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As a recruiting organisation, one of our key roles is to understand the ‘realities’ of the current workforce – what they think about the client organisation and why they choose to work there. Increasingly, we’re being asked to conduct internal research to augment our external talent mapping – and so we thought it would be good to share what we believe is best practice in terms of getting people to respond to surveys.
Why do people respond to surveys?
There are a number of different reasons why people respond to polls and surveys, including the importance of the topic and who is sponsoring it.
• Reciprocity: if people feel that they owe a person a favour, they’re more likely to agree to that persons request. You can generate feelings of reciprocity without using material gifts/incentives
• Authority and Credibility: response rates are improved if the person asking is perceived to have higher authority or credibility.
• Liking: people are more likely to act if they are asked by someone they have positive feelings towards.
• Social Benefit: people are more likely to respond if they feel that their responses will benefit society (eg – a higher response rate for a University survey rather than a commercial survey)
• Notion of Social Responsibility: a recent study found an 18 percentage point increase by including the phrase “it would really help us out” in communications.
• Monetary Incentives: studies have shown that monetary incentives increase response rates. Providing incentives to respondents regardless of whether they complete the mail survey, has been shown to double response rates – could help build trust.
• Timing: people are less likely to respond to an email on a Friday and a Monday. Studies show that the best time to send e-mail invitations is midweek in the afternoon, but keep in mind that every audience is different and that it may take some testing.
• Taking Action: only 10% of companies act on the feedback they’ve collected (95% of companies collect feedback – Gartner report).
Ways to Increase Participation
• Communication: induce feelings of liking and reciprocity by stressing how useful the respondent’s insight would be (eg: “we think you’d provide great insight”).
• Market the Survey: Eg: all-company meetings to raise awareness. Request participation in advance, during personal contact with the respondent and use all available channels to market the survey.
• Use Email Signatures to promote the poll (eg: at Barclays the Campus Recruitment team changed their signatures to market an upcoming event).
• Social Benefits: highlight the social benefits by explaining the impact of the results.
• Make it Fun: set a goal (overall/departmental participation rates) or make it a competition to see which team can achieve the highest participation rates. Award a price to the winning team.
• Get Leadership Team Involved: they need to proactively promote the poll – and leaders can set aside a time to complete the poll within their teams
• Hold Managers Accountable for their team’s participation
• Appeal to Herd Behaviour: target influential employees and get them on board
• Take Action: participants want to know you’ve acted on their feedback. Ensure survey results lead to action, which in turn is communicated back to respondents.
• Ensure that your results tell a story.
Get it right and you’ll understand why people work for you – and why your candidates should be joining your team.
Resource Central is a unique people engagement and resourcing solutions service firm. Created from the focus and desire of its founders. We are all experts from the Job Board, HR Communications and Recruiting industry, bringing a wealth of expertise and knowledge of specialist and large corporate campaign hiring projects across the recruiting markets of Europe.
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