3 Strategies to Increase Employee Survey Participation in Your Company

Image: Rawpixel/Shutterstock.com
Image: Rawpixel/Shutterstock.com

Employee surveys are a valuable tool to check the motivation level of your employees and the health of your organisation. In addition to overall workplace satisfaction, regular surveys can also be used to analyse the progress of important projects, such as those centered around digitalisation. At least that’s the theory. In practice, surveys can’t always meet their full potential and are sometimes dismissed by employees and management as a tiresome chore: The objectives are unclear, the survey tool too complicated and the results not visible enough. It’s hardly surprising that the completion rate in surveys is often low – in customer surveys sometimes as low as 2 percent!

Before the company leadership reverts to the comfort of conducting business as usual after a survey with a low response rate, the root cause of poor engagement is investigated superficially. Without touching on the truly important questions, the aim is to quickly identify a culprit. The usual suspects: boring and redundant questions, confusing questionnaires, poor technical implementation, the wrong time. This may all be more or less relevant, but doesn’t lead to the heart of the problem.


  1. Effective Onboarding: Explain and Promote Your Survey

You can invest a lot of time in perfecting these parameters for future surveys, but experiencing similarly dismal participation rates is as good as guaranteed – it’s back to the same procedure as every year. Simply put, but not quite as easily implemented, the key is to maximise the intrinsic motivation of your employees. Communicate in advance why a survey is being conducted to improve the participation rate. Your goal should be a participation rate of 60 percent or more – not just 2 percent. After all, the future direction of your company is at stake.

In a study, 29 percent of employees indicated that they thought surveys didn’t serve a clear purpose or have a positive impact on their daily work. To avoid frustration, define and communicate the goals of the survey and the benefit to individual employees and the company as a whole beforehand. Answer the question “Why?” clearly. Emphasize the anonymity of the survey in advance. This builds trust and eliminates any suspicion that the survey could be a covert way of monitoring employees.

Avoid a top-down communication approach. Instead, broach the subject with your employees in a relaxed and personal conversation, such as in a workshop or over a cup of coffee. Make sure that senior management is brought on board and sets a good example. “Build trust from the bottom up,” as David DeSteno put it in his bestseller, is the maxim that allows you to create a breeding ground for mutual trust.


  1. Show That Engagement Pays Off: Make Feedback Transparent

The most effective approach to high response rates are transparent feedback and results. Show your employees that their engagement pays off. Give your teams the feeling that their feedback directly contributes to your company goals or the success of your projects. Surwayne’s team engagement solution can be configured in a way that participating employees will be the first to receive an overview of the survey results – fully automated.

Avoid chasing after high participation rates through external incentives – these carry the risk of answers not being honest and meaningful. As a leader, you’re at the forefront of every survey. Set a good example in order to motivate your employees. Don’t view surveys as an annual “tick-box” exercise the way a quarter of managers do, but as one of the most important tools in your arsenal to help you strengthen the trust of your employees and retain them in your company.


  1. Closing the Feedback Loop: Employee Surveys With Impact

Show your employees and teams that their feedback has impact. Surwayne enables you to define and organise tasks based on the survey responses. New ideas and suggestions submitted by your employees can immediately turned into corresponding improvement actions. For many questions, Surwayne offers a catalogue with optimisation measures based on best practices. For your individual questions, you can define your own improvement actions.

Surwayne now helps you promote your employee surveys even better. With QR codes that you can display in your company’s entrance area, in meeting rooms or the cafeteria, your employees can view your current survey via smartphone in seconds and submit their own ideas and suggestions for improvement with just a few clicks. Try our new QR codes today and contact Surwayne Support anytime if you need help with the setup.


Summary: The participation of your employees in surveys directly reflects their trust in your management and the company’s values. Never take low participation rates lightly – they are a reliable indicator of a fundamental lack of trust. Strengthen the trust relationship between your employees and your company by not making employee surveys a tiresome chore, but making their purpose tangible. With the help of Surwayne, the construction company Otto Wulff does this very successfully – read the entire report here on our blog!

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Jasmin Daneschumand

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Jasmin Daneschumandjasmin@surwayne.com

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