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8 Tips for a Successful Employee Survey Launch

Our client success manager, Jemma, shares her tips for a successful employee survey launch that drives uptake and supports better people decisions.

So, you’re planning to run an employee engagement survey? Great! Now where to start?

As Client Success Manager, here at The People Experience Hub, it’s my job to make sure that our clients’ employee surveys go smoothly and produce the best possible results.

In this blog I provide my 8 top tips to a successful employee survey launch that will see you breeze through the process, giving you confidence that you’ll get great uptake and produce data that helps you make better people decisions. It builds upon our guide to running employee surveys and goes into a bit more detail.

It’s not rocket science though: You get out what you put in, really...

1. Give time to creating comms

Clarify the relationships between audiences, messages, channels, activities, and materials. Going through the communications planning process will help you identify who you need to reach, tell them what you want them to know, and how you will reach them. When assessing your previous communication campaigns, consider the factors that impact communication effectiveness such as the number of employees within each audience, locations, departments, functions and roles, demographics, and technology.

Giving plenty of time to plan your communication sets you in good stead for when you finally launch your employee survey and help drive uptake.

2. Design your questions early and sign them off

Perhaps the most important part of the survey process is the creation of questions that accurately measure the opinions, experiences, and behaviours that you’re looking for in your organisation. There are several steps involved in developing a survey questionnaire. The first and most important is identifying what broad topics will be covered in the survey.

It’s worth putting thought into your employee survey questions. The choice of words and phrases in a question is critical in expressing the meaning and intent of the question to the employee taking the survey and ensuring that they interpret the question the way it was intended. Even small wording differences can significantly affect the answers people provide.

You might want to get help writing or choosing your questions from a question bank, but don’t just take a generic survey that’s unlikely to meet your organisation’s unique needs. It sounds obvious, but get your questions signed off as early as possible. The last thing you need to be doing is tinkering with questions during launch.

3. Make sure you have clean people data

The old saying: Garbage in, garbage out applies to employee surveys. If you don’t have clean and well-structured employee data, your survey results will be meaningless at best and misleading at worst.

Our own survey platform gives the choice of manually upload a spreadsheet of your people data or using an API connection to your HR system that will keep it updated for you. Obviously using an API takes a lot of the pain out of the process and reduces the risk of your data becoming out of date or inaccurate.

4. Be clear upfront on the results you are looking for

Turning your employee survey data into insight starts with being clear about what information you would like to see and how it should be presented. We have some standard dashboards that are a useful starting point, and we also help our clients to choose the right ways of visualising their data.

Of course, it’s a lot easier to clear about how you will present your results when you’ve spent the time being clear about what you want to measure and why.

5. Communicate early and often

Communicate information clearly and frequently and in different media. Some people still think (or hope?) that an email will be enough to get people interested in your employee survey. It won’t. If you use email, you’ll need to back it up, maybe with videos, posters or even desk drops.

Keep it simple: Remember what you’re aiming to do is maximise the uptake of your survey. You might try to get people excited; tell them how important it is that you share your views; let them know how they’ll be used; maybe be humble and acknowledge that you could have done better about taking action (if that’s true, of course).

6. Ensure managers are clear on their role

When defining the different teams that will participate in delivering your communication plan, make sure to involve managers. It’s critical that managers reinforce the message both through communication and behaviour (complete the survey early and tell the team).

7. Let people know how they can access the survey (and when)

While this seems obvious, make sure you communicate how your people can access the survey and when they should receive their email invitation (or alternative where not everyone is on email). It’s also really important that people know who to expect the survey invitation from and that the sender has been placed on the ‘allow list’ by IT. Email settings can mean that your survey will go to spam folders or images not displayed, reducing the likelihood of completion..

When employees know the who, what, when, and where; then by the time the survey goes live, you are bound to have a much higher uptake.

8. Go Live/ Launch/ Go Big

When the day arrives, all your communication, questions and people are all ready to go! If you’ve done everything that you need to in advance, it’s as simple as launching.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy watching your responses come in...

Well, even with the best-laid plans, things can go wrong - so make sure that you and your survey provider – are ready to put out any fires. And you may need to schedule in some additional communications, such as chaser emails, or get management out there to give an extra push…

..but maybe make time to have a cuppa and a biscuit too? I do.

For another take on driving response rates, check out how to boost your employee survey response rates with behavioural science.

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