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Pulse Survey Incentives Ideas to Increase Employee Response Rates

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Conducting an employee engagement survey helps the organization improve. It enables the stakeholders to make informed decisions.

But what if your employees don’t respond?

There are several reasons why employee pulse survey response rates may be low.

These can include a lack of awareness of the survey, a lack of motivation to participate, a feeling of survey fatigue, or being overwhelmed by the number of surveys sent out.

Additionally, the survey may be too long or complex for employees to feel motivated to complete. Finally, employees may feel that their feedback is not valued and that their responses won’t make a difference.

First Off, What is an Employee Pulse Survey?

An Employee Pulse Survey is a regular survey that allows employers to gauge employees' morale, engagement, and satisfaction levels. It is typically done regularly, such as monthly or quarterly.

And can include questions about job satisfaction, communication, work-life balance, and more. The survey results provide employers with valuable insight into their employees' well-being and motivation. Which enables them to make decisions that improve employee morale and engagement.

You may read Employee Satisfaction Survey: A Brief Guide

So, Why are Pulse Surveys important?

Do you check your bank balance once a year? Sounds ridiculous, right?

So then, why do we only check on our employees once a year?

Sticking up a band-aid to your organizational issues is not a solution. Instead, give your employees a platform where they feel heard.

By regularly asking your staff for feedback, you are encouraging positive engagement, which also provides huge organizational benefits such as:

  • Employee satisfaction: Employees' job satisfaction levels increase as they become more invested in their company’s growth and more engaged.
  • Productivity: Employees who are more engaged are considered to be the best performers in the organization. They are more motivated and more determined to succeed.
  • Retention: When employees are involved in and satisfied with their existing jobs, they are much more likely to stay with a company.
  • Profitability: Because they are more productive and boost the organization’s bottom line, more engaged employees typically have greater profitability rates.
  • Gain meaningful insights:  Because Pulse Surveys are sent out regularly, you are getting a better look at how things are currently going in an organization rather than waiting each year to gain insights.
  • Serves as a reminder that management values staff input: By sending out these surveys frequently, you are letting your employees know that you place importance on what they have to say.
  • Promotes open communication: Expressing your thoughts, concerns, and motivations is important in an organization. Showing your employees that you care to listen will make them more comfortable giving honest feedback.
  • Get Actionable Data: Pulse responses can help organizations pinpoint areas of improvement and inform decision-making to create a better work environment.

You may also read Employee Pulse Surveys: The Ultimate Guide

What Drives Employee Survey Participation?

So, how can you promote survey participation? And how can you best motivate employees to fill out your survey without introducing biases that could taint the outcome?

Understanding why people participate in surveys in the first place is necessary to comprehend how survey incentives might affect the outcomes.

Previous research has indicated that people typically respond to surveys for three main reasons:

1. They Want to be Helpful

The respondents who are familiar with the organization feel obligated to complete the survey in recognition of the surveyor’s and the company's time, effort, and money. The cognitive dissonance theory explains why people feel this way; if they don't lend a hand, they'll feel guilty.

2. They Enjoy the Topic of the Survey

Sometimes, they become interested in the survey topic. Or they could be interested in the survey methodology. Or maybe they just like doing questionnaires. This is called the leverage-salience theory, where the main factor influencing participation is interest.

3. For a Tangible Benefit, which typically comes in the form of an Incentive

Some survey participants only participate for a prize. Their time = the reward. Also called the social-exchange theory. In our experience, if you provide an incentive in return for their time and effort, you'll get a considerably higher response rate.

What are Survey Incentives?

Respondents receive an incentive for completing a survey; this incentive is frequently cash or "points" that can be exchanged for items. Using incentives is a terrific approach to boosting response rates and expressing gratitude to respondents for their time.

Incentives typically come in two main forms—monetary and non-monetary.

Monetary Survey Incentives

Monetary incentives are typically better than non-monetary incentives because they allow people to choose how to spend the money they receive. They also provide a tangible reward that employees can appreciate and recognize, making them feel valued and appreciated.

