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Employee Engagement

How To Improve Employee Engagement Survey Completion Rates

Gem Siocon
Last Updated November 27, 2023

Engagement surveys reveal how employees think and feel about their work, coworkers, managers, and the organization. 

Answering engagement surveys may feel like an additional burden for busy employees, especially when it's too long to answer. It can be a taxing experience on top of fulfilling daily work obligations. 

Encouraging employees to answer surveys on a hectic day is challenging but possible. Here are some strategies you can implement to get employees to fill out your engagement survey.

TL:DR: We’ve found success when companies incentivize employee engagement survey completion. One simple way to do this is to use Nectar’s challenges feature to encourage employees to complete your survey. You can ask for a picture of proof (survey completion page) and then give out a small sum of points to those who complete the survey. Request a demo to see a deep dive into our platform.

11 Tips HR Teams Can Use To Encourage Engagement Survey Completions

Let's face it, survey completions are essential. The difference between a survey with a 35% completion rate and one with 90% is astounding. When more team members take the survey, you can make inferences about what would improve the workplace.

So, let’s dive into what it takes to improve survey completions. 


Before you ever send the survey to your team, it's important to consider how you set it up and share it with your team. Here are some strategies that will help you increase engagement before you send out your survey:

1. Announce The Survey 

The most obvious way to increase participation is to send a message that the company will have its employee engagement survey.

To get full support, the CEO should announce that there would be an employee engagement survey. The CEO should do this in a personalized email or company-wide meeting. They should explain what the survey means, why it is necessary, the details (when, where, and how it can be completed), and how the results will be used. 

In addition, the company’s top leader should be firm in communicating the expectations of everybody’s participation in the survey. Of course, participation shouldn’t be forced, but at the end of the message or meeting, employees should understand that it's in their best interest to get their voices heard via the engagement survey. 

2. Consider When You Send Out Your Survey Request

Is your survey getting lost in the shuffle? You may be sending out your survey request during a busy part of the day, month, quarter, or year.

Determining the timing of the survey is crucial in guaranteeing the maximum participation of all employees. Conducting them during your organization's slow periods is ideal because employees have the time and energy to complete these tasks. Avoid running them during busy periods or merit cycles because it could provide an unrealistic perception of employee satisfaction, which could skew the survey outcome. 

When deciding on the day of the week, surveys sent on Mondays received 13% more responses than average compared to Tuesdays and Fridays in a study by Survey Monkey. People aren't overwhelmed with work and are more inclined to set aside their day to complete a survey. 

3. Keep Your Survey Short

Answering long surveys can be a tedious task. While gathering helpful information from an engagement survey is crucial, lengthy surveys can stop people from answering them. In a study by UC Riverside, surveys that ask too many identical questions exhaust respondents and produce inaccurate results. Inaccurate survey results could direct leaders to make wrong business decisions. 

It's common for people to get distracted quickly, so you should only ask relevant questions. According to Pointer Pro, a survey with more than 12 questions, or one that takes longer than 5 minutes to complete, shows a 15% drop in response rate. The decline is even bigger (up to 40%) when a survey takes longer than 10 minutes to complete.

To set expectations, tell your respondents how long it will take to complete the survey before they start. And make sure you stay within that timeframe. 

If you can’t keep it short, ensure employees can save their place and return to it later.

A woman sitting at a circular table working on a laptop

4. Offer Anonymity/Confidentiality (If Possible)

If you want people to be honest, offering anonymity can help. Anonymous surveys empower employees to feel confident in giving the most candid responses. They can freely provide negative feedback because there are no repercussions from managers and peers for giving bad, honest, and constructive answers. 

It can also increase participation because participants feel safer and more comfortable answering survey questions. 

Only say that your survey is anonymous/confidential if it is. You may have to leave out demographic information like departments, age, race, etc., to create a genuinely confidential/anonymous survey. When employees aren’t identified, you get the most accurate information about how your workforce thinks and feels about your company culture. 

