Increase employee engagement survey participation rates with these 5 pro tips

Ilustración de dos oficinistas llevando a cabo una presentación de resultados. En la pantalla se muestra un gráfico de barras.

Employees are the best source of information to improve the work environment. And, employee engagement surveys are the perfect tool to collect all the data you need. This is why, as a manager, you know that the participation of all teams is essential. 

You, as the person responsible for the well-being of the team, know that engagement surveys provide highly valuable insights to applying positive changes to the functioning of the entire organization. However… do the employees know it too? 

If you have reached this article, the answer to that question may be “no”. So, participation in your engagement surveys is not as popular as you expected and they need a little push. 

How much push? 

Well, for significant results, the participation rate should be between 70% and 80%. Always taking into account that small companies need a greater number of responses than large ones. 

But don’t worry, because you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a compilation of the 5 best practices for increasing participation in your employee engagement surveys. 

Maximize the participation of your employee engagement surveys

1. Make sure the entire organization is behind the survey

Employees are the essential part of the participation in engagement surveys, but they are not the only important ones. 

The full set of managers, from senior executives to team leaders, need to be involved in the surveys and support the fact that the results obtained are valuable for the design of operational strategies. 

If employees feel that they are heard and that their responses and opinions are going to be used by the leadership to improve their quality of work-life, they are more likely to want to be part of the change. That fact increases the rate of participation in employee engagement surveys.

2. Anonymous responses

To increase the engagement rate and get a higher number of responses, employees need to be sure that they will not be penalized for any type of constructive criticism. 

Anonymity is one of the main features that make surveys so effective: it allows employees to be honest and transparent because they know that they will not be identified through their responses. 

Employees must feel free to respond to such sensitive questions as, for example, if they are happy with their payment, if they consider that they are valued enough by their managers, if they are comfortable working with their colleagues, or if the company is investing in the necessary resources. 

Using Team Insights you make sure that every engagement survey you send out is 100% anonymous.

3. Communicate your intentions

Employee engagement surveys are serious business. They are the tool by which changes come true. And this goal should be very clear to employees. Therefore, when you are going to launch a survey, do not do it without further ado. 

Tell your team that the organization wants to take the appropriate actions to improve the day-to-day of its workers and, to do that, the participation of everyone in the employee engagement surveys is essential.

You must emphasize the fact that their contribution is valuable to the board of directors, and reinforce the idea that a high rate of participation will have a favorable effect on their well-being at work. 

Employees will not put aside their busy day to answer questions if they are not sure that their contributions will really have a positive impact on the organization.

4. Make it easy and anticipate employee objections

Long surveys are boring and take a long time to complete, which causes the response rate to drop: employees get tired and abandon them or do not even open them at all. 

Your employees already have enough challenges to overcome in their day-to-day, and engagement surveys should not be an obstacle too. 

To encourage participation and get employees committed to completing the surveys to the end, it’s recommendable to keep them short (no more than 30 questions) and able to complete in 5 or 10 minutes. 

And, since we assume that your collaborators are not fortune tellers, let them know that this task will not take up much of their time! 

Use a subject or a message that anticipates the expectations of the collaborators. For example, in Team Insights we use the following message with our teams: 


“Here is the personal link to your survey. Your opinion is very important. 

In a few minutes, you can complete it. 

Thank you very much!” 


But, if you think you are going to need many more questions, pulse surveys are your ideal alternative.

5. Share the results and the action plan.

Sharing the results to your team once the consultation period is over is a vital step that many companies forget to take. 

On the one hand, it serves to show that the company is serious about employee engagement and that the feedback obtained has a purpose. 

On the other, employees can see the state of the company and how their contributions have influenced a positive evolution, which motivates them to continue participating in engagement surveys and maintain a high response rate. 

In conclusion

To improve participation in satisfaction surveys, you must understand that asking questions is just one more step that is part of a much more complex process.

The intention is to improve the well-being of your teams, and if you take it seriously, your people will too.

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