Do you know the fastest way to destroy employee engagement survey participation rates? It’s very simple.

  • You can switch employee engagement surveys and strategies frequently, sending your employees the signal that “this too shall pass” without creating lasting change.
  • You can send employee engagement surveys too often, causing survey fatigue.
  • You can take all of the answers your employees carefully write down and fail to act on them, sending the message that their ideas don’t matter enough to turn into action.

Those are the three participation killers we run across most often – often enough to have developed an employee engagement survey system designed to address and/or prevent those issues. And it works, at least if you use it right.

When our Engagement Managers diagnose why participation rates are down, it’s often due to one or more of the following reasons:

  • Employees aren’t seeing the connection of their survey responses to real results.
  • Employees miss the ‘login’ memo entirely!
  • Leadership participation falls.

1. How are you sharing and communicating action items and results?

We strongly recommend sharing the results of all of the action items – even if there hasn’t been as much ‘action’ on them as you’d hoped – through the platform to encourage team members to log in to their personal dashboards to see for themselves where the company stands, the progress being made, and the progress they’re making as individuals. The more they connect the surveys with seeing real results, the more motivated they’ll be to become more involved in the process.

2. Keep encouraging and reminding team members to log in to their dashboards.

A few team members have probably never logged in to their personal dashboards and are probably unaware of everything they can access. One of the key elements of our employee engagement program is being able to benchmark your score versus the company’s and track personal progress over time. But if they don’t log in, they can’t see the changes being made.
Also try: A simple participation poster placed prominently in the office can help raise awareness of when the survey is set to launch and close.

3. Lead from the top down – get leaders participating.

Work closely with leaders in your organization to get their participation rates up. You may see, especially over time, participation rates among leadership fall as other tasks get prioritized, but it’s very important for the team to see both Ownership and Leaders invest their time in this process. It fosters a sense of camaraderie and alignment on working towards a greater purpose.

When leaders participate, it makes it easier for them to encourage their teams to participate. Try having leaders hold team meetings to communicate the impact and changes their feedback has made on the company thus far so everyone can see how their feedback makes a difference.

In short – you can improve survey participation by focusing on two things: Prioritizing employee engagement across all company strata (from Ownership and Leadership down) and connecting employee feedback to real results so they can see their impact and your commitment.