Do Your Surveys Reach Every Employee?

Madison Hanscom, Ph.D., Senior ConsultantEmployee EngagementLeave a Comment

Survey Participation Considerations for Employees Who are Not Desk-Bound

It can be difficult for employees to complete surveys when they are not sitting at a computer throughout the day for work. Below are examples of how our clients have successfully implemented strategies for boosting participation for off-site, frontline, manufacturing, warehouse, and/or field employees.

  • Create a mobile friendly survey – If you have a large percentage of workers who will likely take the survey on a phone or tablet instead of a computer, we will work with you to avoid question formats that are not mobile friendly and to keep the survey at a reasonable length.
    • Tip. If you are relying on mobile devices for survey completion among international employees, we recommend including phones from employees across the globe where you have representation during your link testing process.
    • Tip. Reach them through a text message/SMS. Some employees could be more likely to complete the survey if the link comes to them as a direct message on their phone rather than their email. This can encourage easy participation when they are not in front of their computer.
    • Tip. Reach them using a QR code.
  • Unique Identifiers – When employees are accessing the survey with a generic link to the survey, they will need to enter some type of information that is unique to them to be able to link their responses to their demographic data. Typically, an employee ID would be used but in some cases the employees may not know this information and another type of information that is unique would need to be used.
    • Tip. If you cannot use employee ID, you can use other information that is unique to each employee such as their cell phone number or personal email address.
  • Kiosk or temporary computer station – Many people will appreciate the opportunity to take the survey on a larger screen than their phone. We have seen leaders reserve rooms with computers for employees to use. We have also seen leaders rent/create/reserve computer "kiosk" stations in a work area or common space where employees can rotate throughout a shift to complete the survey.
    • Tip. This kiosk can be simple - it might be a rental laptop or a tablet/iPad at a desk with some hand sanitizer!
    • Tip. This can also be integrated into where people clock in or clock out for the day.
  • Remove language barriers – This goes for all employees in all job types. Consider translating your survey if you have a workforce that has different comfort levels across different languages.  
  • Give people the time – Regardless of how employees take the survey (e.g., phone, computer, tablet, kiosk), we have found it is beneficial to give them a scheduled time while they are on the clock so they are being paid to complete it. Your people will appreciate the opportunity to take a seat and fill out the survey during work hours (that doesn’t take away from their lunch break!). It can be difficult to find the time otherwise, and it shows you value both their time and the survey.
  • Paper surveys – We only recommend this as a last resort. This method is time consuming, requires a great deal of logistics, can create issues with confidentiality, and is less cost effective. If this is the only option, we are happy to help.

  • There are other best practices involved when it comes to boosting survey participation for all employees (e.g., building trust in the process, communicating at the right times, closing the loop). For a deeper dive, we have two blogs on this topic below:

    Tired of Low Response Rates on Your Surveys? Invest in This.

    Why your Employee Survey Participation is Low—and How to Fix It

    Madison uses her experience in organizational science to diagnose problems and build solutions. With years of experience in applied research, Madison leverages her knowledge in research methods, design, and statistics to develop and administer assessments. She enjoys translating data for practical use and partnering with clients to create better workplaces.


    Madison Hanscom, Ph.D. Senior Consultant