Organisations are often known to undertake surveys to assess the mindset of it's employees.
The reasons for conducting the survey can be varying. It could be to gauge the happiness of the employees in the organisation. Or it could be to assess the success or failure of the policies and processes in place. Surveys can be used as a tool to define a new way of working.
The results of a survey are usually pregnant with new insights and ideas. It offers a beautiful way of understanding people, their thoughts and aspirations.
But as with all things powerful, the benefits of a survey can be realized if the survey is executed properly. Very often, a survey fails to elicit responses from the people. Or the survey may yield results which cannot be inferred in a meaningful way.
Here are a few points which should be considered while constructing a survey.
A survey should ask questions.
Yes, plain and simple questions. If you are not asking questions, you are not evoking people to think and respond.
A bad survey question will look as below.
- Rate your happiness with the organisation's policies.
Choice 1 - 0%
Choice 2 - 30%
Choice 3 - 60%
Choice 4 - 100%
A good survey question will look as below.
- Are you happy with the organisation's policies?
Choice 1 - Yes
Choice 2 - No
Elicit Answers Without Multiple Choice Options
A survey question should elicit an answer from the person taking the survey, without any reference to the multiple choice answers on offer.
It should be an answer which firmly reflects the views and opinion of the person. This would be a good reflection of evoking responses without any bias.
A good survey question can be as below.
- How would you rate your work life balance?
Choice 1 - It's great.
Choice 2 - It's optimal.
Choice 3 - It can be improved.
The survey should offer multiple choice answers which are crystal clear and unambiguous.
Only such surveys can capture the real pulse of people. Ambiguous choices will make it difficult for people to respond and corrupt the information obtained from the survey.
Surveys sometimes fail to capture the multiple choice answers holistically.
If the choices are limited, the survey fails to capture the actual response of the people. Thus, information is lost.
Instead, a good survey should work on capturing holistic choices so that crucial data can be collected.
It would be a good idea to allow a Others option, with a small text box. This would allow diverse views to be collected too.
Keep It Small
A long winding survey is often a turn off. People end up losing their attention span in such surveys, and tend to give answers just for the sake of it. Others don't even complete it.
A survey should be small and simple. It can be broken down into multiple logical sections to maintain the attention span and nudge the people to complete the survey with genuine answers.
Keep It Relevant
A survey should ask relevant questions.
Since an organisation has a differently skilled people, with different age groups working for it, it would be important to design the survey questions which appeal to the audience correctly.
Understand The Results ( And Understand Quickly)
The data from the survey should be made available to the guys who understands the business and the people.
Additionally, the results of a survey should be published swiftly.
Delayed publication of the results of the survey, and it's inferences can demonstrate that organisation is lethargic. And in a fast changing world, the views and opinions can become stale.
Act On The Conclusions
Usually, after a survey, the organisation draws up a list of conclusions and plans a set of action points.
It would be important for the organisation to act on the action points, to demonstrate to the people that their views and opinions are well heard.
If not, the people are simply demotivated and would not take up the next survey and the organisation would lose vital ears and eyes.
The characteristics of some not so good surveys are as below:-
1. The survey was too long.
2. The survey did not ask questions.
3. The questions had confounding answers.
4. It took too long to act on the results of the survey.
5. The actions from the survey were daft.
6. The actions from the survey did not last two months.
All in all, surveys offer an exciting possibility for an organisation to understand the pulse of it's people. However, to get the best benefits, the survey should be intelligent. If not, it could become yet another question and answer game.
Happy Surveying !!
Organisational Surveys Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Sunday, December 27, 2015 Rating: