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Drive Change and Engagement: 11 Tactics for Maximizing Employee Response Rates

You know that listening to your employees is crucial for understanding and improving your organization. But if your response rates are low, you're missing out on valuable insights that could drive meaningful change. Employee survey response rates are more than just numbers—they reveal the true health of your organization's culture and engagement, helping you to identify areas of opportunity before they become critical.

If you're looking to gather real insights and drive meaningful change, you're in luck. Today we are sharing 11 practical strategies to elevate your survey response rates, ensuring you capture the authentic voice of your employees and make an impact.

1. Highlight the Importance of Your Survey

More than just a cog in a wheel, employees want to be recognized for their unique contributions. Research by Gartner supports this, showing that 82% of employees believe it's important for their organization to see them as individuals, thus organizations need to prioritize making employees feel valued and heard. This can be achieved by clearly communicating the purpose and benefits of surveys, highlighting how their input can directly contribute to meaningful changes within the organization, and showing appreciation for the time it takes to complete them. When employees understand the impact of their opinions and feel appreciated, they are more inclined to participate.

2. Overcome Objections

When it comes to boosting employee trust in the survey process, proactive communication is key. Start by showcasing specific instances where past feedback has driven significant changes — such as policy revisions or enhancements in the work environment— to bolster confidence. Highlighting these tangible outcomes can instill confidence in your team. Research from Pumble indicates that taking action on employee feedback can increase trust by as much as 75%, underscoring the crucial role of transparent communication regarding survey results.

3. Get Leadership Buy-In

When senior leaders actively champion surveys, employees take notice. Encourage your leadership team to openly discuss the significance of employee feedback and its role in driving impactful change. Consistent endorsement from leadership can substantially boost participation rates. In fact, a report from Peter Barron Stark Companies underscores that companies that involve senior management in the promotion of employee surveys typically achieve response rates of 85% or higher (compared to the industry standard of 50% to 60%).

4. Pick the Right Time for Surveys

When it comes to getting great results, timing is everything. QuestionPro recommends Tuesday as the best time of the week to send out or communicate your employee surveys, ideally in the mid-morning between 10-11 am, or 6-9 am. However, it's important for you to take your specific organizational timeline into account when planning your survey avoiding busy periods such as holidays, major company events, or high-stress project deadlines. Also, choose a time when employees are more likely to be available and less distracted.

5. Ensure Confidentiality for Honest Responses

It's no surprise that employees are more likely to participate if they trust their responses are confidential. Clearly communicate how their feedback will be anonymized and ensure adherence to confidentiality promises. Continue to reinforce this message throughout the survey period to help build trust and encourage employees to provide their honest feedback.


6. Offer Incentives to Boost Participation

Whether it’s small cash rewards, gift cards, or charitable donations, offering an incentive is not only a great way to show appreciation, but it can boost participation by up to 18%, according to a study by Bio Med Central.

7. Craft Engaging Survey Content

If you want great answers, ask great questions. Keep your survey engaging with clear, straightforward questions, using a mix of multiple-choice and open-ended formats to maintain interest. Sensum highlights that a well-designed survey—one that's easy to complete and free from ambiguous or complex questions—can significantly reduce dropout rates. By focusing on clarity and simplicity, you can ensure higher-quality responses and better overall participation.

8. Communicate Clearly and Consistently

When looking to drive response rates, clear and consistent communication is key. Use a diverse range of communication channels — Slack, Teams, employee apps/intranets, and team meetings — to remind your team of closing dates.

9. Demonstrate Action from Feedback

Show employees that their feedback leads to action. Share the results of previous surveys while highlighting the changes made as a result. Most organizations need to communicate back with a 'you said, we did' format, or if an action isn't feasible, explain why. This transparency builds trust and encourages future participation.
 Learn more about the power of actioning your employee survey results here.

10. Make Surveys Accessible and User-Friendly

Many employees prefer to complete surveys on their own time and on their own devices. Make sure your survey is mobile-friendly to ensure it’s accessible anytime, anywhere. This is particularly important for a deskless workforce, where surprisingly, only 1% of business software is designed with their needs in mind. By catering to this preference, you can significantly boost response rates, especially among a tech-savvy workforce.

11. Keep Surveys Short and Focused

According to the study by McKenzie et al. (2017), you can avoid survey fatigue by keeping your surveys concise and relevant. Focus on crucial topics by eliminating unnecessary questions. If in-depth feedback is needed, consider follow-up pulse surveys on specific issues. 


Ready to transform your employee surveys into powerful tools for engagement and growth? Discover how WorkBuzz can help you gain actionable insights and manage change better. Start your journey toward a more connected and motivated workforce today.

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