Getting a sense of your company’s employee’s satisfaction, engagement, or sentiment levels can be challenging without communicating with them clearly and addressing their concerns. What happens if your staff doesn’t support the survey process? You lose time, money, and, worse, confidence in your ability to obtain reliable employee input. Because of this, it’s critical that your staff understand the survey process, take part in it, and trust it.
Below are a few practices you should focus on to improve survey participation rates by planning, conducting, and following up on surveys.
Build Up Trust
Trust in management and the survey process is among the most critical practices for employee survey participation. If this trust is lacking, your staff will be less likely to fill out future surveys and even less likely to take the time to provide honest and open feedback.
One of the best ways to build employee trust in your company surveys is by acting on the responses. If employees don’t believe their responses will impact how the company runs, they won’t have any motivation to respond honestly.
You must promise to implement some form of change, no matter how small, based on the results to demonstrate that taking part in company surveys is valuable. Once results are in, analyze the results and develop a plan to implement changes that must be addressed and has the most positive impact.
If staff indicates there isn’t enough follow-up, have your management schedule post-review 1-on-1 meetings with every team member and provide them coaching on how to give better feedback and guidance.
Report the Response Accurately
You may naturally feel compelled to share only the positive survey results with employees, but it will do more harm than good to your survey process. Companies frequently solicit employee feedback and encourage participation but fail to report the results accurately.
Nothing demoralizes employees more than disclosing internal problems only to find no resolution. It would be better not to ask the question than fail to address or provide solutions to problems. For the most significant issues, address them immediately and follow up voraciously to ensure proper execution.
To build your company’s surveying participation rates, you must disclose both the “Good” and the “Bad” survey results. Suppose your employees have reported negatively about company policies, work processes, or damaging behaviors. Don’t hide or misreport them in your survey results. Instead, address these issues right away.
You need to know that employees talk to each other, and sooner or later, they will find that you misreported some of the things in your results. They will be reluctant to take future company surveys, and their honest answers will decline substantially.
Explain the “Why” for All Decisions
After you’ve gathered all the information, do a cost/benefit analysis with senior advisors to decide what improvements and changes must happen.
Communicate to employees that their responses matter by explaining your decision-making process for the changes.
Being honest about your decisions and transparent in your cost/benefit analysis will pay off. Explain what you will and won’t do based on the results. Give proper reasoning when explaining your proposed actions, including showing them the possible secondary and tertiary consequences of making changes to specific requests. Telling people why you won’t pay for that new slide in the cafeteria will bring you closer to meeting minds and communicating that you genuinely care about them.
Communicate the survey response action plan with the rest of your company after you and your team have co-created the new improvement plan. Inform everyone of upcoming changes and how they will improve company policies, processes, or the overall work environment.
Respecting your respondents in all stages of the survey process is the best way to increase participation rates. When employees are involved in all phases of the survey process, they are more likely.
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Louis Carter is the founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, Most Loved Workplace, and Results-Based Culture. Author of In Great Company, Change Champions Field Guide, and Best Practices in Talent Management, as well as a series of Leadership Development books. He is a trusted strategic advisor and coach to CEOs, CHROs, and leaders of mid-sized to F500 companies – enabling change and steering employer brand development together with highly effective teams, leaders, and organizations as a whole.