What is a survey response percentage: Best practices to improve your response rate in 2024

10 min read
What is a survey response percentage: Best practices to improve your response rate in 2024
What is a survey response percentage: Best practices to improve your response rate in 2024

Remember that feeling when you eagerly awaited survey results, only to be met with the eerie silence of non-response? It's like throwing a party and having your pet rock be the only RSVP. We've all been there, shaking our heads and muttering, "Is this thing on?"

Well, fear not, fellow engagement enthusiasts! Today, we're diving into the wild world of survey response percentages, where we'll decipher the cryptic language of your team's customer feedback—or lack thereof.

As the ancient proverb goes, "In the kingdom of data, the percentage is king." Okay, maybe it's not that ancient, but we can all relate to the sentiment.

So, tighten your shoelaces and prepare for a rollercoaster ride through the statistical wonderland of employee engagement. Get ready to uncover the secrets hidden behind those response percentages and turn your feedback fiesta into a full-blown celebration!

What is a survey response percentage?

Employers are standing next to percentage pie chart
What is a survey response percentage?

The survey response percentage is a numerical marvel that unveils the participation prowess of your audience. In the grand tapestry of data collection, this metric gauges the percentage of individuals who graciously lend their insights through survey responses.

Picture this: you send out a battalion of surveys armed with questions like knights on a quest for knowledge. The survey response percentage, in all its glory, is the ratio of number of responses and completed responses to the total number of surveys dispatched.

Essentially, it's your backstage pass to understanding how engaged, enthusiastic, or perhaps nonchalant your audience is when it comes to sharing their thoughts.

In the realm of employee engagement, this metric is the compass guiding you through the winding trails of workforce sentiment. A high percentage? Your team might be doing the victory dance. A low one? Time to unravel the mystery, tweak your strategy, and boost that engagement quotient.

Why does improving survey response rate matter in the first place?

What is a survey response percentage?
What is a survey response percentage?

Getting a good survey response rate isn't just about inflating numbers; it's the secret sauce to unlocking the treasure trove of valuable insights. Think of it as upgrading from a standard-definition TV to 4K—everything becomes clearer, sharper, and more vivid.

Firstly, a robust survey response rate ensures a representative sample. It's like conducting a taste test—if only a handful of people try the new dish, can you really claim it's universally loved or loathed? Similarly, a higher response and margin of error rate minimizes the risk of skewed results, giving you a more accurate snapshot of your audience's sentiments.

Secondly, boosting your response rate adds a sprinkle of inclusivity to the mix. Imagine hosting a brainstorming session, and only a few team members share their ideas. You'd miss out on diverse perspectives and potential game-changing concepts. Similarly, a higher survey response rate broadens the spectrum of voices, making your data mosaic richer and more reflective of your entire audience.

Last but certainly not least, an improved response rate turbocharges the effectiveness of your interventions. Whether you're implementing changes based on employee feedback or fine-tuning your customer experience, higher participation ensures that your initiatives are grounded in a thorough understanding of your target audience.

How do you calculate the survey response percentage?

Calculating the acceptable survey response rate in percentage is akin to mastering a straightforward recipe—simple yet essential for the perfect dish of data analysis. Here's the formula:

Survey Response Percentage = ( Total Surveys Sent / Number of Completed Responses)×100

Here, you're taking how many survey responses you got and dividing it by the total number of surveys you sent out into the world. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it into a percentage, and voila, you have your survey response percentage!

Remember, a higher survey response percentage often indicates a more robust and representative dataset. So, keep those calculators handy, and may your survey response percentages always be on the rise!

What is survey response percentage analysis?

Employers are analyzing the recent survey response
What is survey response percentage analysis?

Survey response percentage analysis is the art of delving into the numerical landscape of your completed surveys to unearth meaningful insights. It's like deciphering the hidden messages within a treasure map, revealing the story your data is longing to tell.

This analysis involves more than just crunching numbers; it's about understanding the nuances behind the percentages. Here's a snapshot of the key components:

1. Benchmarking

Compare your average survey response rate by percentage to industry standards or previous internal benchmarks. Is your response rate soaring like an eagle or in need of a gentle nudge? Benchmarking helps you gauge your performance in the grand scheme of things.

2. Segmentation

Break down responses by demographics, departments, or any relevant categories. This reveals whether certain groups within your audience are more or less engaged, allowing for targeted strategies to enhance participation.

3. Trend identification

Track response percentages over time. Are they on a rollercoaster, fluctuating wildly or steadily climbing the engagement ladder? Identifying trends helps you understand the effectiveness of your survey strategies and spot potential areas for improvement.

