You know you need to collect actionable employee feedback, so you can increase employee engagement, reduce turnover and attract high performers. You've decided working with a great third-party research firm is the only way to protect employee confidentiality and collect data you can rely on. You've even set up your survey and are now ready to go live. But what's the best way to maximize response rates and communicate with your employees about your upcoming survey?
Employees often have questions about when the survey will happen, how the collected data will be used, and what will be done to protect their anonymity. Lucky for you, the best employee survey firms will provide you with an easy process, including a great plan for internal communications. Read on to learn more about how we recommend you become an internal communications wizard for your employee survey.
Draft a Communication Plan
It's helpful to map out what and when you communicate (to whom) during the survey process. Donna Moran, the HR Culture Champion (we love this title!) at First Commerce Credit Union and Best Employee Surveys client, knows just how valuable communication is when it comes to employee surveys.
"When our survey dates are determine, the first thing I do is work out our communication plan that includes the method of communication, the goal of each message, and the specific communication dates. Our communication methods include downline management, direct team member email and "flashpoints" which are similar to a daily company newsletter shared verbally within teams throughout the company. We also use “Feedback is a Gift” for our tagline in our communication and try to make taking the survey easy (also part of our culture)."
Start at the Top
Begin by announcing the project to the leadership team. Share not just the plan to survey employees - like the timeline and process - but also the context of why it’s important. This is a great time to talk about the goals of the survey and use stories from your own workplace culture to get your points across. Whether yours is an organization that’s earned awards for excellent workplace culture or you’ve suffered the loss of employee trust, there’s a story there. Consider why the survey really matters to your employees and talk about that.
While these are great conversations to have in person, the structure of your organization will dictate the best forum for connecting with leadership. Use our template as a jumping off point for your own communications.
Talk About What Matters
It's not just the leadership team that needs to understand why the survey matters. Whenever you talk about the survey, emphasize the importance of each of the benefits the organization has to gain. Here's a list of common reasons to use employee surveys:
- Provide employees with a discreet way to voice concerns;
- Effective means of communication;
- Provides insights for restructuring benefits programs;
- Opportunity to learn about working conditions from an insider; and
- Useful tool for determining organizational weaknesses.
Take the Floor in Staff Meetings
Use staff and departmental meetings to talk about the upcoming survey. Talk about why it matters as well as the details of when to expect it, how employees will receive their survey, and when to expect to hear about results. Emphasize the anonymity of the survey, explaining what measures will be taken to protect the identities of your respondents. Ask meeting leaders to add you to the agenda for a 3 minute announcement. Remember to save half of that time to take questions.
Launch a Poster Campaign
Promote your upcoming employee survey, emphasize survey confidentiality, and increase response rates when you use a poster campaign. Be sure to address the 5 Ws:
- Who is administering the survey
- What is the purpose of the survey
- When will the survey be conducted (and when is the deadline);
- Where will employees access the survey; and
- Why is the survey important.
Send a Note From Human Resources
One to two weeks before your survey goes live, send a message from HR to employees that emphasizes the importance of employee feedback, what it will be used for, and how respondent confidentiality will be protected. While this message can be posted in common areas, enclosed with paychecks, or emailed to employees, consider using our free template as a jumping off point for your own communication from HR.
A Message From the Top
Similar to the note from HR, sending out a communication from your top local executive, or the CEO, is one great way to increase response rates, prepare your employees, and show leadership's support of the project. Use this free template sample as a jumping off point when crafting your own message from the CEO. Plan on sending this the day before your survey goes live.
When your employees hear the whole organization talking about your upcoming survey – especially leadership – then they’ll start to understand that it really matters; and be more likely to participate.
Throw a Launch Party
While incentivizing your survey will render the data invalid, drawing attention to your survey kickoff day is a great idea! Whether it's treats in the break room, balloons in common areas, buttons on the leadership team or any number of your creative party ideas, make a fuss and draw attention to your survey. Make an impact!