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Article | EX Insights

Survey best practice: Tips for inviting hard to reach employees to take your survey

Talent|Employee Engagement

By Elaine Alvarado | August 22, 2019

If you have employees who are typically offline, don't miss our latest article on how to invite those hard-to-reach segments.

Although most organizations can easily invite their employees to participate in a survey via email, others might find it challenging to reach employees in certain pockets of their organization. This is especially common in industries like construction, logistics and retail, where employees may not have access to company email addresses or even access to a computer.

In these cases, it is important to take some time early in your planning process to understand the specific challenges of each segment of your population and brainstorm ways to address them. A good place to start is to review how other company information is normally shared with these employees (e.g. through the manager, via posters, or via text message (SMS)). Then decide whether any of these channels could be used to communicate the survey link and other information.

Willis Towers Watson Employee Engagement Software offers different invitation options, depending on your needs and the kind of survey you plan to administer. In general, we find if employees don't have a work email address or access to a computer at work, chances are they can access the internet in some other way. In these cases, sending them an individual password or unique link won't work, but getting them information on a common link (the same for everyone in the company) will. Our software can accommodate the use of a common link for either HRIS-based or non-HRIS-based surveys.

There are many ways to communicate a common link:

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Send the survey invitation to personal email addresses.

Provided you have employee consent, this can be a convenient solution for employees with no work email address.

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Set up computer stations (either stationary computers or tablets) where employees can access the survey link to complete the survey.

This can be a good solution for companies in the retail and manufacturing industry where employees are co-located.

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Create a QR code for the survey link.

This is really easy to do online and then you simply add this QR code to posters and other promotional material. Employees scan the QR code with their smartphone to access the survey.

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Text the link via SMS.

If your organization communicates frequently via SMS, this can be another way to get the word out. Note that survey links can easily be shortened with various online tools, such as Bitly. This approach works well for companies where employees are always on the go.

Alongside the survey link, you'll also need to let participants know what the companywide survey password is (for a non-HRIS survey) or how to enter their Employee ID (for an HRIS-based survey).

If none of the above options works for your organization, you can always ask employees to fill in a paper questionnaire. The paper data will be combined with your online data at the end of survey administration. Bear in mind, this approach can be costly and time consuming, and is not suitable for HRIS-based surveys.

Sign in to your Willis Towers Watson Employee Engagement Software account today to start a new survey or contact us for a demo.


Client Success Manager
Willis Towers Watson Employee Engagement Software

Elaine is one of our best and brightest Client Success Managers supporting clients in Australia and South Asia. Elaine loves her food, cooking for family and friends, Crossfit training, yoga, meditation, reading books and watching Netflix. Follow Elaine on LinkedIn.

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