellbeing. Effective managers are a great first line of defense against burnout, but a poor manager can increase the likelihood of burnout occurring. 

Rachel Blank, the founder and CEO of Allara, says, “I always want my employees to feel like they are truly making a difference, growing and meeting their full potential.” Embodying this type of leadership across every level of management makes a world of difference in your teams’ wellbeing. 

  1. How likely are you to go to your manager if you experience a problem?
  2. To what extent do you feel your manager cares about your mental health?
  3. How often do you feel feedback is adequately addressed when you give it?
  4. Do you have any comments or suggestions for our leadership?
  5. My organization is committed to the wellness of its employees.
  6. I have a clear understanding of my role and responsibilities.
  7. My team has the resources it needs to perform well.

Open-ended feedback

It’s usually a good idea to have a few open-ended questions that let your employees share what’s on their mind. Although they can take more time to analyze, open-ended questions can help you uncover insights you wouldn’t get from more standardized questions. 

  1. Is there anything you would like to improve within our company?
  2. What are the top 1-2 ways we could improve your employee experience?
  3. If there’s one thing we could do to improve your overall wellbeing, what would it be? 

You can always ask for feedback on your wellbeing initiatives to get more specific feedback, too. 

Employee wellbeing surveys are just the beginning


Creating an employee wellbeing survey—or including wellbeing questions in your employee engagement survey—is a critical first step in fostering employee wellness. Gathering feedback helps you understand what’s working well and where you can improve. But for any survey to be meaningful, it must be followed by prompt and thoughtful action.

While surveys are an essential part of your employee wellbeing strategy, they can’t do everything on their own. Kona exists to help leaders understand and support their employees’ wellbeing every single day—including the long gaps in between your engagement surveys. You can start building trust with your employees today by adding Kona to Slack for free.

Meet the Author

Lawrence Barker

Lawrence uses his decade of customer experience leadership to create content for B2B SaaS companies that love their customers. He writes on a broad range of topics, all with the aim of helping human-centered companies attract the right customers and empower them to be successful.

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