5. Send Reminders For Survey Completions

Reminders improve completion rates. You can't talk about it once and forget about it. Even the most diligent employee will forget about a task. 

To ensure employees answer your survey, send out reminders via email, Microsoft Teams/Slack, in company-wide meetings, text messages, and posters around the office.

Email survey reminders are especially powerful in the first 42-78 hours after sending the initial invite, as per MailerLite. Send 4-5 reminder emails or text messages (maximum) to avoid overwhelming participants. When sending survey reminder messages, write 2-3 sentences only. Gently nudge employees that they haven't responded to your survey yet. Remind employees that the company values their opinions and that their feedback will be used to improve the workplace experience. 

6. Offer An Incentive To Improve Completion

If reminders are not getting the survey participation you’re expecting, engage your workforce to complete the survey by giving incentives. 

Incentives are an excellent way to thank employees for their time. You can use money or a gift in exchange for their responses. They don't have to be robust. Even a $5 gift card can make a significant difference.

Many of our customers use Nectar to create a challenge that incentivizes people to finish engagement surveys.

Creating a great culture with Nectar

7. Enlist The Help Of Managers And Team Leaders 

Company executives should hold managers accountable for their team's participation in the survey. Include response rate goals to increase their involvement in completing the survey. 

If the goal is not reached, ask managers the reason why. Ask them what actions they have taken to improve engagement and how they track the results. 

Provide recommendations like one-on-one conversations with their team members so direct reports feel that their managers value their opinion, which motivates them to answer the survey. 


After employees fill out your employee engagement survey, there are certain things you can do to ensure that employees have faith in and fill out future surveys. These next steps are crucial because they make your future job easier while letting employees know you heard their feedback.

8. Thank Employees For Participating In The Engagement Survey

Right after the survey closes, send an email thanking your staff for their participation.

Next, write a few sentences to provide brief information about the next steps following  the survey close date.

Last, you can also ask people if they encountered difficulties when answering the questions or if they have suggestions on improving their survey experience. Asking this question will increase the likelihood of higher participation in future surveys. 

Sending communication post-survey demonstrates that leaders care about their employees. It also reinforces the message that management will address any issues to improve working conditions. 

9. Share Survey Results

So you got 100% participation from employees. Now what?

It's time to share the survey results, regardless of whether they are negative or positive. Sharing your organization's results shows that worker time and opinions matter to management. Employees want to know that they are in this survey process with management.

Begin by sharing high-level survey results, then narrow it down to individual departments and teams for a detailed look. Aim for a balanced presentation by highlighting the good things the company is doing while also addressing opportunities for improvement. 

And don’t just stop with the results. More importantly, provide an outline of the management’s action plan to address the organization’s inefficiencies, which will pave the way for more survey participation.

The steps companies must follow when sharing survey results

10. Act On Survey Data

Now is the time to fulfill the goal of the engagement survey: taking action based on the employees' responses.

Employees are less likely to change their habits if they don't see the benefit. If there is a genuine commitment and effort to act on the survey results, it can increase participation in more engagement surveys. Workers would be even more excited to air their thoughts and feelings because they know you'll listen.

Create a timetable to review,  analyze, and propose solutions to the survey data. Are there issues that can be quickly addressed? Prioritize them so employees can see that you're serious about their feedback. You want to do this when the survey is still fresh in your team's minds.

11. Evaluate Actions 

Your engagement survey isn't finished when you take action. You must also follow up to know what employees feel and think about your business decisions based on the survey results. 

Communicating with them shows your dedication to enhancing employee experience and satisfaction, which is the point of having the engagement survey. Schedule a meeting to discuss the observations made post-survey.

In your meeting, identify the concerns you've already addressed and ask them what they think about the management actions. Was there an improvement from the previous situation, or does management need to do more?


Regular employee surveys can enhance employee engagement and your organization's overall success. To have an effective survey, you need all your employees to give you feedback so you know what is working and what needs to be improved. 

Actionable workplace tips & insights for fellow people lovers

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