Improve Response Rate with Employee Survey Communications

by Jill Ramondo

A healthy response rate is key to a successful survey. After all, better participation leads to better results. So when I see organizations struggling with lackluster response rates, I immediately think about employee survey communications and how well they were executed before the survey launched.

How you communicate about your survey impacts response rate

Organizations sometimes rush through the survey setup phase, instead choosing to focus on a big, splashy results rollout. This is a common mistake. Being proactive and getting strategic about your employee survey communications is critical to trust, participation, and the quality of feedback.

Employee survey communications should include five things

Employee engagement surveys are one of the best ways to measure your culture and find out what really drives your workforce. An effective survey will reveal what motivates your people, why they want to stay with your organization (or not), and what you can do to unleash potential.

But do your employees understand important details, such as why you are surveying them or how the survey results will be used? Don’t assume they do. Instead, provide them with a clear understanding before the launch by communicating these five points:  

  1. The purpose of the survey. Tell employees why the survey is important. Perhaps you want to hear what’s on their minds. Maybe your organization has been through a recent change. Whatever your motivation, be straight with employees and let them know the purpose rather than leaving them to make assumptions.
  2. Your survey participation goal. Set a realistic goal and then share it. Emphasize how valuable each response is to the overall success of the survey. Employees should feel motivated to contribute without feeling pressured to respond.
  3. Clearly defined logistics and timeline. Your employee survey communications should detail who will administer the survey, when it will launch, and when it will close. Define who will be invited to participate in the survey and tell them how to access it.
  4. Assurance of confidentiality. This is really important. Employees need to know their candid responses are safe. Explain how their responses will be collected, aggregated, and reported. Provide them with a means to get anonymous survey support.
  5. What to expect. Explain how survey results will be communicated and when employees should expect to see actions based on their feedback. Employees are more likely to respond to the survey if they believe their voices will be heard.

How to communicate about your upcoming survey

So, send out an email with those five points and then wait for responses to come in. Easy enough, right?  Not quite. The companies with the best response rates go above and beyond with their employee survey communications. Here are some great ideas that have worked for Energage customers:

  • Announce it. About a month before your launch date, start with a verbal announcement at a companywide meeting. This message is most powerful when delivered by a senior leader — or ideally, the CEO. Follow-up with additional mentions from managers at the department level.
  • Utilize email. Reinforce verbal announcements with email correspondence. Be sure to provide a way for employees to ask questions or voice concerns. Send these messages at a regular cadence the month leading up to the survey, with the last reminder set for the day before launch.
  • Make it visible. In addition to communicating verbally and in writing, make the survey launch memorable with signage. Place posters in key locations around the office. Keep them simple, including key information such as a launch date.
  • Answer their questions. Put together Frequently Asked Questions and provide employees with a link to your survey provider’s Privacy Policy.
  • Use technology. Make sure to utilize all methods of broadcasting your employee survey communications. Some of our customers get really creative with this. Video messaging is a great example. Also look to your company intranet, instant messaging platform, or other channels frequently used by employees.

Employee engagement surveys can be a game-changer for organizations. But as we know, no game has ever been won without putting in the work beforehand. Consider employee survey communications part of your game-day prep. It will build a greater sense of team and yield a better end result.