How to get a 100% response rate

In the previous chapter, I talked about the biggest challenge in any growing company – communication. I also shared six main communication flows that you must establish in your company as a bare minimum to have this burden lifted and proceed in your growth process without a huge waste of resources.

One of the main forms of communication mentioned in the previous chapter is a global check-in. This is an anonymous questionnaire that taps into all possible areas of your team well being. And this form of feedback you receive is crucial for any successful organisation. Why? Because this is how you listen to your people. And this is your tool to adjust your course and focus on things that do matter.

In any business, in any industry, people are your most valuable resource. So caring about your team is essential.

So what’s the problem you may think? You send a questionnaire a couple of times a year, you process the feedback and you act on it. Right? Yes, if you get a response rate of at least 90%.

But what do you do if your response rate is less? To begin with, you cannot really treat the responses as decent feedback, because they might represent just a very small group of people with very similar opinions. And low response rate is an indicating that your team either don’t care about the process or don’t believe that it is worth their time.

I always get almost 100%, with a small exception of people being on a long vacation, maternity leave etc. How do I do it? Let’s dive in…

A secret of getting a response rate of 100%

It’s so simple, I cannot even call it a secret. So here is what I do… After the questionnaire is distributed and the due date communicated (I typically give people a couple of weeks to respond – it’s enough time for many to come back from vacations and pick it up as well), I schedule a check maybe 3-4 days before the deadline. In most cases, I would get between 25 to 30% of responses. What I do then, I reach out to every single person on the team with a very simple message:

Hey [name here], how are you doing? Quick check, I’ve sent you a questionnaire on the [date here] and just wanted to check whether you had the opportunity to respond. Since it is anonymous I don’t know who has responded and who hasn’t. And I would really appreciate your feedback there. It should only take 5 minutes of your time.

Then I get messages like “Oh yeah, already done”. And I thank them and tell them how great they are for being so quick. And those who haven’t yet responded would feel bad about it, and would either do it right away or schedule some time in their calendars to do it soon.

Regardless of the size of the team, if it’s only 10 people or hundreds. It takes between 30 minutes to an hour to reach out to everybody (if you don’t try to automate this process). And in return, you get your responses. Best ROI ever! And it is that simple! But, there is one more thing you must do.

Follow up

Getting your 100% response rate is great, but it is not enough. You need to follow up on your check-in. First share the results, once they are processed, with everybody. Acknowledge problems openly, and show happiness in areas where feedback is super positive. And share the action plan. People need to know that they are being heard. That their pain points are being addressed. You don’t need to have solutions for every single problem right there, right then, but you need to communicate what is the plan, what is the initial ETA, and then provide updates on timely manner.

When you do this, you’ll see how the engagement level raises within your team. Your next check-in would require way less chasing to do, and the feedback you receive will be more open and concrete. Your team would feel encouraged to share their thoughts because they know you listen.

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