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Engagement Planning - Increasing your response rate

How increasing your response rates improves employee engagement levels

Making improvements to your engagement levels, and subsequently employee productivity and retention, can only happen if you have meaningful data in place to begin with. And meaningful data only comes from a high survey response rate. If this is low, or people have responded dishonestly, you may form strategies that will fail to positively impact engagement levels, and quite possibly impair them.

Additionally, if your organisation is being considered for a Best Companies accreditation or the Best Companies to Work For List, you may find your organisation ineligible if your response rate is too low. Our average response rates from last year’s survey process are shown on the left; these are great as initial targets to hit if you’re new to engagement surveying, so let’s explore how we can increase your response rate to these levels.

What stops people from surveying?

When communicating your survey, there are three key challenges that can hamper your efforts:

  • Employees might not understand why they are being surveyed;
  • Employees might not believe their responses are anonymous;
  • Employees might not believe anything will be done with the results.

So, how can you alleviate these concerns and increase your response rate?

How can I increase my organisation’s response rate?

First off, emphasise why you are surveying your organisation. Are you setting a benchmark to improve on? Are you surveying to gain recognition for your organisation? If you are up-front with your employees about the reasons for engagement surveying, your response rate will likely increase.

Secondly, address any anonymity worries head on. Employees must feel that they can respond honestly, and that they have a choice to do so. If concerns are raised about anonymity, speak openly with employees to discuss their worries. To help, we have a video you can share that explains how Best Companies processes, protects and provides the data back to you as a project manager following your use of the b-Heard survey.

Thirdly, make it clear that your results will be shared with the wider organisation. It’s great to be recognised for your employee engagement levels but if results aren’t shared, confidence in the management or culture of your organisation may fall. Can you commit to a timeframe to release your results? What depth of result will you share? The more clarity you can give, the more people will trust the process and respond accordingly.

Having survey champions who are part of the process and can help you to manage these messages is really helpful. These can be anyone from across the organisation that can role-model excitement about the survey and act as go-to contacts for those with concerns – your management community in particular are great options as survey champions, but this can be anyone from the organisation who you believe will help make your survey successful.

Last year, SUEZ recycling and recovery UK achieved an incredible 84% response rate for their survey. This is largely due to the efforts of their survey champions; being an organisation of over 5000 employees, the company 'recruits' volunteers to act as survey champions across the business. The volunteers are invited to promoter events where they are trained in what their role involves, they receive a demonstration of how the b-Heard survey will look and work and what activities they can organise to help encourage participation.

Their survey project manager, Rebecca, said "We believe this is important as if we're driving participation from peers, rather than from managers, employees are going to feel much more comfortable and confident in wanting to complete the survey."

Click here to view SUEZ's engagement profile.

How can we help at Best Companies?

In you’re surveying with Best Companies, we have additional ways to help monitor and increase your response rate.

Via your online dashboard, we provide you with updates on how your response rate is whilst the b-Heard survey is live. You can then provide updates to managers across your organisation about how their areas are responding. They can then engage with their teams to discuss any anonymity concerns and reinforce the understanding behind the organisation surveying.

Additionally, we provide an opportunity for you to donate to a charity of your choice for each survey that’s returned. Since 2011, this initiative has seen 1,278 organisations commit money to more than 1,500 charities, raising over £1,500,000!  Not only is this great for those in need, but it has a positive impact on your response rate as it provides an opportunity for employees to feel that they are giving something back.

In their last survey with Best Companies, SUEZ donated £3 to Macmillan Cancer Support for each survey completed, raising a total of £11,868!

What Happens Next?

It's onto disseminating your data when you’ve received it back (to view an article that explains more, click here). It’s vital that everyone has the opportunity to review how your organisation’s engagement levels are doing, as it reinforces to them that their voice matters.

For more articles to help you on your employee engagement journey, click here.

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