Boost Your Voter Turnout

Linda Dulye's picture
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Vote.jpgNovember 2 is Election Day in the United States, when many Americans cast their ballots -- and even more rejoice in the end of negative campaign ads.

By some estimates, "off-year" elections -- the ones smack-dab in between presidential campaigns -- garner 30 percent fewer voters.

It got us to thinking: what's the typical percentage of responses organizations should receive in employee surveys or town hall meeting feedback polls? In a perfect world, that number would be 100 percent. In the real world it's much lower.

Why?

There are a few reasons. The first is that some employees simply don't believe surveys and polls are anonymous. Others believe that completing a survey is a waste of time, thinking: "No one looks at these anyway." Still others just don't want to be bothered.

You can overcome these obstacles and boost voter turnout for your next survey or poll. Here are three approaches you can take:

  1. Proof is in the pudding. Have you made changes or enhancements based on feedback from employees, either to a town hall meeting format or internal process? Communicate it loud and proud. Tell employees that this change or improvement was made thanks to input from them. This will demonstrate that someone does read those surveys -- and action happens as a result.

  2. Explain the process. If employees have doubts about the confidentiality of your survey -- or if you suspect they do -- dedicate a few minutes to share the procedure for collecting, analyzing and reviewing the data and comments. Explain who does what and reinforce why capturing feedback is important for the organization.

  3. Shared responsibility. Communications isn't owned by the communications department, which means every employee has a responsibility to keep the flow of information, feedback and innovation going. Set the expectation that employee feedback is standard operating procedure -- no excuses!

Can you ever achieve 100-percent participation in surveys and polls? Probably not. Even if you threaten to lock employees in a meeting room until everyone's feedback form is turned in, chances are you'd have a few holdouts.

Rather than aiming for full participation, first look for ways to improve responses incrementally, build trust in the process and keep an eye on what works and what doesn't.

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