Jun 10, 2019 1:31:00 PM

How to Improve Staff Survey Response Rates

Employee response rate matters

Businesses today understand how important staff feedback is when it comes to improving job satisfaction levels, productivity, profitability and overall corporate culture.
For a recap, you can listen to our recent Podcast, The connection between Employee Productivity and Profitability.
However, success all hinges on people actually wanting to participate in providing this feedback. After all, how can you obtain the necessary data if your team don’t get involved or their hearts are not really in it?
In this article, we address how your company can boost your survey response rate to get the insights you need from the majority of your team.

  • People don’t see the value
If your staff believe it’s pointless or a waste of their time, then chances are they’ll ignore the request to participate.
  • Fear of backlash
Sometimes, staff are concerned that their honest feedback will lead to them suffering from repercussions. This could mean that they dilute their answers, lie or avoid it altogether.
  • It’s all too hard

If the surveys are daunting or not easy to complete, then staff will disengage very quickly.

  • No changes are implemented

If surveys are being completed regularly, and staff don’t see any change as a direct result, they will lose faith in the process because they feel they’re being ignored.

Whatever the cause of low response rates are, here are some really simple ways to address these issues and get the participation you want.

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How do you improve staff survey response rates?

Here are 8 practical tips to help maximise your team’s involvement in feedback questionnaires.

  1. Make your team feel personally invested It’s important to begin by setting the precedent that the feedback surveys are a team-wide initiative, and not just orders set by management.
    Use inclusive words and phrases like “we”, “our” and “we all can make a difference” in all communications, and reiterate the purpose is to improve the workplace for everyone, including participants and all of their colleagues.
    It’s also important to explain the benefits they will personally experience as a direct result of the surveys. For example: “Your
    answers will make a positive change for everyone.
  2. Make team leaders responsible A problem that can arise is that only a small HR or management team is running the whole survey program across the board. This can mean communications get missed or ignored on a team level because it’s so disconnected from their day-to-day operations.
    Instead, share the accountability with team leaders and managers, so they can help take the role of motivating their own direct reports.
    This way, everyone is working on it together.
  3. Promote the results from previous surveys One of the biggest challenges of response rates is that staff may feel that their feedback does nothing. As a result, they feel unmotivated to keep participating.
    Instead, demonstrate actual changes that came about from their previous collective responses.
    For example, release the report of the last survey and create case study articles and videos which highlight the projects which have been implemented as a direct response to their feedback.
    This will show everyone that positive changes are being made and stress the importance of future surveys going forward.
    They will be far more inclined to participate if they feel they’re being heard.
  4. Make it very convenient Another typical shortfall is when the surveys are difficult or inconvenient to complete.
    So, start by giving everyone plenty of notice and reminders well in advance, and follow them up regularly so that they are aware, rather than caught off guard.
    Don’t be afraid of doing a little internal marketing too. Create a video from the CEO, produce some flyers and put communications in the lunchroom. This all keeps the survey relevant in their minds.
    Also, make it as accessible as possible. For example, offer it online, via their computers, phones and smart devices. The easier than can complete it on their terms, the better your response rate will be.   New call-to-action
  5. Healthy competition Sometimes, the use of a bit of competition can really help motivate teams to get involved.
    For example, creating a company-wide competition for the most participants in a particular department or team will drive engagement. A visual leaderboard on the intranet that updates every day will create some further excitement too.
    Then, offer a celebratory prize for the winning team, such as a team dinner, and promote this internally so that next time, other departments will want to be more involved. This incentive can really boost survey response levels in a fun way.
  6. Guarantee confidentiality Address the fear of backlash with the promise that all of their responses will be completely confidential. Remove too many identifying questions like age and name, to also make them feel more confident.
    This not only reduces the fear of being involved; they will also be more honest and truthful with their responses, which will improve data accuracy too.
  7. Reduce the number of open-ended questions While open-ended questions that require a text-answer can be useful, having too many can really make the process daunting.
    Consider making most (if not all) questions multiple choice so that answers can be selected and answered quickly. Try and keep the open questions to a minimum.
  8. Conduct regular, pulse surveys Large, cumbersome and irregular surveys that are pages long can really make the process quite discouraging for your team. The problem is that these can loom over people and they’ll end up trying to avoid it altogether.
    However, short and sharp pulse surveys that occur regularly are quick and easy. Staff will know that they don’t take long and appreciate how simple they are.
    Instead of being an intimidating event, people become familiar with the format and just make them part of their regular routine, rather than view it as a massive task. QWL Pulse surveys (Quality Of Life Surveys) in particular, can find the perfect balance between boosting your response rate and getting the data insights you need.

How VibeCatch can help you conduct QWL Pulse Surveys?

Pulse Surveys are an effective way of engaging your staff and offering a far more welcoming approach to employee feedback.

Vibecatch makes it even simpler than this, by providing easy to produce pulse surveys together with detailed reports.


Average employee surveys are great, but they provide basic information at best. That’s because they are ongoing and under-appreciated, and therefore largely ignored. Using these can lead to poor insights which end up being a waste of time.

However, what does work is active, scientific-based listening and learning of your internal workforce to yield better (and trackable) results.

This is where the VibeCatch platform can help you.

VibeCatch is a Human Resources platform based on 15 years of proven research, offering you the opportunity to make a positive difference not just for everyone around you, but your business and customers too.
It’s simple and automated, which makes checking on your culture easy to ensure that your business is optimised.

How can your business benefit from a science-based approach?

We’d love to show you, so you can see it in action for yourself.
Book an obligation-free consultation and we’ll discuss your options to demonstrate how VibeCatch can help you help everyone.

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Posted by Juha Huttunen

Juha Huttunen
Juha is a Co-founder and the CEO of VibeCatch. A serial entrepreneur, technology enthusiast and geek with 15+ years of experience in startups, sales, leadership and growing business. To Juha, measuring improvements in performance and putting them in quantifiable and monetary terms is VibeCatch’s greatest strength.

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