5 Reasons Why Employees Aren't Answering Your Survey

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To have a successful business, it needs to be a well-oiled machine. 

And what makes that machine run? Your employees! Without happy employees, all you’ll get is a clunky, rusty machine. Who wants that? 

A fantastic way to see where your employees stand is with–you guessed it–employee surveys. This research method is most often run as online surveys, where your employees will receive it in their email inbox. 

Recent research found that staff can be up to 12% more effective at work when they’re happy. You can measure employee happiness, productivity, and so much more with this versatile research method. 

Perhaps you already understood the benefits of an employee satisfaction survey. Your designed, programmed, and sent the survey -- but very few employees responded. 

There are many factors that cause employees to not answer your survey, but it usually comes down to a few key reasons. Keep on reading to find out what they are. 

The Survey is Not Conducted by a Third-Party

When you run employee surveys, not all responses are going to be ultra-nice and praise your company. 

And that’s okay. 

The issue here is that if a company’s HR team creates a survey for employees, those employees will likely not feel comfortable answering truthfully.

Or they may completely ignore the entire survey because of that very reason. 

Your staff may be struggling in multiple ways, but because the survey was put out by the company, they may fear repercussions for speaking out against various practices. 

This is why it’s essential to use a third party for employee surveys. An employee survey company like Drive Research comes in from the outside, learns about your survey goals, and then goes in and crafts a sleek survey based on those needs. 

The basic steps to surveying employees with a third-party are: 

  • Signing a market research proposal
  • Joining a kickoff meeting
  • The third-party designs and programs the survey
  • The third-party sends the survey to employees (typically via email)
  • The third-party evaluates feedback and creates a market research report
  • Your team uses the feedback to make the employee experience that much more awesome 

When employees see a survey alert pop up in their inbox from a third-party team, they won’t feel pressured to answer with just positive responses. You’ll be receiving honest feedback that can give you valuable insight into your staff’s wellness and productivity. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: Partnering with a third-party team to conduct employee surveys streamlines the process for both you and your staff. Right off the bat, you’ll know your main objectives and won’t have to worry about confusion. 

Recommended Reading: The Cost of Outsourcing an Employee Survey

Results of Past Employee Surveys Were Not Used

So, let’s say you ran an employee satisfaction survey a couple of years ago. You received responses, but…your company didn’t really do anything to implement changes based on the feedback. 

And then you ran one again and didn’t do anything.

And then again. And…you didn’t do anything.

You see where I'm going here.

If a business continuously relies on this cycle of survey, response, and no action, you might as well not even be running employee surveys in the first place. 

Staff will begin to pick up on the fact that you’re not truly listening to them if you aren’t listening to their feedback. This is one of the major reasons employees aren’t answering your survey.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Use employee feedback! Staff will not be motivated to answer your survey if they know it won’t go anywhere.

Poor Communication

Lack of good communication in the workplace causes 80% of job anxiety in employees. 

In the case of employee surveys, there needs to be heavy communication on why the survey you’re running is so important. 

If employees receive a survey prompt yet have had no idea it’s even being conducted, then we have a problem. 

Those in managerial positions should alert staff of the survey process. By doing so, employees can be on alert when the survey comes in. 

Aside from this aspect, employees appreciate it when they’re in the loop.

Telling them to be on the lookout for a survey shows them you value their input and schedule. Asking employees to take a survey late-notice will be noticed–and not in a good way! 

Additionally, aspects about why the survey is being run need to be properly communicated throughout your team.

For instance, if half your team has one goal in mind for the feedback, but the other half has a completely different idea, there will be a disconnect. 

Making sure everyone knows what the common goal of your survey is makes life a whole lot easier. 

Remember, we’re all in this together! 

💡 The Key Takeaway: If employees aren’t answering your survey, it could be because they don’t have a motivator as to why they’re doing it. Sending clear signals about what the survey represents is key.

Employee Survey Questions Don’t Apply to All Team Members

If you want to see actionable feedback from employees, you have to ensure that the questions you’re asking them are relevant to their position. 

On the flip side, if you’re asking more specific questions about a certain department, make sure they just go to that department! An HR team receiving questions meant for the marketing team just won’t pan out. 

When meeting with your third-party research team about conducting a workplace survey, you’ll go over major steps to avoid this problem. Discussing key goals and plans for your survey will avoid this issue.

💡 The Key Takeaway: You may be seeing low response rates from your survey because it’s not suited for the recipients. Having a clear plan before you run your survey will eliminate this problem.

Impossible Expectations

It could be that employees aren’t answering your survey because they simply don’t have the time. 

As we talked about earlier, you want to show your staff that their schedules are valued.

Give them more than a couple of days to complete their surveys–not only so they can provide thought-out feedback, but so that they’re not pressed for time. 

Additionally, take into account your employee’s workload level. Is this a time of year when many things are due in a short amount of time? Probably not the best time to send out an employee survey.

💡 The Key Takeaway: When employees aren’t answering your survey, think about when you sent it. Were they extra-busy? Did you give them little time to complete it? Give your staff plenty of heads-up and time, so they can give meaningful answers. 

Contact Our Employee Survey Company

Maintain a happy work environment by asking your staff thoughtful and relevant survey questions. Want to know more about the process? We’re ready. 

Drive Research is a market research company specializing in employee surveys. Our team is well-versed in all things pertaining to employee engagement surveys. We’ll work with you to craft the best possible project for your whole team. 

Want to learn more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the ways below.

  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


Lark Allen

As a Content Marketing Specialist, Lark has a strong background and passion for creative, professional, and journalistic writing. She is also a self-proclaimed music freak and 90s enthusiast.

Learn more about Lark, here.

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