7 accessible tips to increase the response rate

The number of respondents is crucial for the success of a Staff Research. A low response rate ensures that the data is not a good reflection of the actual. The result, without sufficient participants, the results will be taken less seriously. When few employees react then this means that the added value of the research is significantly decreasing. These tips therefore help you to get responses to the next research.

Definition response rate

The response rate is the number of unique completed questionnaires divided by the number of invited people (respondents). Typically, this number is expressed in a percentage. For example: When 600 employees are invited and 550 actually complete the questionnaire then the response rate is 91.6%.

1. Ensuring anonymity

For both a higher number of responses and valuable input, anonymity for employees is important. When the anonymity of a questionnaire is guaranteed, employees will be candid in their reply. To answer questions about executives and co-operation with other employees, perception of anonymity is particularly important. Especially when trust is already a problem within the organization then there will be more need to confirm the anonymity of employees.

2. Clear Objective

Explain in any form of communication what the purpose of the questionnaire is. Tell me what the benefits are for the organization and what the employee has to say about this. This creates a level of support and will also encourage others to fill in the questionnaire.

3. Follow-up steps

Shows the follow-up steps after collecting the data. Make clear when the results are shared with employees. Tell me what the follow-up steps are after the data has been collected. What is being done to translate the results into improvements? When this is insightful, employees gain insight into the entire process. This leads to more support and as a result a higher response rate.

4. Support Management

Involving executives when inviting employees can give a boost to the response rate. When the research is supported from the summit, this shows that they are involved in the research. It may therefore be smart to have the responsible manager or executive Board sign the invitation. It is even better to send the research entirely from the management.

5. Compact Questionnaire

Longer questionnaires have a lower response rate. It is important to make a good estimate in advance how long it takes to complete the questionnaire. As a result, employees know how much time they should make for the research. The rule is that it is better to be ready rather than it takes longer than expected. If the questionnaire is relatively long then it is good to give employees the opportunity to complete the questionnaire in parts. The impact on working pressure is therefore limited.

6. Timing and Deadlines

Make sure you think carefully about the time of turning off the questionnaire and that the deadline for employees is feasible. It can be frustrating when the workload is high and then employees are expected to complete the questionnaire within a few days.

7. Fulfilling commitments

In particular, for follow-up research, it is essential that the planning is adhered to. Let in communication to the employees know what has been promised and make clear what the results are. If certain deadlines are ultimately not feasible, please communicate it in time.

What is a good response rate?

This depends on the type of research but usually a response rate above 70% is good. If you get a percentage below 60% then it's smart to take the above suggestions.

Also make sure you have the right Technique behind the survey. If it is easy to fill in the questionnaire, employees can complete the questionnaire more quickly.

The above points are the important ones to achieve a higher response rate. Employee survey However, this is highly dependent on the context in which it is applied. Therefore, it is important to think carefully in advance about which points could be crucial for your organisation. Just remember that there is always room for improvement as every research has its limitations.

20 February 2016

2 Comments about "7 accessible tips to increase the response rate"

    • Barry Pietersen Post authorReply


      Thanks for your comment. Of course that depends entirely on the platform but you probably don't mean collecting it locally, but by means of a 3rd party? If so, it is good to be sure that the platform is technically advanced enough but also deals well with the data. Both of course also depend on the objectives of your research!


      Barry Pietersen

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