How to Avoid Survey Fatigue in your Organization

“Ugh, yet another HR survey”

Whether it’s the quarterly pulse survey or the annual employee survey that you send out… Those of us who are in HR or are managers know this collective sigh all too well.

What is Survey Fatigue?

What you’re hearing and seeing is a sign that your organization is suffering from survey fatigue. Survey fatigue is the sense of frustration and lack of interest in filling out yet another survey. Organizations with survey fatigue are plagued with surveys that have low response rates and data. When you’re basing the next year’s plans for training, benefits, and activities on data from these surveys, survey fatigue can be your Kryptonite.

Preventing Survey Fatigue

From our interviews with numerous HR leaders and managers, a few themes have surfaced for how you can prevent survey fatigue:

1. Reduce the Survey Length

Your employees are busy, and filling in a long HR survey at the end of the day can be a real drag. Surveys that are too long can often lead people to drop-off mid way through.

Ask yourself the question — “What actions would I take based on the answers from this question?”. Too often, we ask questions for the sake of asking them. Perhaps they sound good, perhaps they’ve been included in surveys in the past. If you don’t have plans to take any action based on the question on the survey, consider eliminating the question.

2. Watch your survey frequency

At OtterSense, we advocate for frequent but short pulse surveys as a way to gauge your team’s sentiment. While some companies can pull off doing this monthly, you really have to find out how quickly you can take action based on your employee’s feedback. Employees get disheartened and lose trust in your ability to do anything about their feedback if they can’t see anything concrete coming out of doing these surveys.

Match the timing of your surveys to the pace at which you can act, so that you can demonstrate results. From: Listen to your employees, not just your customers

3. Focus on actioning on survey feedback

If employees are going to take the time to write up feedback for what they would like to see in an organization, it’s key that you take some quick actions based on what their feedback.

Bring up these common topics in your one-on-one with your employees. Even the first step to acknowledge the problem can be beneficial to gaining your employees’ trust that you will do something with their feedback. We know that you can’t change everything in the matter of weeks. Consider putting together a summarized deck which highlights a concrete plan of how you’re going to approach the feedback that you’ve received.

4. Quantify and communicate your changes

Remember that humans have a short attention span and may not be able to connect the dots for what feedback they gave and what actions you’ve taken. Be ready to over-communicate the changes that you’re putting in place as a response to the feedback received from employee surveys.

Better yet, it’s even more powerful if you can quantify the ask and the net impact to the organization. For example, you can highlight that the newly established Sketch Training Program was from the feedback from more than 40% of the design team who have requested to be get better training on a new tool your company has introduced. After the training course, find out what proportion of your design team now feels more confident with Sketch. When you have those metrics, share that with your organization and team so that they can connect your actions and impact with their original ask.

At OtterSense, we build reports and analytics for different teams to quantitatively evaluate how each change affects a team’s happiness and overall sentiment.

Chat with us!

OtterSense is a startup exploring problems in the HR space. We’re passionate about having build experiences that help managers lead happier and more productive teams. Check us out at and subscribe to our mailing list. Alternatively, reach out to us at if you would like to chat. We’d love to hear from you!