By - October 30, 2019

8 Proven Incentives to Increase Employee Survey Participation

7 Proven Incentives to Increase Employee Survey Participation

Gathering employee data is easy when you’re a 10-person startup: simply hold a team meeting. But what if you’re a company with hundreds—or thousands—of employees?  

Enter the employee survey. 

Employee surveys provide an efficient and cost-effective way to learn about employees and get a pulse on how they feel about your company. In addition to freeing up your internal resources, they allow workers to communicate at their convenience. 

Given the benefits of survey insights, it’s important to understand how to increase employee survey participation. 

7 Ideas for How to Increase Employee Survey Participation 

It’s a fact—some employees won’t complete your questionnaire. However, you should strive for a robust participation rate. Benchmark against yourself and strive to improve participation rates with each survey. If you have too few submissions, you’ll lack enough data to draw accurate conclusions about your employees. 

For those of you researching how to increase employee survey participation, we’re sharing 7 fun incentives to support engagement. 

As you explore these ideas, keep in mind that different incentives suit different needs. 

Let’s say you desire a significant chunk of feedback on health plan changes. Here, you might want to offer several incentives or a larger incentive. However, let’s suppose you’re not conducting heavy research; you simply need a pulse on employee sentiment. In this case, you may not need an incentive or just offer a small one.

Whatever your situation, use these suggestions to fuel your own creative strategy for how to increase employee survey participation. 

1. Give each participant a small gift card.  

You’ve seen those surveys that promise, “Complete the survey, and get a chance to win an (incredible award).” The challenge is, some employees may not see the benefit of competing against 500 other employees. 

While you can use a prize drawing (more on this in a bit), why not give each employee a small gift card for his or her participation? Check out what SurveyMonkey has to say about this tactic: 

“When it comes to web surveys, individual promised incentives have been shown to increase response rates to surveys since everyone who completes the survey is rewarded for their time…” 

2. Offer free time off.  

Wondering how to increase employee survey participation on a budget? When you email employees about the survey, offer an afternoon off, an extra volunteer day or a free vacation day.  

Some employees might value paid time off (PTO) over a gift card. This incentive can give workers a much-needed break to catch up with their kids, spruce up their yard, or simply enjoy a new adventure. 

Tip: You might find that extra downtime actually increases employee productivity! However, be sure to instruct employees to coordinate time off with their managers to ensure operations continue to run smoothly.  

3. Allow early responders to join a benefits committee.  

One incentive to consider is allowing the first 5–15 employees who complete your survey to join a benefits committee and an employee advisory board. Why consider this incentive? 

Aflac research reveals that about 1 in 3 “employees say an improved benefits package would help keep them in their job.” A benefits committee allows employees to share their perspectives on what improvement looks like. It also provides additional feedback to guide team decisions.  

4. Plan an experience for participants.  

If you’re looking for ways to increase employee survey participation, consider planning a team experience.  

Does your organization employ a number of outdoorsy people? Try holding a group hike (free!) or a partner-planned excursion. Is your employee population full of financially savvy analysts? Buy tickets to a wealth-planning seminar with the promise of dinner out afterward.  

5. Hold a drawing.  

As we mentioned previously, a drawing is another way to drive participation. In this scenario, participants get a chance to win a special prize. This might be… 

  • An extra week of PTO. 
  • Special parking for a year.  
  • An annual gym membership. 
  • A new iPhone or tablet. 
  • A year’s worth of video streaming.
  • A generous gift card. 

Whichever option you choose, select a prize that would appeal to most of your employees. 

6. Offer time with your CEO. 

Is your CEO somewhat of a celebrity? Encourage workers to complete their surveys in exchange for one-on-one time with your CEO. Whether you offer a fancy dinner or a fun activity, you can incentivize participation and strengthen the relationship between company leadership and your employee population.

Tip: Record some video snippets of the outing or have an employee blog about his or her experience for the company intranet.  

7. Support employee volunteerism.  

Perhaps your employees are passionate about volunteering for nonprofits or other ways of helping their communities. If so, tap into this passion for your survey.  

Offer participating employees PTO for volunteering at their favorite nonprofit. This also allows your organization to support important causes. You could also offer a donation to a group of popular nonprofits based on employee participation.

8. Tap into the team spirit. 

If your organization has a team-player vibe, make the most of it! 

Position your survey as a competition between various departments. The department with the greatest percentage of completed surveys (or the first department to have all employees fill out the survey) will be rewarded with a free lunch or a special department-only event.  

Tip: Put up a leader board that shows which team/department is leading the way to encourage engagement.  

Going beyond Increasing Employee Survey Participation 

Knowing how to increase employee survey participation with incentives is important. 

But survey incentives aren’t the only ingredient in success. From the format you use to the questions you ask, it’s important to make savvy decisions as you craft your survey. 

To get other survey tips—including sample questions—download our free resource Survey Hacks to Determine If Your Open Enrollment Was a Success and Gain Insights.

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