Why You Need to Increase Employee Survey Response Rates to Create a Better Work Environment


Part of keeping up with business competitors is making sure that your employees are operating at an optimum pace and that the factors that may or are affecting their output are fully addressed. A good work environment is the best motivator for employees. This encompasses both the financial, physical, and emotional aspects of the environment.

The way to learn whether an environment serves your employees well or not is through conducting an employee survey. This can help you improve organizational performance by knowing what focus areas you need to work on in the organization. There are several ways to conduct the surveys, either through online questionnaires or offline paper questionnaires.

When you decide to conduct the survey, it is important to plan well for it and avoid having a poorly executed survey that will only damage the employees’ confidence in their employer and HR. It is also important to make sure that you engage the employees well to increase employee survey response rates. Read here to know more tips to increase the response rates.

Problems with having low response rates:

The ideal response rate that you are aiming for is definitely not 100% because that is often an indicator of coercion from the management to participate in the survey. The numbers for response rates vary from 50-80%.

Large companies with a staff of over 50 employees can expect response rates of between 65-80%, while smaller companies of employees under 50 should have between 80-90% response rates. Anything less than 50% is an indicator of a serious problem that should be addressed to encourage participation.

Here are the dangers that come from a low response rate

  • You get inadequate data and can, therefore, not enact changes comprehensively. It’s difficult to make changes from little data, as the changes will not reflect the opinions of the majority
  • It is difficult to know which organizational values and cultures need to be changed, as they are no longer functional to the organization
  • You cannot conduct audits and reviews, as you do not have enough insights into the state of the organization
  • It is difficult to know which previously implemented methodologies have the biggest impact.

How to increase employee surveys response rates:

After understanding the impact that low response rates have on the integrity of the data collected, you can use the following methods to make sure that you have a high response rate:

  1. Make your surveys short and simple: even if it is on company time, no one enjoys responding to one-hour-long surveys. And if it is in their free time, then that makes it more hectic. When a survey is simple to complete and without complicated questions, the response is higher. Avoid things such as enmeshing two questions in one or very long winding questions.
  2. Make sure that the confidentiality and anonymity of the responses will be valued: if there is a risk of negative side effects to having responded to a question, employees will hesitate to participate. Identifiers such as age and gender or department should be done away with to improve on this anonymity.
  3. Remind your employees: one prominent reason for failing to complete a survey is usually forgetting that the survey had to be done. A regular reminder should be able to do the trick.
  4. Motivate participation with incentives: you can use coupons, prizes, and other treats to encourage employees to participate. Make sure the prize is worthwhile and relevant to encourage a positive spirit of competition.
  5. Structure your surveys well: the structure of the surveys should be done in a way to encourage responses. Avoid too many open-ended questions, repetition, and bad design

Having the relevant feedback from employees will help to ensure that your company is sensitive to the needs of its staff. It is important to remind the employees how important their feedback is to you and work towards actively incorporating their suggestions.


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