How to increase the response rate of employee feedback

Keeping your employee pulses engaging can be tricky over time. We break down some tips to keep the data flowing in, and your pulse completion rate up.

Cristian Tountzis
How to increase the response rate of employee feedback

Much has been written about millennials and their need to receive and engage in more frequent and meaningful feedback. One of the challenges is that the traditional toolsets and methods that have been used in the past, like long-winded surveys, have failed to engage the employees to a level that would see a high response rate. 

Over our journey, we've tried, tested, experimented and created many ways in which to increase the response rates and have found the core components to ensure that the responder is likely to provide a thoughtful response. 

We have been able to consistently achieve above 80% response rates for Everperform customers across more than 100,000 pulses in the past 12 months. Here are our tips below:

Communicate the why!

It is so important when requesting someone's feedback to ensure they know why. In our experience responders are more likely to provide feedback and take the effort and the time to do this thoughtfully if they know that this is going to be used in a meaningful way for them, for someone else, or the greater good. 

Keep it short.

Long gone are the days of sending out surveys that include more than 30 questions. People just don't have the time nor do they have the attention span anymore to complete surveys at such length. We recommend limiting pulses to 5 to 8 questions long that take people no longer than 1 minute to complete.

We understand that this will change depending on circumstances and the type of feedback that you're requesting, so, for example, a quick pulse check, works well. However, for a comprehensive 360-degree feedback request we still advocate splitting the questions into this size, which may mean you need to ratify your questions, or split across multiple requests. These bite-sized chunks will be much easier to swallow. 

Focus on the rater experience, not the requester.

Often the feedback process is optimised to reduce the effort on the person sending the requests. This is you! However, we've found that by focusing on the rater experience, your response rate will increase by ‘smoothing’ the effort for the rater, particularly during busy times. The last thing anyone wants is 15 feedback requests in one hit. If you have 9 requests for a rater, send them 3 a week for 3 weeks! Better still, capture the data every week and they will hardly notice their new habit. 

Be device agnostic.

People like to complete their feedback during their own time. For some, this time might be sitting at a desk, for others, it might be on the move on the train or tram. Also, we are all different and the time of the day may come into play as well. Therefore, being agnostic in the devices that responders can use to complete your requests gives you a higher likelihood of completion. Ultimately you want to give them as many options that suit their personal preferences as possible. Mobile is a must, an app with notifications is even better! 

Use reminders.

People are busy and getting people at the right time in the right place is going to be unlikely when you send the request the first time. Gentle reminders and nudges is a great way to encourage them to complete an open request. This doesn't necessarily mean that you need to extend the feedback window but ensure that you are providing people with two or three reminders or nudges without being annoying. This also means that sending one reminder for all open requests, not one each. 

Don’t send it at 8 am on Monday.

Be conscious of the time of day and the day of the week that you are sending the feedback requests and reminders to complete the feedback requests. We know that Monday mornings at 8:30 am are a terrible time to send feedback requests if you want a high response rate. Hence, most of our regular pulses get sent on Tuesday mornings at 8:30 am. 

Don’t just collect the feedback, use it! 

It is common to find that people won't put the effort in to respond to requests because the last time that this was done they did not hear back or are unaware that their input was used. Therefore whilst running this program ensure that you communicate and distribute the collected results depending on the type of data that you are focusing on. This is key and it will ensure that the next time that you are requesting people to provide feedback they will remember that the effort they put in last time was recognised and rewarded in some way. 

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