How To Increase Employee Survey Participation: 6 Proven Strategies

By PeopleFirst

You've crafted the perfect employee survey. You've carefully considered the questions so that they provide the insights you need to make your workplace even better. Now, it's time to hit send and wait for the responses to roll in... but they don't. Instead, the response rate is disappointingly low.

Employee surveys are powerful tools. They give your people a voice and allow you to make informed decisions about company culture, policies, and employee satisfaction. However, when participation is low, the insights you gain become unreliable. 

Without getting enough responses, it's difficult to identify trends, address issues, and truly understand what your employees need. 

Let's change that! In this article, we'll explore how to increase employee survey participation with 6 proven strategies so you can mine those quality responses to identify why people leave and retain your top talents.



The benefits of good employee survey participation

You get several benefits from conducting an employee survey. These benefits include:


  • Gain actionable insights: Understand what drives employee engagement and where to focus your efforts.
  • Show employees you care: Taking action on feedback builds trust and motivates future participation.
  • Strengthening culture: Measure alignment with company values and guide positive change.
  • Benchmarking performance: Track progress and improvement between cycles and see how you compare to competitors and set realistic goals.
  • Boost the bottom line: Research links high engagement to increased productivity, customer loyalty, and overall business success.


The average global response rate for engagement surveys is 76%, with rates ranging from 60% to 92%. So, if you’re unable to achieve an optimum response rate, it may lead to certain downsides, such as: 


  • Unreliable data: With low participation, your survey results may not accurately reflect the sentiment of your workforce. It may lead to sample bias, lack of representation, and incomplete data.
  • Missed insights: Specific issues or areas for improvement might go unnoticed if certain groups or demographics are less likely to participate. You lose the chance to uncover your organization's true drivers of engagement.
  • Difficult to benchmark: Comparing your results to industry standards with a low response rate becomes less meaningful. You won't be able to gauge where your company stands accurately.
  • Wasted resources: Designing and launching a survey takes time and effort. A low response rate means this investment might have gone to waste without delivering the valuable insights you need.



💡Turn Employee Feedback Survey Results into Meaningful Action Plans

Using insights derived from employee feedback survey results can help your organization improve employee experience, detect problems before they occur, and increase ROI.



Top reasons why employees don't participate in a survey

Let's look at the common reasons for lack of participation so you can proactively address them:

  1. Inconvenience: Surveys that are difficult to access, poorly designed, or overly long make it less likely for employees to complete them.
  2. Time constraints: Busy schedules can be a barrier. Particularly with frontline or hourly workers, setting aside dedicated time to complete the survey during work hours might make it feel like an extra burden.
  3. Perceived lack of importance: Without clear communication about why the survey matters and how leadership values feedback, employees may see it as unimportant or simply another box-ticking exercise.
  4. Trust issues: Fears around confidentiality and whether the management will take their feedback seriously can lead to hesitation. Employees may worry their responses could be traced back to them.
  5. Survey fatigue: Too many surveys too frequently can overwhelm employees. If they feel bombarded with requests for feedback, they're less likely to engage with each one fully.
  6. Lack of action from past surveys: If employees gave feedback in the past and saw no meaningful changes, they become disillusioned with the process. They may feel like their input doesn't matter.


How to increase employee survey participation: 6 proven strategies

Low employee survey participation isn't just a missed opportunity – it undermines your efforts to understand the workforce. Without a representative sample of voices, you risk making decisions based on incomplete or misleading data. So, let’s look at proven strategies to boost your survey participation rates and create high-performing teams. 


1. Build trust and transparency

Confidentiality and anonymity are essential for a successful employee survey. Employees who don't trust their honest feedback will remain confidential and far less likely to participate. This means being transparent about the survey's work, from data collection to analysis and reporting.

Emphasize that responses cannot be traced back to individuals. If you use a third-party survey provider, highlight their commitment to protecting respondent identities. 

To build trust, be transparent about how you'll use survey data. Tell employees that the survey aims to create a better workplace. Explain how you'll analyze the data (looking for trends and areas to improve) and who will see it. Most importantly, share specific examples of how you've made changes based on past survey feedback. This shows employees that you don't just listen, you act on their input.

