10 things you should consider to improve your pulse survey response rates

Employees have busy working lives, there are often deadlines to meet, and targets to hit. So, naturally, they need to be shown that pulse surveys are worth taking the time out to respond to.

You may know that these surveys are a great way to improve employee engagement, but to get the most out of them, you need to maximise the response rate from your employees.

A higher response rate means that your pulse results better represent your whole employee base. It also means that you’re more likely to capture those that are disengaged and are the most likely to not respond. The more data you have, the clearer a picture you have of your staff, making your resulting changes in the workplace much more effective.

To help to achieve a high response rate, it’s important to communicate the importance of feedback to your employees. Let them know how it can influence the direction of their organisation and help to build a better workplace for everyone. If you make this clear, your employees will see the value in giving their honest feedback, with detail that you can use to make positive change.

10 ways to improve your pulse survey response rates

1) Make it easy to respond

Pulse surveys, in their nature, are short and sweet, making it easy for your employees to respond. However, the way you structure your initial and follow up question, and what tools you use – can also make a big difference.

At Stribe, we recommend that pulse questions begin with a question or statement that’s answerable using a sliding scale, a yes/no button, or symbols to summarise your employees’ feelings – such as a range of smiley faces. This makes it super-quick for your employees to respond to. A follow-up question asking about the reason for their response can then be sent to get some more insight into their answer.

2) Pick the right time

If you can, try to pick a time where your employees are not especially busy. This is especially important if you intend on asking a string of questions. Picking a window away from periods where project deadlines are around the corner will likely boost your overall response rates.

According to our data, Stribe receives the most pulse responses at the following times:

– Mondays between 10-11am

– Thursdays between 10-11am

– Fridays between 2pm-3pm

3) Set time aside for them to take the survey

Following on from the previous tip, some organisations give their employees a period of time away from their work to answer any pulse surveys – this could be a 15 minute window before lunch (for example) or a recurring weekly slot for their staff to answer any surveys that they’ve yet to respond to.

4) Remind them it won’t take long to respond

As we’ve established, pulse surveys are quick to complete. Setting expectations before the survey is important for both employee buy-in and achieving a high response rate. For example, you could preface the survey with “we’d really like your feedback on these three questions and should only take a few minutes to complete”, reminding your employees that it’s not going to take much time out of their day.

5) Send reminders

Once your pulse survey has been sent out, it’s beneficial to send a reminder after a short period has elapsed, to further increase your response rate. For most tools that contain pulse surveying features, like Stribe, you can issue reminders and leave the window open for responses to whatever timeframe you like.

6) Communicate the anonymity

It’s important that your employees know they are not going to be singled out for any constructive criticism. Pulse surveys exist to get honest feedback from your employees, both the good and the bad. So, making it clear that your employees will not have their names attached to any of their comments allows them to speak freely, and for you to get honest information on how they are feeling at work.

At Stribe, we ensure all responses are anonymous unless individuals chose to reveal their identity. You can learn more about our commitment to anonymity here: Stribe and Anonymity

7) Share the results and the actions you plan to take

At Stribe, we recommend that organisations should only send pulse surveys when they can follow up with relevant actions or a response to employee feedback. If employees don’t see any changes being made as a result of giving their honest feedback, they won’t feel heard and may not respond to future surveys.

Making workplace changes as a result of what your employees tell you is a great way of proving that you take their thoughts, suggestions and constructive criticism seriously. Your employees will be able to see the value in these surveys, and will engage with future questions at a higher level – now that they’ve seen the positive changes in their working environment.

8) Optimise your survey’s digital compatibility

Depending on what tools you are using to send and manage your pulse surveys, it’s important to ensure it’s accessible and usable on a range of devices. In a world where remote working is more common, it’s integral to ensure that your survey questions are answerable on a variety of desktop and mobile platforms. Make sure to test the survey across a host of devices before sending, to make sure it’s working correctly, and to maximise your response rates.

9) Lead by example

If you want to encourage your employees to respond to your pulse surveys, a great way is for managers to lead the way. If there’s any sense that management is not paying attention to the feedback being given, or skipping on survey participation, this could demotivate the overall employee base from giving their feedback.

10) Keep your survey’s frequent, but not too frequent

Even though it’s often recommended to send pulse surveys monthly or even weekly, you should be wary of sending out too many surveys. This may discourage your employees from leaving their feedback or they may forget which ones they’ve responded to and which ones they haven’t.

Now that you’re well on your way to maximising your pulse survey response rates, take some time out to reassess your current pulse survey setup. If you have the right tools in place, sending pulses, receiving feedback and analysing data is quick and easy, giving you more time for your day-to-day tasks. 

Stribe’s pulse survey software has everything you need to gain quick and actionable insights from fully customisable surveys, sent directly to your employees. If you’d like to learn more about Stribe, get in touch 📧

Why not also claim our offer of 5 free employee pulse surveys, so you can gain free feedback from your employees while you check out our platform – click here to get yours 🎉


No credit card required. Cancel anytime.