Don’t Know about ‘Don’t Know’? Examining the use of ‘Don’t Know’ in Employee Engagement Surveys

No two surveys and no two clients are the same, but one question we often receive is whether to include “Don’t Know” as a survey response option. The most common concern clients have is that any scale without the “Don’t Know” option will force respondents to provide meaningless data. After all the effort undertaken to deliver an employee engagement survey, the last thing they want is data they can’t trust.


On first glance, it feels reasonable to include “Don’t Know” as an option. And most people remember seeing it on a survey they’ve completed at some point. Nonetheless, there are many pitfalls to including “Don’t Know” as a response option, in particular in an employee engagement survey. You may be surprised to learn that your respondents know more than you think.

What to Know about ‘Don’t Know’