6 Ways to Boost Employee Survey Response Rate

Cathal Divilly

Whether it is the first time you're surveying your employees or if it is already fully integrated into your people strategy, you need to ensure that every employee's voice is heard and that you are receiving candid feedback from them.

What can you do to make your employees understand why their contribution to a great workplace is so meaningful?

In this article, we share 6 tips to make your survey process user-friendly and encourage maximum participation.

1. Communicate in advance

It is vital to the success of your survey that your employees are made aware that Great Place to Work®️ has been engaged to distribute your employee survey. Remember to provide your employees with an understanding of what their participation means, when to expect the survey and what to expect.

Ensure that this is their opportunity to give feedback on their workplace experiences. Ensure that all employees are aware of the confidentiality of the process. This includes the fact that the survey results will be amalgamated by Great Place to Work®️ and that individual answers revealing who answered what will not be available to your organisation.

During the survey, periodically remind all employees of your organisation’s participation in order to achieve a high response rate. However, it is important not to put pressure on employees if they do not wish to take part.


2. Explain why you do it

Explain why they should take part in the survey and what you are trying to achieve with it. Share the time they will need to complete the survey. If it’s your first time, let them know why you are participating and why it is worthwhile to respond.


  • Great Place to Work®️ Ireland is dedicated to helping organisations understand and practice the quality and behaviours that lead to the creation of great workplaces.

  • Great Place to Work®️ Ireland is going to help us to identify areas that need improvement such as _______, and will also help identify the action that can help us improve in these areas.

  • We will work to act on the results of the survey and coordinate with the Great Place to Work®️ team to share the results.

In the case of your second or third participation, explain what you did with their results last year and how it helped improve workplace culture.


  • If employees have completed surveys previously and seen no changes as a result, they may be reluctant to spend their time and energy completing another survey. It is important to make a commitment to act on the survey results and link the actions that have been taken to the survey.

3. Use several communication channels

It’s time to get creative! Talk about the upcoming employee survey in multiple formats and get creative with your marketing campaign:

  • Email employees – send an internal email to all employees to advise them on your participation in the programme, reasons for taking part, and what you hope to achieve. It is important to ensure that employees are given the time within their day to complete the survey. The survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.
  • Display posters in the kitchen/lunchroom, coffee areas, lifts and corridors or they can be displayed on the organisation’s Intranet site or sent in an email newsletter.
  • Have a countdown to survey launch day – create a buzz about the survey and ensure that all employees are aware of the launch date and close date.
  • Make announcements at company briefings and meetings, online or face-to-face, at daily huddles. Answer any concerns or questions employees have.

If you have a GPTW Team already, they can also encourage the rest of the team to participate and be advocates of the programme. Make sure you equip them with the right communication assets.


4. Make it come from the top

Your leadership team must be on board with the initiative before employees can be expected to participate in an engagement survey. It is imperative to note that leadership has a major impact on employee participation rates in employee surveys within an organisation.

Include your CEO or senior leader in the communication process. Ask your CEO to share a memo to inform the whole organisation that you are participating in the Great Place to Work®️ programme.


5. Ensure confidentiality and anonymity

It is vital for the success of your survey that employees are made aware that Great Place to Work® has been engaged to distribute your employee survey.

Confidentiality can be one of the main factors affecting survey responses. Employees tend to respond more honestly and accurately to surveys if the confidentiality issues have been underlined and communicated well with them in advance.

Making sure that employees know the survey is sent by a third party, can also increase confidence in its confidentiality. Also, making it clear that employees’ individual responses will not be reported back to the organisation and that only groups of more than 5 (e.g. particular departments) will be reported on can directly affect the honesty and accuracy of answers provided.


6. Ensure your employees are in a safe environment to share

Employees need to feel comfortable sharing their answers candidly without fear of repercussions.

Here is a couple of DON'Ts to make it extra clear:

  • Don't imply that employees should respond positively,
  • Don't mention that the survey is important to the organisation’s “ability to be successful”.
  • Don't express the benefits of being successful and recognised as a Best Workplace, e.g. publicity/recruitment/media attention, etc.
  • Don't ask employees to complete the survey together in an organised group or set times for completion. Employees must feel comfortable, and it is their choice to complete the survey, alone.


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About Great Place to Work®

Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. We help organisations quantify their culture and produce better business results by creating a high-trust work experience for all employees. We recognise Great Place to Work-Certified™ companies and the Best Workplaces™ in more than 60 countries.

To join the thousands of companies that have committed to building high-trust company cultures that help them attract, retain and take care of their people, contact us about getting Certified™️ today.


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