2. Make it relevant and actionable

Nobody wants to waste time on irrelevant questions. To boost participation, tailor your survey questions to the things that directly impact your employees' work experience. Have you heard concerns about workload, training opportunities, or team communication? Include questions that get to the heart of those issues.

Avoid overly broad surveys that try to cover everything. A tightly focused survey on key areas shows employees that you understand their time is valuable.

Commit to sharing the survey results with employees and share the action steps you plan to take based on their feedback. This follow-up communication is essential to show that their participation makes a real difference in shaping the workplace.


3. Communicate effectively

To get people engaged, start by announcing the survey well in advance. Use multiple channels, like email, company meetings, or your intranet, to get the word out. Don't just tell them there's a survey – use compelling words to encourage survey participation. Clearly explain the survey's purpose, how long it will be open, and how employees can easily access it.

It’s essential to tailor your communication approach. Some employees will engage best with emails, while others might respond more to announcements during team meetings or eye-catching intranet posts. If you use a variety of channels, you'll reach the widest possible audience and boost your participation rates.


4. Optimize accessibility and convenience

Participation rates increase when you remove barriers. Make it as easy as possible for employees to complete the survey by offering multiple ways to access it. Ensure it works seamlessly on computers, phones, and tablets so everyone can participate regardless of their device preference.

Make a concerted effort for employees who can't easily step away from the production floor or have limited computer access. Provide dedicated time during their work shifts for them to complete the survey. This shows that you value their time and want to hear from them.

Remember that people's attention spans are limited. Aim for a survey that one can complete in under 15 minutes. This makes it much more likely that employees will finish what they start and provide thoughtful responses.


5. Streamline surveys with an employee survey tool

Manually running surveys can be time-consuming and prone to errors. A dedicated survey tool streamlines the entire process. It helps you design effective surveys, automate distribution, track responses, and easily analyze results. This frees up your time to focus on what matters most – taking action on the feedback you receive.

You can leverage EngageRocket, which has a user-friendly interface, scientifically backed surveys, and powerful analytics. It ensures confidentiality, offers multi-language support, and delivers actionable insights to drive meaningful change. EngageRocket integrates with other HR tools to create a seamless people management experience.


Enterprise ready: More than 75+ languages supported for international workforce ©EngageRocket


6. Incentives and recognition

Incentives can play a role in boosting participation. Survey promotion ideas like gift cards can be a fun way to encourage people. Even better, link rewards to team participation rates. This fosters a spirit of collaboration and friendly competition. Publicly recognizing departments or teams with the highest participation motivates others to get involved.

Throughout all your communications, emphasize that participating in the survey is the biggest reward. Employees must feel they will contribute to a better workplace by sharing their opinions. Let them know that even without incentives, their feedback is invaluable.


How EngageRocket helps G-Able achieve higher survey participation

G-Able is a leading Thai digital solutions provider with over 2,600 employees. As G-Able shifted towards a digital workplace, they needed to understand how this transformation impacted employee engagement, particularly in learning and development opportunities.

So, G-Able partnered with EngageRocket to conduct regular employee pulse surveys. The surveys achieved a remarkable 88% participation rate. This high response rate ensured that the data gathered was truly representative of the workforce.

The high participation helped G-Able receive accurate, actionable data on employee sentiment. EngageRocket's analytics allowed managers to track individual and team engagement for timely and targeted interventions over time. 



 BELONG allows you to take a deep dive and easily identify internal trends and areas of opportunity ©EngageRocket


Based on the insights, G-Able implemented new initiatives, which resulted in overall engagement score improvement from 3.41 to 3.66 within two survey cycles.


As the leading digital solutions provider in Thailand, G-Able adopts a solution and technology to drive the company into an integrated digital workplace with the organizational transformation program, as well as ensuring employee engagement and alignment with the company’s business strategy. With the embedded analytics, EngageRocket makes it easy for us to monitor and analyze the pulse of our organization in real-time,”

Suthep Oonmettachit, President of G-Able Group



Low employee survey participation can feel frustrating, but it doesn't have to be the norm. Suppose you implement the ways to increase survey responses we've covered. In that case, you'll see a significant increase in employee engagement and gain the insight you need to create a truly exceptional workplace.

Ready to transform your surveys into a powerful tool for improvement? Explore EngageRocket to see how our platform can help streamline the process and deliver the actionable data you need.




Tags: EngageRocket, HR analytics, Feedback Survey