Increasing Employee Survey Response Rates
Your engagement or culture survey is live and you continually refresh your browser window to see the number of respondents to the survey crawling upwards. After every reminder email or text, your heart rate jumps like the increase in number of respondents. Then it’s the last few days of the live survey, and you’re hoping that the response rate percentage would creep just a tad bit higher…
We’ve heard from you and we agree – high response rates are important and difficult to achieve!
We’ve talked to you about methods to increase your response rate before, but this time we’re excited to share with you what we’ve learned from two CultureIQ customers directly. First, we spoke to Yvonne Lau, the Director of People Analytics at PointClickCare, a cloud based EHR software company for nursing homes. We also spoke with Cara Anderson, the Director of People and Culture for Convercent, a software company that focuses on ethics and compliance. Both of their goals were 100% participation rate, and while we kindly reminded them that anything above 70% is statistically sufficient, they were overachievers to say the least.
I’m excited to share with you what we learned from these two companies!
Before the culture survey
Both PointClickCare and Convercent started with making sure senior leaders were aware and on board with the CultureIQ survey. “The tool was new, so HR did a presentation with senior executives and functional leads about the tool,” Yvonne from PointClickCare says.
Then, the companies communicated with the rest of the organization about the launch. “Every Monday we have an all-hands meeting, and it was announced by our Chief Product Officer (one of the founders) and myself,” Cara from Convercent explains. “He was able to speak to the importance of the survey from a founder’s perspective and explained that we wanted feedback whether positive, negative or otherwise so we can help make this a better place to work for everyone.”
The two companies also sent emails before the survey launch as well with logistical information and a reminder that the survey is completely anonymous. Cara gave us the play by play, “We had the company-wide announcement Monday, a follow up email Tuesday, and sent the survey out Wednesday.”
Pro tip: Based on what we saw in their pre-survey emails, we created a few tips to help YOU create an effective pre-survey communication:
- Tie the specific survey into a larger feedback program so employees can see that the company is dedicated to actively listening to them.
- Incorporate your values into the messaging, because values-based programming always earns an A+ in our book!
- Include a very clear indication about what employees can expect next, such as the survey launch date and window. This enables your busiest employees to proactively carve out time in their schedule to take the culture survey.
- Finally, reiterate that the survey is short and quick (with a specific time frame, such as “the survey should take no more than 7-10 minutes”). This not only helps people accordingly, but it also makes the survey feel more approachable. In survey-land there is nothing worse than starting a survey and realizing it will take you hours to complete when you only set aside 10 minutes.
- If possible, have the email come from a leader so that employees know their feedback is being taken seriously and has potential to result in real change.
During the survey
While both companies took advantage of CultureIQ’s every other business day reminder schedule, they also took steps on their end to ensure a high response rate. “We sent the response rate to the functional leaders almost every other day,” Yvonne says. “And published response rate stats at the weekly executive meeting.” This stirred up some internal competition amongst departments.
For Convercent, the CultureIQ survey was brought up during the Monday all hands meeting while the survey was live. Then, the day before the survey closed, the CEO sent out a reminder email. “In the messaging we did, we made sure to tell people their opinion counts and that in order to successfully make Convercent a great place to work, we want to know what’s important to everyone and how they feel about it,” Cara says. They also tied communications regarding the CultureIQ survey to their values of “open and honest” and “uncomfortable.”
Additionally, Convercent made sure to include the timeline of when the company could expect to see results. “It’s dangerous to say we want to know what people think and that we’re going to base changes on that without giving them any idea. We told them they would see the results; it would just take a few weeks.”
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Both companies put an emphasis on the importance of senior leadership involvement in the process. “Our CEO is big on culture and everyone loves it. [Employees] know that the survey results will be reviewed by the CEO and they want their voice to be heard by executives” Yvonne says. Cara adds, “Making sure the leaders in the company are involved and explain why this is so important – I think that’s really key.”
Yvonne mentions that it doesn’t have to be the CEO who champions the survey to the organization. “Whoever is respected in the organization should be the culture ambassador in driving this initiative. For us, we are really lucky that our founder is also the culture ambassador. But it doesn’t need to be the CEO, just the right person.”
While we might sound like a broken record, if there is one thing that you take away from these examples, it is the importance of leadership involvement in this process. Here are a few other key pointers to keep you on track:
- Notify all employees about the upcoming survey in an email or all-hands meeting (both, if possible!)
- Have key leaders explain how the feedback will be used in both the short-term and long-term, with any specific dates of next steps if possible
- Send reminders throughout the survey window, with a final, hard-hitting reminder from a leader a day or two before the close of the survey
- Have fun and tap into your employees’ competitive side!
Thank you to PointClickCare and Convercent for sharing with us!
If you have any tips of what has worked for your company, shoot us a tweet at @CultureIQ