One of the best ways to get inside the minds of your employees is to survey them to gather their feedback. However, in order to ensure accurate results, you must properly collect your data to really find out about how your employees feel. Being sure to avoid any response bias is essential for gathering the highest quality assessment that accurately represents your employees.
Anything that might cause an employee to answer the survey inaccurately is considered response bias. There are several reasons an employee would give faulty survey responses due to the many cognitive biases. Below are some of the most common reasons:
- Voluntary response bias – occurs when you include participants in your survey who volunteer to specifically answer the questions on your survey. This is usually due to the respondent already knowing the questions, thinking they know the questions, or having an existing interest in the survey topic. If this is the case with your employees, then they most likely will not be able to give impartial answers.
- Non-response bias – occurs when there is a significant enough difference between employees who responded to the survey and those who did not. An example of this would be if you were to send a mail-in survey and only received responses from employees who work from home. This means that you did not properly tailor the survey to your audience.
- Extreme response bias – happens when some people who are not interested in your survey will go down marking the same response for each question. This often happens during long surveys and redundant surveys. To combat this, avoid distributing surveys that take longer than 10 minutes to complete.
- Acquiescence bias – one of the most common ways that response bias is produced. Leading questions are those that are phrased in a way to get a specific answer from respondents. This can be tough to avoid when you have survey goals because you must ensure accurate, rather than desired responses.
Take a look at the guide from Chattermill below to learn more about why response bias happens and how to avoid it in your surveys.