Employee Happiness Survey: 10 Questions to Consider

We often get asked about the questions that should be asked in an employee happiness survey. Here we've collated the what, how and why - as well as important themes and questions to consider.

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What Is Employee Happiness?

Happiness in the workplace is all about having the conditions in which individuals can survive and thrive! We can’t force employees to be happy all the time (no one is!) but we can give them an environment that gives them the tools they need to build happiness. There’s a lot more to employee happiness than meets the eye! 

How Are Employee Happiness & Engagement Linked?

A lot of organisations focus on employee engagement, but neuroscience shows us that both employee happiness and engagement are needed to create a workplace where everyone can perform their best. 

It’s almost impossible to create an environment where people are engaged without employee happiness. We like to think of workplace culture as a car - employee engagement is the destination, but employee happiness is the fuel you need to get there. 

How Does Employee Happiness Affect Businesses?

Sometimes organisations can think that happiness is “fluffy” but the truth is that happiness can have measurable impacts on an organisation’s bottom line. We believe that investing in employee happiness is one of the best things you can do as an organisation to improve your profitability. 

It’s not just us saying it though! Check out our business case to see all the data involved!

Can Employee Happiness Be Measured In A Survey?

Not only do we think employee happiness can be measured in a survey - we know that it should be! Listening to your people will allow you to understand how happy your people are, and also why…

But can happiness be expressed as a number? This is where things get a little technical. We use neuroscience to help us to quantify happiness. We have 12 factors linked to 4 neuroscience themes. Within our platform we ask a variety of questions linked to these neuroscience themes, all these questions are answered on a scale of 0-10 allowing individuals to quantify different aspects of their happiness in the workplace. 

These different scores can be seen in aggregate to give you an overall picture of employee happiness within your organisation, but you can also use our advanced reporting to understand variations, themes and trends. 

Why Should You Do An Employee Happiness Survey?

By listening to your employees you’re speaking directly to the foremost experts on the individuals who make up your organisation! 

It’s really important that you are able to quantify how happy your people are, but also gain insight into why and how you can improve your workplace culture to support them. This is because it will allow you to understand your team and what they want and need to succeed. 

It’s important to remember that everyone is different and the perfect workplace culture for one person, may not be for another. For example, some people love highly organised process-driven workflows, while others prefer a more creative approach. This is why you need to listen to everyone in your organisation to create an environment that supports your team. 

Benefits Of Employee Happiness Surveys

Employee happiness come with a range of benefits some of the ones our customers have told us about include:

  1. Improved recruiting and retention - many of our customers have managed to attract and retain better talent within their organisation.

  2. Understand your people - having real insight into what your team wants and needs really helps to build a concrete people strategy. 

  3. Impacts on bottom line - our customers link their improved happiness scores to their financial goals time and time again. Don’t believe us? Go check out our customer success stories…

The benefits of employee engagement surveys have subtle differences to happiness, but a lot still apply.

What Does An Employee Happiness Survey Look Like?

There are two great ways of doing an employee happiness survey:

Stand alone surveys: These are big surveys with multiple questions. You’ll only want to run a couple of these a year, but they’ll give you really in-depth feedback with loads of actionable insight if done right! 

24/7 Listening: Always-on surveys are a more agile option which runs alongside bigger surveys perfectly. We ask one question : how happy are you as an employee of your organisation? People can answer when and where they like. This light-touch approach gives you on-going insight and ideas for improvement.

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting An Employee Happiness Survey

Every organisation can benefit from running an employee happiness survey. But to get the most out of the process, you should think about these questions before you get started. 

  1. What are we aiming to achieve? Running a happiness survey can have a lot of benefits, but it’s vital to understand what you’re aiming to achieve. If you’re trying to improve employee churn an exit survey might be the place to start, if your goal is increased DE&I then starting with an equality survey would be better. 

  2. Where do we think our biggest challenges lie? If we know what are likely to be our biggest challenges then this can help support our goals. Mergers and acquisitions are the example that is most frequently sighted when it comes to challenges to employee happiness, but you’ll know your organisation best!

  3. How can we reach all of our people? You won’t get a true view of happiness in your organisation unless you understand how everyone is feeling. This includes everyone from the most junior member of staff to team leaders. You also want to think about how to reach employees such as those on maternity leave, sales executives on the road, or those who work on the factory floor or in the kitchens. 

