What is Satisficing? How to Capture the Best Results in Your Employee Engagement Survey

Employee engagement surveys are great tools for understanding what is working well and what is causing frustration within your organization. With the effort it takes to develop, distribute, and then tabulate and report the results, it simply doesn’t make sense to use poor quality responses. “Satisficing” describes when respondents put a bare minimum of effort to complete their responses. On the surface, it may seem like a minor concern, especially when participation seems like such a priority. Nonetheless, satisficing can have a serious and often hidden impact on your data, which makes reducing it an important concern.

Satisficing can actually be worse than having a low response rate or respondents quitting halfway through the survey. When an employee doesn’t participate or doesn’t finish, it can be frustrating to lose that potential response, but it doesn’t impact the quality of the data you do collect. However, when respondents begin satisficing, by responding without real thought or consideration, you now have bad data mixed in with the good. Even worse, it can be very hard to tell when a respondent is doing it, so once it has happened, there is little that can be changed. Before you panic, it’s not as common as you may think and with a few small adjustments you can make it even less likely to occur in your survey.

Tips to Reduce Satisficing in Your Employee Engagement Survey

Keep It Short

Even the most willing survey respondents will lose interest if they feel the survey is dragging on and taking too long to complete. Employee engagement surveys should ideally take no more than 15-20 minutes to complete. While there is some