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Achieving good response rates

November 23, 2015
What can you do to achieve a high response rate?

Communicate: tell all your people why the employee survey is taking place and when it will happen. Don’t just send out a questionnaire without warning. Commit to feeding back the results. Use all available media. Brief managers thoroughly in advance. Reassure people that their individual responses will remain confidential and that they won’t be identified. (Data Protection rules apply). Stress that their views are critical to the success of the business.

1. Consult

Find out what’s on the minds of senior managers and the workforce. Use focus groups where appropriate, to find out what topics should be explored in the employee survey.

2. Champion

make sure that the CEO or someone near that level sponsors the employee survey and commits to following the results through. Don’t let the employee survey be seen as an HR initiative. Response rates will rise as a result.

3. Carve out time in the working day

make sure people are able to complete the employee survey questionnaire thoughtfully. Response rates will be affected positively.

4. Contribute to a charity

the only incentive that seems to work consistently is to make a charity contribution for every completed questionnaire. This doesn’t have to be new money, diverting cash in an existing charity budget won’t cost any more but it will have more effect internally. The engagement survey results will benefit. Response rates will improve.

5. Congratulate people

Congratulate people for responding in numbers, thank them for their participation in the employee survey.

6. Communicate the results

It won’t help the response rate this time, but it will have a big influence on the numbers you get next time

If you’ve done employee surveys before, can you increase the response? YES, follow the tips above and also

1. Remind

Remind people what happened as a result of the last employee survey(s). Restate the main issues which were highlighted. Spell out how useful it was and how much action you took. If you did communicate the results and take action, you can be almost certain that people will respond in greater numbers this time.

2. Repeat the objectives of the engagement survey

Stress that you want involvement from all employees and are looking for a high response rate.

3. Refresh

Refresh minds about the employee survey, timing, method, confidentiality and feedback on results and actions planned.

4. Review

Review the questionnaire – to see that it’s still relevant. If not, edit out the items which no longer apply and add in others which are topical. A more effective employee survey and a higher response rate will be the result.

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