15 Fail-proof Ways To Improve Employee Survey Participation

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So, I hear you’re on a mission to improve employee engagement at your organisation.

You’ve brought in a super flexible employee feedback platform to gather people data on the reg and are making BIG plans for positive workplace change.

But, hang fire – how do you actually engage your employees in surveying in the first place?

Well, I’ve been doing a bit of digging into that very customer conundrum; bending the ear of our Customer Success Managers and People Scientists for practical advice on how organisations can get better response rates and feedback from their people.

Turns out there’s no definitive rulebook and every org has its challenges, but these 15 nuggets could definitely help you drive employee survey participation, giving you more meaningful workforce insights – from an individual employee level to a wider organisational snapshot.

Internal communication and influencers

1. Inspire your employees. Your people need to know the true purpose behind your surveying. Whether you communicate your mission through a survey launch campaign or a friendly email from the CEO – bring employees on the journey with you and they’ll be more likely to buy into the process.

2. Spread the word about surveys with company branded posters, blogs, and emails. Use internal comms to familiarise employees with your chosen platform, let them know what’s coming and report back on the actions you’ve taken in response to their feedback.

3. Empower line managers to drive engagement. While surveying tends to be led by HR teams, line managers are literally on the front line. Coach them to understand the value of engagement and to motivate survey responses through daily interactions and one-to-one meetings with their team members.

4. Harness people of influence. Word of mouth is underrated. Enlist the help of your senior leaders to promote the impact of taking part and win over your most vocal survey adopters – turning them into advocates who encourage survey participation amongst their peers.

Hive Employee Desk Drop One Pager A4

[Spread the word about surveys with internal comms]

Setting your question strategy

5. Don’t survey for the sake of surveying. Make sure you have clear objectives, a question strategy (even if it’s very simple!) and set timelines for actioning feedback. Employees can feel apathetic towards surveying if they sense there is no real intention for change.

6. Write questions in your language and tone of voice. How do you normally communicate with employees? Strike a tone they’ll recognise and use words they’ll understand. Eg. you wouldn’t write questions in corporate speak if you have an informal, casual culture.

7. Ask relevant questions. Ever thought “Why am I being asked this question, this has nothing to do with me?”. We all have and we hate it! Outside of company-wide surveys, target employee demographics with questions that are relevant to their role and responsibilities.

8. Avoid loaded questions at all costs. It might be tempting to try to influence how employees respond to questions, but true organisational change depends on truthful feedback. If your employees are having a negative experience or an issue, it’s better to know, right?

Mental Health Survey Questions

[Send surveys to benchmark a wellbeing strategy, like Gateshead College]

Optimising your surveys

9. Run test surveys with a cross-section of your people to understand the end user experience – is the feedback process simple, straightforward and user-friendly for all your employees?

10. Make your surveys as accessible as possible – using the method that has the best reach for your organisation – whether that’s email, SMS, paper or a combination.

11. Leverage platform features. Got a survey live? Not everyone can take part as soon they receive a survey alert, send a survey reminder email to your workforce and show you value everybody’s feedback.

Survey Email Claire

[Give employees a gentle nudge with a survey email reminder]

Gathering feedback and action planning

12. Communicate employee confidentiality. It would be amazing if employees felt comfortable to give their feedback openly, but there’s often a fear of repercussion. Reassure your people that their feedback will be treated confidentially and that their honesty will drive real cultural change.

13. Assess internal resource for actioning feedback. Before deciding on the length and frequency of your surveys, consider how quickly your team can analyse and action feedback. Employees could get frustrated by completing surveys every week if they aren’t seeing any action or changes.

14. Involve employees in positive action planning. Once your managers feel confident in data storytelling, bring employees together to reflect on survey suggestions, issues and resolutions. By putting your people at the heart of action planning, they will feel closer to the cause and more likely to support change.

15. Show real impact by reporting back. It’s great being able to share improved employee engagement levels with the big wigs, but to get these results – the people who need to see and believe their feedback is being actioned are the very people you are surveying. Don’t be afraid to report on the workplace changes that are slow-moving or not being addressed, simply share the reasons why and employees will appreciate the honesty.

Do surveys right and watch your response rates soar!

If you’d like to learn a bit more about survey strategy and take a closer look at our employee feedback platform – you can book an intro with a member of my team, we’re always happy to talk employee engagement.

Claire Turnbull is Hive’s Inside Sales Rep and loves nothing more than seeking out the latest HR stats, facts and insights on employee surveying. Connect with Claire on LinkedIn.

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