June 25, 2021.

How to avoid employee survey fatigue

Surveys are unquestionably an extremely valuable way of gathering employee feedback. But in a world when many organisations turned to employee surveys to ‘check-in’ on their employees during lockdown, the term “survey fatigue” is increasingly being used. But survey fatigue needn’t become an issue. This blog looks at the reasons employees suffer from survey fatigue and the steps you can take to prevent it happening.

What is survey fatigue?

Survey fatigue occurs when an employee becomes frustrated or lacks enthusiasm towards an employee engagement survey. Those who feel fatigued are likely to either not complete the survey in the first place or provide inaccurate results. Both, of which will hamper employee engagement strategies.

There are two ways to define survey fatigue:

  1. Survey response fatigue – employees feel like they have been asked to complete too many surveys.
  2. Survey taking fatigue – whilst completing the survey employees lose interest and disengage.

The reasons for survey fatigue

If you ask your employees the reasons for feeling fatigued, they are likely to give you a number of reasons but actually, if you drill into them, most employees will be experiencing a lack of action fatigue rather than survey fatigue. If they do not feel like their responses will be used, or if they have not seen evidence of how their input has been used, they will quickly question the value of contributing to a survey. Four out of five employees stated that their managers would not act on survey results in a study by HR Magazine. This is an enormous proportion and highlights just how important it is to structure your entire employee survey process effectively.

Five steps to prevent employee survey fatigue

The golden rule to preventing survey fatigue is to drop the term “survey fatigue”! Instead focus on “lack of action fatigue”. As the statistic above highlighted, 80% of employees believe there is a lack of action within their organisation so by addressing this first, the rest will follow. The prevention is a simple one, albeit multi-faceted: communication, communication, communication.

Step 1: With every employee survey you complete you must first explain the purpose of the survey and how the results will be used.

Step 2: Once you have your responses and have analysed the results it’s time to communicate the findings to your senior leadership team and agree on the actions.

Step 3: Next you need to relay this message to line managers so that they understand what actions will be taken, why and what is expected of them.

Step 4: At this point don’t rely on your line managers to spread the message to your wider teams. We would always recommend you communicate directly with each employee to ensure everyone receives the same consistent message. Whether through an employee app or a company briefing, you need to know that everyone has seen what you are doing with their survey response.

Step 5: There is then one final step to close the employee survey loop. As actions come to fruition remind your employees why the changes are occurring. Some changes can take time to put in place so a gentle reminder that “you told us X, so we did Y” will reconfirm the value you put on their opinion.

Once you have a survey communication loop in place and you are confident that all actions are being followed through on, there are other best practices for employee engagement surveys than you can call upon to further improve survey participation rates. Take a look at our 6 ways to improve employee survey response rates blog for more information.

If you would like any support preventing survey fatigue and improving employee engagement, get in touch today.


Rachel Stidworthy

Marketing Manager

With over 15 years’ experience in communications I have seen first-hand the difference strong internal communications can make. I am passionate about helping organisations reap the rewards of an engaged workforce and feel privileged to work for an organisation that has this same passion. We can achieve so much more when we work together towards the same goals. 

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