I had a questionnaire returned to me without a single box being ticked, and completely blank apart from “you never ask us what we think” being scrawled across the front page which ironically had the title of the survey “Have your say” written in bold at the top.
So, what can we do to encourage participation?
Pre survey communication should be used to spread the word via posters, emails, team meetings, intranet, newsletter – you name it.
Letting people know a survey is on its way is a very good start to raising awareness and gaining buy-in. Explain what the survey is all about, why it’s happening, how it’s happening and when it’s happening. Really drive home the importance of taking part, that giving feedback will inform what action needs to be taken, and that action will be taken as a result. Illustrate this with examples from past consultation – a You Said/We Did approach – or the more collaborative We Said/We Did…
Give assurances of anonymity/confidentiality – often a major blocker. Explain that nobody will be identified individually and that demographic data collected is only used to target areas where attention is required.
Keep up the comms work throughout the life of the survey.
And share the results. Involving employees in discussions about the findings and encouraging them to come up with ideas for a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) action plan enables effective, long-term change.