4. Qualitative insights

Blend quantitative data with qualitative insights garnered from open-ended responses. This holistic approach provides a richer understanding of the reasons behind the numbers, offering actionable intelligence for decision-making.

5. Actionable recommendations

Based on your analysis, craft actionable recommendations to enhance future survey endeavors. Whether it's refining your survey design, adjusting communication strategies, or targeting specific audience segments, the goal is continuous improvement.

What is a good survey response rate?

What is a good survey response rate?
What is a good survey response rate?

Determining a universally "good" or acceptable response rate for an employee survey is a bit like choosing the perfect pizza topping—preferences vary. However, as a general guideline, many experts consider a response rate of 50% or higher to be quite commendable for employee surveys.

That said, the ideal response rate can be influenced by factors such as your organization's size, industry, and the nature of the survey. Smaller companies might aim for higher response rates, while larger organizations might find that 60% still yields robust insights.

It's crucial to note that what matters even more than hitting a specific percentage is achieving a representative and diverse survey sample throughout. If you find that certain groups or departments are underrepresented, consider targeted efforts to increase their participation.

Survey response rates by industries: 5 Examples

Survey response rates by industries: 5 Examples
Survey response rates by industries: 5 Examples

Survey response rates can vary across industries due to factors like company culture, employee engagement strategies, and the nature and number of people doing the work. Here are five examples to give you a glimpse into typical survey response rates in different industries.

1) Technology industry

  • Response rate: 65%
  • The tech industry often sees higher response rates, driven by a culture of innovation and a tech-savvy workforce. Continuous feedback is frequently encouraged in these dynamic environments.

2) Healthcare sector

  • Response rate: 55%
  • In healthcare, where employees may have demanding schedules, achieving a slightly lower response rate is common. However, healthcare organizations often prioritize employee well-being, leading to meaningful responses.

3) Retail and hospitality

  • Response rate: 50%
  • Frontline roles in retail and hospitality may face challenges in dedicating time to surveys. Despite a somewhat lower response rate, these industries focus on creating inclusive environments for feedback from diverse teams.

4) Finance and banking

  • Response rate: 70%
  • The finance sector often experiences higher response rates due to a structured and compliance-oriented culture. Employees in finance may be accustomed to providing feedback as part of regulatory requirements.

5) Manufacturing and production

  • Response rate: 60%
  • Manufacturing settings, characterized by a mix of office and production floor roles, can achieve moderate response rates. Survey strategies in these industries often involve balancing the needs of both types of employees.

Data shows that surveys sent out in B2B industries often have around 10-15 percent higher survey response rates than those in B2C industries.

How to do survey response percentage analysis the right way: 5 Best practices to follow

Survey response percentage analysis can be a nuanced process. Here are five best practices to ensure you navigate this landscape effectively:

  1. Set clear objectives: Before diving into analysis, clearly define what you aim to achieve. Understand the specific insights you seek and how they align with your organizational goals. This clarity will guide your analysis, ensuring it remains focused and actionable.
  2. Segment your data: Don't treat all responses as a homogeneous blob. Segment your data based on relevant criteria—such as department, tenure, or role—to uncover patterns or disparities. This granular approach provides a more nuanced understanding of your audience's sentiments.
  3. Compare against benchmarks: Benchmark your survey or average response rate or percentage against industry standards or previous internal surveys. This comparison helps contextualize your performance and highlights areas for improvement. It's like having a map to gauge where you stand in the vast landscape of response rates.
  4. Blend quantitative and qualitative insights: Numbers tell part of the story, but open-ended responses can add depth and context. Combine quantitative data with qualitative insights to create a comprehensive narrative. This holistic approach provides a more nuanced understanding of the reasons behind the numbers.
  5. Iterate and improve: Survey analysis is not a one-and-done process. Continuously iterate and refine your approach based on the insights gained. If certain segments show lower engagement, adjust your strategies for reaching them. Treat analysis as a dynamic, ongoing process rather than a static snapshot.

What is the survey response percentage benchmark?

Employer calculating the recent benchmarks
What is the survey response percentage benchmark?

A survey response percentage benchmark serves as a reference point to evaluate the effectiveness of your survey engagement efforts in comparison to industry standards or established norms. It's like having a performance scale to measure how well your survey response rates align with expectations.

Benchmarking involves comparing your online survey response rates or percentages to those of similar organizations or industry averages. For example, if you're in the tech sector, you might compare your response rates to the average response rates of other technology companies.

