Maximising the Participation Rates
A good response rate is generally a function of the commitment displayed by senior management to the survey process and the quality of the communication programme – employees need to be educated on what employee engagement is, what the survey will measure, and how they will benefit from participating.
Official management support for the survey
Employees need to understand that the survey is an official activity that has the full support of management at all levels:
- The survey should be formally announced to all the employees by the organisation’s CEO – if possible, in person in a town hall type meeting with all the employees, followed up with an email or letter;
- Management at all levels should promote and discuss the benefits of the survey with their direct reports;
- The survey should be positioned as an official activity – employees should understand that they will be allowed to complete the survey during work time (if they so choose).
Management commitment to the survey process
Employees must be convinced that the survey serves a larger purpose and that it is a means to an end:
- Management should publicly commit to doing something about the survey results, to acting on the outcomes of the survey;
- Management should also commit to providing formal feedback to the entire workforce regarding the survey results;
- Management at all levels should be held accountable for the survey results of their teams or departments.
Benefits to organisation & employees
Employees should understand what the benefits of the survey are:
- The survey will not only highlight aspects in the organisation and in their work environments that work, but also aspects that don’t work so well so something can be done about them;
- The survey provides them with the ideal opportunity to voice their opinions and to say how they really feel about their managers, the organisation and their work environment;
- Employees that complete the survey questionnaire online will get their own Personal Engagement Reports as a takeaway that they can use for personal developmental purposes. Note that this will only be the case with Mindset’s Flow@Work engagement survey.
Detailed information re survey
A good communications program will increase participation rates and build employee trust, and will ultimately encourage open and honest feedback.
- Clearly articulate the how, where and when of the survey – how the survey will be conducted (online, on paper or via facilitated work sessions), where public PCs will be made available that they can share (if applicable), and when the survey will start. Do not give them the survey closing date at the beginning, since knowing that date may result in some of them postponing their participation in the survey and can have a negative impact on the final participation rate. This approach also gives you more flexibility in setting the actual closing date, in case participation ends up running a little behind expectations. Give employees the closing date toward the end of the survey process to reinforce a sense of urgency to get their voices heard.
- Monitor the survey participation rates of the organisation as well as of individual departments and teams so that specific action can be taken if participation in a certain area is falling behind the rest of the organisation. Communicate the participation rates on a regular basis to all concerned as an additional form of motivation.
- Inform them that feedback of the survey outcomes will be provided after the completion of the survey.
- Emphasise the fact that a neutral 3rd party, Mindset Management, will be conducting the survey, and that the survey will be 100% confidential and voluntary (discuss the points as outlined under Anonymity and Confidentiality).
Considering workplace conditions
The survey methodology (online, paper etc.) should take the employees' workplace and educational levels into account. Employees who do not have access to a PC should be allowed to use one or more suitably configured PCs that have been made available in a common area, and employees who are not sufficiently PC literate should be allowed to complete the survey on paper or via facilitated work sessions.
The same applies to the way in which the survey will be communicated. For instance, survey announcements should be made in person and/or via written letters, posters on walls, articles in newsletter etc. in cases where employees do not have access to emails.