What’s a Good Response Rate for an Intranet “Spot Poll”?

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Q: I’ve spoken with you on the phone before and your advice helped me immensely. I have a question about employee polls. We have a multiple-choice question from our President and CEO posted weekly on our Intranet site. We are wondering what type of response rate would be considered favorable. We started the feature in March of 2001 and have averaged about 300 responses from a total of 17,000 employees. This week, we are inching close to 800 responses. Over time, we have had more than 2,000 unique votes, more than 2,000 employees answering the questions at least once. This is more than 10 percent of our employees. I had thought that even a 1 percent employee response would be good. Is this correct?

Thank you for your time,

Nicole Townsend, Raley’s

A: One major question I have is what percentage of your employee workforce has a computer on their desks? That’s the number I would use as the denominator in calculating your percentage response rate. Those who don’t have daily access are not at all likely to even see the poll, let alone decide to answer. The other factor I’d look at is how many of your employees (unique users) actually visit the site in the same time period as a poll. That would truly be your response rate from the employees who “received” a survey. Hope this helps,

-Angela D. Sinickas

Q: Thank you for your quick response. I gathered the numbers you requested. Being a large grocery chain, our computers are dispersed somewhat differently from most corporations. None of our stores has the same number of computers; however; I think it is safe to say that each of our 149 stores has one computer (at least accessible to the manager). Others have more than one, often a second in the break room, which the employees can access on breaks. For data purposes though, I would say there is one per store.

Adding in our Corporate Office and satellite offices, I would estimate that about 785 of our 17,000 employees have “a computer on their desk.” Regarding your question about how many people see the survey, this is also a bit tricky. We can safely say that a majority of the 785 employees with computers see our intranet because it comes up as the browser unless someone has changed their browser. (I don’t think this happens too often.) However, we do not have a way to track the number of store employees who have access in their break rooms to the intranet.

A: It looks like you’re getting a really strong response rate from those who are likely to be aware of the survey, anywhere from 40% on up. The only important thing to reinforce with your leadership team is that the results may reflect the views of professionals and managers for the most part, and not your average store employee.

Angela D. Sinickas

Q: Thank you so much Angela. Actually, what is interesting is that store employees are the ones responding at a higher rate. Even though they do not have computers themselves, they do use the computers in break rooms. What we’ve found, since we use employee numbers to categorize the voters’ classifications, is that store employees vote more often than those employees who are managers and professionals with the computers on their desks. Amazing!