  4. What resources can we commit to implementing changes off the back of our survey? You won’t get anything out of an employee happiness survey if you aren’t committed to making changes based on the feedback you receive. It’s really important you set aside time and resources to make the changes that are uncovered in the process. 

  5. When will we follow up on our survey? It’s never too early to start thinking about when you’ll do a follow up survey so that you can understand what the impacts of your changes have been. Employee happiness is about the journey not the destination, and making incremental improvements along the way. 

10 Employee Happiness Questions To Consider

Workplace Culture Questions 

A big impact on your people’s happiness in the workplace will be your organisational culture. Here are a few things to think about when it comes to your culture:

  1. How do people feel about your workplace culture? This might feel like a logical place to start - and that’s because it is! We often advise customers to start with a deep dive into how their people think about their organisation’s culture because it can reveal easy wins as well as major flaws in your people strategy. There’s loads to uncover when it comes to your culture and how it supports your team’s happiness!

  2. How are your people feeling right now? Traditional surveys help you understand how your team feels about their happiness at one moment in time, but we recommend always-on listening to support these one-off surveys. They can really help you to understand the day-to-day happiness levels and how they fluctuate. 

  3. Would people recommend your organisation as a place to work? We love eNPS questions because they can really reveal how happy people are within your organisation at a glance. In fact we include them in almost all of our surveys so that whichever survey is next you can keep assessing your eNPS.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Questions

Feeling like individuals not only belong and feel accepted, but are truly appreciated are key to employee happiness. 

  1. Do people feel accepted and included within your organisation? Running a full DEI survey can be really helpful to understanding how people from different backgrounds and experiences think and feel within your organisation. Helping support everyone has a huge impact on individual and company-wide happiness. 

  2. How happy are remote workers? If your organisation has remote or hybrid workers, understanding how happy they are can be especially challenging as you might not be having conversations with them every day. This is where dedicated questions can be really helpful.

  3. Do your team feel happy and healthy? We all know physical and mental health and wellbeing are tightly related. Really understanding how people’s mental and physical health are impacted by their work help to create a supportive, happy atmosphere for everyone. 

  4. Do your people feel appreciated for their work? Acknowledgment is one of the key drivers of happiness within organisations. This means that understanding whether your people feel recognised and how best to appreciate their efforts is vital to understanding how happy they are. 

Employee Lifecycle Questions

It’s important to understand how your people feel at different stages of their journey with you, this will allow you to gain greater insight into happiness across your organisation

  1. How do your new starters feel about your organisation? Getting any relationship off to the right start is really important to making sure both parties are happy. That’s why we provide onboarding surveys in our platform so that you can really understand how your team feels from day one. 

  2. How happy are those leaving your organisation? It’s easy to think that everyone leaving an organisation is miserable, but that’s not always the case! There are lots of reasons people might be leaving and lots of learnings that can be applied to the happiness of the rest of your team!

  3. What are the impacts of long-term absence on happiness in your organisation? Understanding how people returning to your organisation feel after maternity leave, long term sickness or for any other reason can give vital insights into happiness within your organisation. 

Bonus Question

  1. How do your customers feel? Happy employees lead to happy customers! This means understanding how your customers feel can give you a really good insight into how your people feel. 

What Should You Do After Completing An Employee Happiness Survey?

As we discussed briefly above, you’re not going to get any of the benefits of surveying your people’s happiness if you don’t take action off the back of it. We recommend a three pronged approach: 

  1. Share the results: It’s vital that you let people know you’ve heard them. Share exactly what your findings are as transparently as you can. Make sure you celebrate where you’ve done well and what changes need to be made!

  2. Build an action plan: Action planning is always an important stage of any happiness survey. You have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. Implementing change, suggestions and improvements is a key part of the process. 

  3. Listen again: To make sure you’re having the desired impact, you’ll need to set up a follow up survey. 

Read more on the employee surveys we recommend running here.

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Linked to Happiness in our neuroscience methodology... learn more

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Employee Engagement: What You Need To Know

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About The Happiness Index

The Happiness Index helps organisations measure the key employee engagement AND happiness drivers to power their people strategy.

Our unique platform offers the products, insights and tools to shine a light on your cultural health and empower management to drive thriving cultures.

Our neuroscience-based pre-built surveys measure the full employee experience - from onboarding to exit to empower and enable organisations to understand their people and create data-led action plans.


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