Can I extend the time that the survey is open? (the standard time is 10 business days)
If your final response rate is below your expectations or below the threshold to draw statistically significant conclusions about your workforce, you may want to consider extending the time your employees have to participate in the survey.
However, here are some thoughts and recommendations for you to keep in mind as you decide:
- We can’t start to analyze your data until everything is closed so extending the survey will have impact on the report delivery date;
- Telling your employees there is a closing date and then extending it can make it more difficult for them to believe in survey closing dates in the future; they may be more likely to postpone participation to future surveys (It can help this survey but make things harder for future surveys). We advise that you not extend the survey unless you plan to take action to address specific challenges in response rates and communicate the logical reason for the extension to your employees;
- The most logical reason for extending the survey closing date is if there was a hurdle preventing or limiting participation such as high bounce rates, spam filters that were not addressed in the whitelisting process, or competing organizational priorities that have lessened. If you can address, rectify or mitigate these challenges, then an extension makes sense to your employees;
- One additional hurdle is that employees are not prioritizing participation in the survey; this is a communications challenge on your side. Unless you can engage your leadership (business leaders/CEO) in sending additional communications to convince/motivate the non-respondents to participate you can expect very little incremental response. Please be sure to include in that message:
1. Why this survey is important to your organization and why the input of everyone is valuable;
2. What you are trying to achieve with the survey and its results;
3. Reassurance that leaders will be reviewing the results and Taking Action on them. You can include a brief summary of what you intend to do with the results and how you are expecting to act on them (We have even seen 10-15% increases from this).
- You can also encourage department leaders create a "competition" between departments or offer incentives (donations to a charity, pizza party, etc) for groups that reach 50%;
- We will be monitoring the number of people who request to be removed from the participants list or who unsubscribed from our survey mailing list as this can indicate increased survey resistance and fatigue;
- Finally, it is important for you to have a well defined closing date or closing criteria so that you have a clear way to determine the closing and so that you do not start to “annoy” your employees.