Additionally, monetary incentives are typically more cost-effective than non-monetary incentives, as they do not require additional resources or time to arrange. Finally, monetary incentives typically impact response rates more.

Monetary incentives can be in the form of–

1. Reward Points

Offering cash rewards for completing surveys are among the most common survey incentives. Cash rewards can be in the form of reward points. Reward points are typically used as currency in rewards and recognition programs.

Employees can redeem reward points for gift cards, exclusive merchandise, or travel experiences.

2. Gift Cards

Offering prepaid gift cards is one of the most popular survey incentives among participants.

Gift cards can be redeemed with reward points. Many companies offer loyalty programs that reward customers with points for making purchases. These points can be redeemed for gift cards, which can be used to purchase products or services from the company or selected partners.

3. Sweepstakes

Offering sweepstakes entries for completing surveys is a great way to encourage participation. Sweepstakes are a game of chance, and the ones awarded are determined by luck.

Employees who attend the survey quicker can have the chance to win bigger prizes. Since sweepstakes significantly limit the number of winners collected from the pool, it typically discourages survey responses.

4. Offers/Discounts

Handing out cash can be costly; by providing a coupon or discount, survey-makers can encourage survey participation and purchases, driving revenue.

Many companies offer rewards and recognition programs where employees get exclusive corporate deals and discounts.

Such platforms enable businesses to easily find, compare, and apply for discounts and deals from vendors and partners. The platform typically includes various features, such as an automated discount tracking system, an easy-to-use search function, and access to a wide network of partners offering discounts and deals.

In addition, the platform may also provide businesses with additional tools, such as analytics and reporting capabilities, to help them better understand the impact of their discounts and deals.

Non-Monetary Survey Incentives

1. Access to Exclusive Content

Offering access to exclusive content related to pulse surveys in the form of blogs, self-help books, and e-guides can engage employees with insightful content. They can go on a path of self-improvement and make significant lifestyle changes.

2. Platform Subscriptions

Organizations can provide their employees access to platforms related to the pulse survey they have attended. For example., mental health forums, health and fitness solutions, and music streaming apps.

Platform subscriptions can also provide employees access to learning and development resources, such as online courses, tutorials, and webinars. This can help employees stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technology, enabling them to serve clients better and remain competitive in the marketplace.

3. Charitable Donations

Offering to make a charitable donation on behalf of a survey participant can be a great way to encourage participation and do some good.

This could include–

  • ​​Sponsor a Local Charity: Organizations can partner with a local charity and sponsor their cause by offering a certain amount of funds or services.
  • Organize a “Day of Service”: Organizations can create an event for their employees to volunteer and give back to their community.
  • Partner with a Nonprofit Organization: Organizations can partner with a nonprofit organization to provide resources, services, or financial support to their cause.
Pro Tip: Before sending your survey to everyone, consider trying various incentive structures on a small sample of responders. This may help you determine whether your incentive is successful and whether it is providing you with unbiased responses.

Bottom Line

Employees are key stakeholders in any organization, and their opinions and feedback should be valued and sought out. Incentivizing employee pulse surveys can help to make the process more engaging for employees and encourage them to provide honest and actionable feedback.

But it is important to remember that survey incentives can also attract the wrong crowd who may not really care about providing honest feedback.

Additionally, employers can make the survey process more interactive by offering employees the chance to make tangible changes to their workplace.

Finally, employers should communicate the survey results to employees and follow up with actionable steps to make improvements based on the feedback. Taking such steps can help ensure that employees feel their opinions are valued and participate in future surveys.

This article is written by Rithika Sarmah. Besides working as a Product Marketer at Vantage Circle, she is an inquisitive reader who enjoys curating product stories and exploring current market trends. In her leisure hours, she hums to the melody of her guitar and captures snapshots of her best moments. To get in touch, contact

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