Participation Spikes 20% Among Hard-to-Reach Population


This manufacturing organization has over 20 thousand employees (about the seating capacity of Madison Square Garden) and a large population of floor employees who do not work from a desk. Given their hard-to-reach population, achieving a high participation rate from employee surveys has been challenging in the past. When administering their latest survey, the organization set a goal to increase their participation rate and capture the voice of as many employees as possible. 

People Element's Role

People Element provided an easy-to-use platform and process that enabled the organization to collect employee feedback. Additionally, training and best practices were provided on how to foster high participation rates using communication strategies and multiple distribution options. The organization leveraged the ability to send survey invite links to employees directly via email combined with a physical kiosk option at each location where employees could complete the survey. This resulted in more opportunities to get in touch with their hardertoreach employees.  


Survey Length 

One change made to improve participation was to reduce the length of the survey.  Front line workers took time during their workday to take the survey, so it was important that they could complete it in a timely manner. For this reason, the organization made revisions to shorten their survey, while keeping key questions to provide a solid measurement of engagement and feedback around areas of interest. 

Enhanced Survey Communication 

Another huge piece of their effort was around clear communication. Messaging and announcements came directly from the CEO and Chief People Officer. The organization ensured that all initial communications about the survey stressed its importance and purpose—to give the team a voice. By framing it this way, it let people know that it wasn’t just a survey, it was an opportunity to share valuable insights and be heard by leadership.  

Along with this, they made it a point to have their field leaders own communication with their teams. Because they interact with employees directly, ensuring consistent messaging and communication around surveys was important. The organization equipped leaders with tools and information to aid in these communication efforts.  

Friendly Competition 

The organization noted that its workforce had been motivated by friendly competition in the past, so they used that to their advantage. As the survey was running, they reported on participation on a regular basis. They would give each field leader a participation report with their level benchmarked against the rest of the company. This helped motivate the teams to compete and create a fun way to ultimately boost participation.  


In just one year, this organization was able to increase its survey participation by over 20 percentage points, now reaching 72% participation. This is a great achievement for any company, especially because of the size of the organization and their large hard-to-reach population. 

Along with participation, they saw a positive increase in overall employee engagement. Engagement increased by 3 points, now at 64% and exceeding the People Element 2022 global engagement benchmark of 58%. 

  • Engagement refers to the percentage of the population that is engaged based on People Element’s Engagement Index.  
The organization’s focused efforts around survey participation have not only resulted in a significant percentage increase but have also given a large portion of their hard-to-reach population a voice and opportunity to share their valuable insights.   

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