These benchmarks provide valuable context, helping you interpret whether your response rates are exceptionally high, average, or below par within your industry. If your response rates consistently fall below the benchmark, it may signal an opportunity to refine your survey strategy or communication methods to boost engagement.

Survey response percentage KPIs to keep in mind

Employer building block that spells KPI
Survey response percentage KPIs to keep in mind

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) related to survey response percentages is crucial for assessing the success and impact of your survey initiatives. Here are some essential KPIs to keep in mind:

  • Overall response rate: This is the fundamental KPI, representing the percentage of completed responses out of the total surveys sent. A healthy overall response rate indicates a higher level of engagement.
  • Segmented response rates: Break down response rates by different segments, such as departments, job roles, or locations. Monitoring segmented response rates helps identify areas of strength or weakness within specific groups.
  • Survey completion time: Analyze how much time respondents take to complete the survey. A shorter completion time may indicate higher engagement, while a prolonged duration could suggest challenges or disinterest.
  • Survey completion rate: Keep an eye on the rate at which respondents abandon the survey before completion. A low completion rate may signal issues with survey design, length, or relevance of questions.
  • Benchmark comparisons: Compare your response rates against industry benchmarks or previous internal surveys. This KPI provides valuable context and helps you gauge the relative success of your survey efforts.
  • Feedback quality: Assess the quality of responses, especially in open-ended questions. Analyzing the depth and richness of feedback ensures that the insights gathered are meaningful and actionable.
  • Follow-up action rate: Track the implementation of actions or changes based on survey feedback. A high follow-up action rate indicates a commitment to using survey results for positive organizational change.

7 Strategies to improve survey response rate in 2024

7 Strategies to improve survey response rate in 2024
Strategies to improve survey response rate in 2024

Boosting survey response rates requires a thoughtful approach. Here are seven strategies to enhance your survey engagement in 2024 and achieve acceptable survey response rates:

  1. Mobile optimization: Ensure your surveys are mobile-friendly. In the age of smartphones, many survey respondents prefer to participate on the go. A seamless mobile experience increases accessibility and encourages higher response rates.
  2. Clear and concise communication: Craft compelling and straightforward invitations to potential respondents. Clearly communicate the purpose of the survey, how the feedback will be used, and the estimated time commitment. Transparent communication builds trust and encourages participation.
  3. Incentivize participation: Offer meaningful incentives to motivate respondents. Whether it's a small reward, a chance to win a prize, or access to exclusive content, incentives can significantly increase the perceived value of participating in an online survey.
  4. Segmented communication: Tailor your communication strategy based on audience segments. Recognize that different groups may have varied preferences and motivations for participating. Customizing your approach enhances relevance and engagement.
  5. Progress indicators: Incorporate progress indicators within the survey. Knowing how far they are in the process can alleviate respondent anxiety and encourage completion. Progress bars provide a visual cue, making the survey feel more manageable.
  6. Follow-up reminders: Send friendly reminders to non-responders. Life gets busy, and a gentle nudge can bring the same survey questions back to the forefront of participants' minds. Timing is key, so strategically schedule reminders without becoming intrusive.
  7. Continuous improvement loop: Demonstrate a commitment to action based on survey feedback. Communicate past changes or improvements made as a result of previous surveys. When participants see the tangible impact of their input, they are more likely to engage in future surveys.

Role of Multi-channel Employee Surveys in Increasing Survey Response Rates

Multi-channel employee surveys play a crucial role in elevating survey response rates through their ability to adapt to diverse communication preferences. By offering various channels such as email, mobile apps, and in-person methods, these surveys ensure increased accessibility for employees, irrespective of their location or work environment.

This adaptability is especially valuable in today's diverse workplaces where team members may be dispersed across different regions or working remotely.

Moreover, the flexibility of multi-channel surveys enhances engagement by catering to different preferences. Some employees might find a quick mobile survey more convenient, while others may prefer a detailed online questionnaire. This variety allows organizations to capture a broader range of engagement styles, fostering higher participation rates.


The world of surveys, particularly in the realm of employee engagement, is evolving, and so are the strategies to enhance survey response rates. Recognizing the importance of these responses as a gateway to valuable insights, organizations are adopting multi-faceted approaches.

From crafting quirky survey introductions that grab attention to delving into the nuances of response percentage analysis, the journey is one of continuous improvement.



Santhosh is a Jr. Product Marketer with 2+ years of experience. He loves to travel solo (though he doesn’t label them as vacations, they are) to explore, meet people, and learn new stories.