Eight Easy Pre-Survey Communication Tactics


Pre-Survey Communication is a must do before launching any kind of employee engagement survey. Your organization’s leaders, managers, and general employee population need to understand the purpose and their part in its success. Depending on the size and structure of your organization, communication about a forthcoming employee survey may fall to members of the HR team, members of the communications team or to contracted communications specialists.  As a rule of thumb, follow these eight tactics to encourage interest and bolster participation.

1. Clearly spell out the strategic purpose of your communication and refer to it when making decisions, i.e.:
  • To ensure employees are aware of the engagement survey and its benefits
  • To achieve a participation rate of 80% or increase participation rates by x%.

2. Define your target market/intended audience
  • Executive team
  • Mid and front-line managers
  • Office staff
  • Sales force
  • Plant workers
  • Customer/service facing employees, etc.

3. Determine if there are any language or education/literacy considerations.
4. Identify the best avenues for communication
  • Emails
  • Text blasts
  • Posters
  • Meeting – support information/talking points/Q&As to help managers chat up their teams
  • Town hall gatherings or personalized messages from the President/CEO.

5. Consider factors such as location, computer literacy and email access.
6. Establish a budget for relevant expenses, possibly including
  • Translation services
  • Poster design and printing fees
  • Blast text messaging fees.

7. Develop a project management timeline to keep everything on track; work backwards from the survey launch date. A tiered communications approach (where people see and hear about the survey at various times from different sources) has the strongest impact.
Date of first communications planning meeting – identify deliverables and assign tasks i.e.:
  • President/CEO’s email message (to managers and to staff)
  • Support information for managers: Talking points, Q&As, Background information relaying why employee engagement matters and the role management plays
  • Poster content, design, printing
  • Intranet news story
  • Text message content, blast date booking
  • Liaison with intranet department to schedule posting.

8. When preparing content, answer the W5s of report writing: who, what, when, where and why.

WHO is involved?

A good place to a) express the CEO/President’s personal commitment to employee engagement and why it matters, b) stress the need for everyone’s participation and honesty and c) assure anonymity is protected by a 3rd party company responsible for collecting, compiling and reporting data.

WHAT does the survey involve?

A brief explanation of the format, general themes or topics, and expected time to complete. 

WHEN will the survey occur?

Survey release date, last day for submission and when results will be released.

WHERE can the survey be accessed?

Identify different access points (computers, cell phones, plant kiosks etc.)

WHY is it important to participate?

Emphasize the value of every response. Explain how the goal is to identify common themes and highlight improvement opportunities (from personal work/life balance and professional career development to current leadership and all points in between).  If this survey follows another, whether recent or a few years back, talk about measuring performance against past benchmarks. Give an example of what’s resulted from previous survey feedback and how new insights will guide new initiatives.

American novelist and short story writer F. Scott Fitzgerald has been credited for observing “genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind.”  Show the genius of your people and organization by communicating the merits of employee engagement and engaging employees in the opportunity to put into effect what’s on their minds.

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