Cost of Outsourcing an Employee Survey: What Impacts Scope?

man on computer looking at outsourcing

When a company decides to measure employee engagement, one of the first things up for discussion is using a third party for employee surveys vs. conducting the study in-house. 

While there are many factors that assist a company in choosing in-house or outsourced market research, the cost of outsourcing an employee survey is normally the top determining factor.

The cost of a full-service employee satisfaction survey ranges between $3,000 and $30,000.

It is a large range because the price of an employee survey depends on different components such as survey length and estimated number of responses, therefore it can be hard to give one definitive answer.

Though, most employee survey companies will work within your budget and can recommend ways to reduce or increase costs.

Below Drive Research shares components of an employee satisfaction survey that determine how much it will cost.

Interested in outsourcing your employee engagement survey? Get a quote from Drive Research. Complete an online contact form or send an email to [email protected].

Benefits of Outsourcing Your Employee Survey

Conducting an employee survey in-house or with a DIY survey platform impacts an organization in three major ways: confidentiality concerns, survey question design, and collecting inaccurate feedback.

All of these are resolved by outsourcing the employee survey to a third party, making any extra costs worth it. We explain how below.

1. Employees trust their answers are kept confidential

Confidentiality creates the safest of environments for employees to answer questions in the survey.

When organizations conduct engagement surveys in-house, employees can't help but think their responses are not 100% anonymous.

This fear will limit how honest someone is about how satisfied they are with their current role and working relationships. 

For instance, 49% of employees who have neglected to report something to HR cited fear or retaliation

employee fear of sharing feedback stat

Therefore, using a third-party employee survey company is extremely important for this type of market research.

It will verify the confidentiality and anonymity of the responses, allowing for more honest feedback. As a result, HR and leadership team are given an accurate roadmap for how to improve workplace culture.

We could argue this point alone makes the cost of outsourcing an employee survey worth it.

2. Bias-free employee survey questions

Writing employee survey questions is both an art and a science. It takes years of experience to understand not just what to ask, but how to ask it. 

Oftentimes when internal teams design an employee satisfaction survey, questions are written with bias - whether they realize it or not. 

Survey design and programming are included in the cost of outsourcing an employee survey.

Third-party teams understand what questions to ask and how to word them in order to get more accurate answers from employees.

They are not written in a way to bias the answers, but from a third-party perspective that knows what type of information will be most useful for leadership and HR teams.

3. Earn more accurate data for decision-making

The biggest driver for conducting employee surveys is to measure, benchmark, and improve employee satisfaction. Doing so helps to increase employee retention and engagement. 

Though in order to accomplish this, organizational leaders need to be relying on 100% accurate data to make impactful cultural changes. 

We know now that by conducting the survey in-house, employees are less likely to share honest feedback and questions are more likely written in a biased way.

Both of these factors strongly impact data quality.

Additionally, the cost of outsourcing an employee survey includes receiving actionable recommendations from the third-party market research team.

Based on their experience, they can recommend what initiatives organizations should implement based on the data they've received. 

We share more dangers of DIY market research in the video below.

Employee Survey Cost Factors to Consider

1. Employee survey length

The first factor that determines the cost of outsourcing an employee survey is the length of the questionnaire.

It takes more project management time to write, program, and analyze 50 questions than it does 25 questions. 

A reasonable number of questions for an employee survey is 30. 

Not only is this beneficial for running an employee survey on a tight budget, but it also helps collect more quality feedback.

That's because longer surveys often impact response rates and could be the reason why employees aren't answering your survey.

Imagine receiving an email survey invitation link that says, "The questionnaire should take 20-25 minutes."

Many team members will try and rush through their answers or avoid taking the employee engagement survey altogether. 

Therefore, if you are surveying employees it is best to keep the surveys simple and concise with questions that will prompt the best answers out of the employees.

💡 Pro tip!

When drafting an employee survey, an employee survey company like Drive Research keeps your unique project objectives in mind.

This assures the survey is not 100 questions long but also answers your most critical key performance indicators.

2. Number of goal responses

Another cost factor of outsourcing an employee survey is your goal number of responses.

This can range based on the size of your company and what the margin or error will be.

There are many different sizes of employee studies including:

  • Microenterprises: less than 10 employees
  • Small enterprises: 10-49 employees
  • Medium-sized enterprises: 50-249 employees
  • Large enterprises: 250 or more employees

Ideally, a good employee survey response rate is anywhere from 30% to 80%. Therefore if you have 100 employees, the goal number of responses should be 30 to 80. 

Employee survey costs slightly increase as the goal number of responses increases. Luckily, having access to a database of respondents (aka employee email addresses) helps drive costs down. 

Recommended Reading: How to Increase Your Employee Survey Response Rates

3. Cross tabulations

For larger organizations, cross-tab reports are commonly included in an employee survey project. Cross tabulations help organization leaders see how results compare across different demographic groups.

Example employee survey cross-tab reports include:

  • Tenure
  • Seniority levels
  • Departments
  • Gender and age 

The reports will identify how employee survey benchmarks such as satisfaction, engagement, and retention compare or contrast across these groupings.

In these scenarios, the price of an employee satisfaction survey will increase with the more cross-tab reports you'd like to access.

4. Level of reporting

Depending on the employee survey company you choose to partner with, you will likely have different options for reporting. 

For most firms, there are three levels of reporting including:

  • Bronze. Includes an online portal with exportable charts and graphs. 
  • Silver. includes a topline summary of the results with key insights about the overall project. 
  • Gold. Gold level holds a comprehensive report with a summary, recommendations, infographic, and full cross-tabulations. 

Each will have different price tags that can lower or increase the cost of outsourcing an employee survey.

For context, a comprehensive market research report will be more expensive than the export of charts and graphs.

Though, depending on your needs and budget, reporting packages can be altered as a more a la carte approach.

Topline vs. Comprehensive Reporting Packages - Drive Research

Final Thoughts

Working with a third-party employee survey company, like Drive Research, is a great idea. Though, the cost of outsourcing an employee survey can impact some organizations' decision to hire a market research company.

As we discussed in this blog post, the cost of an employee engagement survey ranges based on factors such as:

  • Survey length: Try to limit your employee survey questions to under 30. Doing so will not only lower costs but will also help with response rates and better-quality data.

  • The number of responses: While not a major difference, employee size can impact how much it costs to conduct a survey with an employee survey vendor. It can require more project management time to field, clean, and report data for 500 responses vs. 100.

  • Reporting needs: Are you looking for a topline or comprehensive market research report? What about cross-tabs? The choice will increase or decrease the scope of the employee survey. 

If you are looking for a low-cost alternative to using a third-party company, consider our Voice of Employee survey tool. It combines the anonymity of sending third-party invites and expert-written survey questions, without spending $15,000+.

Learn more about our turn-key employee survey solution.


Get a Quote for Outsourcing an Employee Survey

Drive Research is a national market research company, specializing in employee satisfaction surveys. Our services extend across several business sectors and audience types.

We offer many different approaches to collecting employee feedback such as online surveys, phone surveys, and paper surveys.

To partner with Drive Research for your next employee survey, contact our team and get an employee survey quote today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

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