By Calvin Gower, Marketing Coordinator, Trüpp.

So, you’ve designed the perfect survey to get a pulse on your team’s engagement. You know what your objectives are and how you’re going to administer it. Now, how do you optimize employee participation? A voluntary survey may not be the highest item on an employee’s priority list, but there are simple, yet effective, strategies that will translate into receiving feedback from more of your employees. Here are a few tips:

Communicate in an effective way.

When crafting employee communications about the upcoming survey, be sure to include the what, why, when, and how. Consider what information will be most helpful for employees to feel motivated to provide feedback and have trust in the process. The questions below can help when establishing your communication plan.

  • Why are we conducting a survey?
  • What exactly is the survey addressing?
  • Why should an employee take the time to share their input?
  • When will the survey be conducted?
  • When will the survey results be revealed?
  • How will we ensure confidentiality?
  • How can they participate in the process?

Get influential people involved.

Engaging influencers to help drive the survey initiative increases participation. Make a point to have survey “champions” involved in the process from start to finish. These employees don’t have to be in a management role. Rather, select people who promote the company culture and are excited about the survey objectives. Leverage their input to ensure survey questions seem relevant and easy to understand as well as to spread the word and grow grassroots support for survey participation.

From the c-suite to frontline managers, leadership buy-in is also crucial to increasing participation. Leadership can set and communicate priorities and dedicate resources for the survey project and addressing areas of improvement. While upper management captains the ship, frontline managers are interacting with employees on a day-to-day basis and can encourage employees to carve time out of their schedule to complete the survey.

Timing can be everything.

Employers should consider factors such as seasonality, vacations, and competing projects and communications. For example, a retail clothing company would not likely want to conduct an employee survey during peak seasons such as December and August. It may be helpful to also consider other company rhythms that are impactful to employees, such as performance evaluations, merit increases, benefits renewals, and annual planning/budgeting. Ideally, an employee survey is conducted when competing priorities are minimal and employees are more likely to have time and energy to complete the survey.

It’s always important to remember that rates can vary from company to company, especially when it comes to the number of employees. Usually, the larger the company, the lower the participation rate (i.e., < 50 employees: 80-90%, hundreds of employees: 70-80%, thousands of employees: 60-80%). With that being said; higher participation rates are inevitable when you establish a clear communication plan, get influencers involved, and take the right approach for your business.