Benefits Satisfaction Survey

How to Effectively Design and Use an Employee Benefits Survey

Employee benefits are a large cost to an organization. A good benefits package helps attract the best employees, keeps current employees happier, and aids in employee retention.

Information can help assure that benefits dollars are being spent in the most effective way each year. An employee benefits survey lets you tap into employee sentiment in a much more in-depth way than day to day interactions with employees.

Each year your employee benefits age, laws change, and your staff may change. Collecting and using updated data from the survey each year makes knowledgeable benefits decisions easier and allows for more employee engagement.

Begin by Preparing for Success

Understand your Area, your Industry and your Culture

Doing a quick benefits analysis of your area and industry will help identify benefits that are considered normal for the area and your industry. In addition, it can identify new benefits that are being offered to attract and retain great employees.

If you are making suggestions in a question for benefits that might be added or updated, be sure that you are selecting items that seem in line with organization’s values and culture. Getting any needed management approvals for potential benefits will help make sure that any offerings that are being considered will not be blocked later on.

From here you’ll be able to move on to considerations for general survey design.

Create A Benefits Satisfaction Survey Today

USE OUR Benefits Satisfaction Survey TEMPLATE

Important Factors for your Survey Design

As with other employee surveys, benefit satisfaction surveys are often anonymous. Making the survey anonymous and communicating this to employees tends to increase participation.  If you do decide not to make it anonymous, communicate that responses will be kept confidential, and data will be used only to improve the benefits offering.

Keep the survey short and simple.  Ask only the questions you need to get the data needed. This will get the valuable data and more responses without causing survey burnout.

Ask both about satisfaction with existing benefits as well as consideration of potential new benefits. You might even ask for ideas from your employees for new benefits that might be considered in the future.

Some Example Questions to Ask

Both rating questions and open textbox questions will allow you to gather good data. You’ll be able to see an aggregate view of results of the rating questions as well as employee comments on why a particular rating was given.

The following are some typical questions for a benefits satisfaction survey. You’ll determine which work best for your team.

  1. Please rate our overall benefits package.
  2. Please rate our health care benefit.
  3. Please rate our dental care benefit.
  4. Please rate our vision care benefit.
  5. Please rate our paid time off benefit.
  6. Please rank our additional benefits in order of value to you.
  7. Please tell us about any other benefits you’ld like to be considered.

We suggest using rating scale questions for satisfaction with major benefits, in this case the first 5 questions using a numeric scale for ratings going from Very Dissatisfied to Extremely Satisfied.

The next question might then be a ranking question where employees will rank additional existing benefits in the order of value or importance to them.

In satisfaction surveys you often see a final open text question, in this case to collect employee suggestions for additional benefits.  To enhance the data you collect, you might also include a question for comments after each of the major benefit rating questions to get comments specific to the rating given for that benefit.

Writing your question, take care that they are not biased or leading.
 For instance, you might ask an employee to “rate your overall satisfaction with the benefits package”, but in order to avoid leading them to an answer, we suggest that you not ask them to “ rate your overall happiness with our awesome benefits package”.Once you’ve crafted and tested your survey, you’ll be ready to run it and collect data.

Running Your Benefits Satisfaction Survey

Distribution Methods

Email is the most common and effective means of distributing your survey. Advanced survey tools use a unique survey identifier at the end of the default link that allows the system to determine who has and has not started the survey.  If the survey was not opened then an automated reminder can be sent to that respondent.

If the survey setting is set to anonymous, any identifiers such as the email address, location and IP address are stripped from the response to keep it anonymous.


If your updated benefits package is rolled out at a particular time each year, make sure to conduct your survey well in advance of that time. This will give your team time to evaluate the feedback and put in place any changes for the upcoming year.

Give the survey a specific time to run and communicate that in your emails. Send at least one reminder during the time period the survey is open to encourage employees to complete the survey on time.

Once you’ve run your survey and collected data you’ll be ready to work with the results.

Working with Survey Results Data

Understanding Your Data

Once you’ve run your survey the first time you’ll have benchmark data that you can compare future results against. This allows you to see the differences over time as changes are made to the benefits package.

To determine which benefits are most attractive to employees, ask about the usage of each benefit. If you come across one that is not utilized much, look at the comments to pinpoint why. It may be that particular benefit is not needed in the benefits package or that the benefit needs to be updated to be more usable.

If particular benefits are ranked low in a ranking question, you may consider swapping the benefit for one of higher interest or try new benefit in its place.

One caution though, changes to benefits may cause a larger uproar than you might think.  Employees may have gotten so used to having a particular benefit that they don’t think about it much, but if it is taken away they have a stronger reaction. The way that changes are communicated is very important to the process. The results of your survey can help in communicating decisions.

Using Your Data

Once the survey results are in, it is important to create reports and data exports to share. The data can be reviewed with the HR team first and shared with the management team.  The updated benefits package can be designed taking into account the results of the survey.

Either the HR team or the managers can then share the survey results and any decisions that come from it with employees. How any changes are communicated is important, and sharing information from the survey results can help employees understand the reasons behind decisions that have been made. Changes to benefits can be a sensitive area and having data to support your decisions can make it easier.

It’s important that employees know the results so that they feel that they have been heard and feel they have stake a process that affects everyone at the organization.

Going Above and Beyond

There are some ways that you can update your survey that may provide even more value to you and employees. Two additional features to consider:

  • Include logic so that only pertinent questions are seen.  For instance, in the survey template you may add logic so that if a person does not take advantage of a benefit they do not see questions regarding rating and rating comments about that benefit. You might instead show them a question asking why they do not choose to utilize that benefit.  You can use logic to make this happen in your survey.
  • Include a review of the survey response at the end of the survey. This might include the answers that the employee has given and perhaps even recommendations on how to get more out of the existing benefits.


With data from a good Benefits Satisfaction survey each year, participation from your employees and good communication among your team you’ll experience a smooth rollout of an updated benefits package each year.

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