Don’t Skip the Benefits
With the American workforce facing the challenges of a new global economy, some business owners are finding it hard to meet expenses each month; however, benefits are not something to cut. What you can do is shop your offering plan but, before you do, find out what your staff really wants through an employee benefits survey questionnaire.
Your survey should include specific and categorized questions to gain the best results. First, download the sample benefits questionnaire from our Media Gallery and let’s look at each area to determine what you are hoping to gain from the feedback.
Health Care - The questionnaire offers multiple choice answers and asks responders to choose only one answer. By choosing only one answer, they will most likely pick the area most important to them; it could be plan expense, deductible too high or no coverage offered for spouse or family. From there you can narrow it down in question two by asking the employee to specifically write in what is important in a health care plan. Finally, the third question is another multiple choice question about the most important elements of any health care plan. By looking at answers to questions one, two and three, you’ll get a pretty good idea on what is most important to employees when choosing or re-shopping your health care benefit plan.
Retirement Benefits - Questions four, five and six on retirement benefits follow a similar pattern. The first question asks outright if employees are happy or unhappy with the current retirement plan. The next question goes into more detail about retirement benefits and what are good elements to a plan. The last question asks the responder to write down what they would like to see in a retirement or pension plan. Write-in questions allow you to determine if the employee is really interested in retirement planning and the next steps you should take to ensure benefits such as these can be initiated.
Advancement Opportunities - Here for questions seven and eight you’ll quickly find out how your employees feel about the chances for growth within the company as well as what they’d like to see as far as training to help them improve and obtain a better chance for advancement. Most employees do look at advancement as a benefit, so be sure to revisit your internal programs based on answers.
Work/Life Balance - Questions nine through twelve discuss the work/life balance and how the employee feels about his or her work atmosphere. Here, you’ll be able to find out if employees want flex time, would like to telecommute, how they feel about supervisors and even the company owners. These can be very revealing when determining how to improve the employee’s life on the job. You may find from these answers that you should implement additional policies and procedures if employees are desperately unhappy.
Salary - On the survey, questions thirteen through fifteen ask specifically about wages and whether they are fair within the industry and demographically. The responders will also be able to let you know what’s most important to them as far as cost of living or merit raises or annual raises. Pay close attention to the answers given for question fifteen as this asks how the employee feels about annual performance reviews. If they are promised but never offered, you need to make a change—and fast.
Employee Input - The last question asks for employee input on what they’d like to see in any category of employee benefits in a write-in format. When analyzing these comments, determine via votes what is most important to reveal what your employees feel you are missing.
Using this employee benefits survey questionnaire will indeed help both business owners and HR managers determine the general feel of the company when it comes to benefit plans. There are some tips to keep in mind including:
Confidentiality – The survey offers no space for the employee’s name or signature and a blank envelope is provided for employees to drop off at the HR Department.
Complainers – No matter how hard you try, there will be some employees who don’t like anything about the company and will not read the instructions and check every answer or areas they don’t especially like. Don’t utilize these surveys in the re-analysis of the benefit plan—these people are most likely short-termers anyway.
Get Help – Most benefit plan companies want your business and will even sort through questionnaires for you to help you develop the best of the best plans, along with plan affordability. Ask more than one company to shop your benefit plan using the surveys.
Never Drop the Ball – You want to keep you employees happy so never drop the ball once surveys are completed and gathered. If you do, the next time you feel an employee survey is a good idea, you’ll only hear moans and groans. Act on the responses.
Be Realistic – Only offer what your company can afford. Many a business owner wants to offer the world, but when they over spend, they find themselves in a cash crunch.
The author is a business owner and has a degree in HR management.
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