Compulsory questions: ‘Please answer to continue…’October 24, 2023
New Year, same old surveyJanuary 3, 2024
What happens when you need insight and feedback from staff but your organisation’s track record with staff surveys has not exactly been a success? For some, the disappointment was a poor response rate. For others, the results simply weren’t what they hoped for. Probably, nothing happened.
Whatever the reason, for organisations that have been burnt in the past, there’s one question. It hangs in the air at the survey kick-off meeting:
We’ve done surveys before and they didn’t work. Why is it going to be any different this time?
Photo by Jess Zoerb
And it is a good question! There is important work to be done up-front – what is going to be different this time?
Difference #1: more effective lead-in communication
“Our survey launches today: penny for your thoughts? Click here.”
A quick email to all at launch isn’t enough. Yes, it’s also mentioned in the monthly newsletter and a follow-up from the CEO asking people to take part.
But is that it?
You want the survey to reach everyone, so plan how you’ll do this. A well-prepared communication plan including everything: posters, emails, team meeting briefings, intranet posts and news on the Slack/Teams general chat channel. And the newsletter. Build anticipation.
You want people to be thinking about and looking out for the survey when it launches.
Which leads us to…
Difference #2: get managers on-board
Let your staff know the survey is coming. Talk about it! Ask managers, senior managers and line managers to share the plan in their team meetings. This is essential for reaching field staff and those who don’t spend all day attached to an inbox.
The biggest difference here is that the survey communication shifts from being the sole responsibility of the HR or internal comms team.
Is there a survey champion? Show who’s listening and this is important.
Make it the whole leadership team’s responsibility. Yes, it requires more effort, more planning and co-ordination. But the awareness and response generated tend to be worth it.
Difference #3: acknowledge the past, embrace the present
If previous surveys have been a disappointment, acknowledge this.
Let people know what’s different this time around. Explain that the Organisation is invested in getting this right and bringing in survey expertise to support the process.
The external provider ensures anonymity. You want candid, honest feedback to help understand the current employee experience, inform plans and strategy going forward.
Emphasise that with an expert partner crunching the numbers, your focus shifts to the insights and acting to the feedback.
The difference, this time around, is that the survey won’t be swept under the rug. Let people know this is how the survey will be used and what the Organisation plans to do next.
Difference #4: you are ready and committed from the start
I debated listing this difference first. You can’t deliver on the first three differences without being clear – what’s the survey’s purpose? It’s not just effort after the fact that counts.
- What are you trying to achieve?
- What do you want to find out?
- What decision will the survey findings inform?
This purpose-driven mindset shapes the survey. Most importantly, it ensures that the survey is at least conversant with an actual business concern or objective. The difference? The intentionality saves it from falling into the realm of “box-ticking exercise.”
What does success look like?
The managers and teams that have fallen for the promise of “have your say” and past surveys are often sceptical. That’s only to be expected.
With Surveylab, you’ll be encouraged to think about your objectives at the outset. Actually, what does success look like? Because you’re not chasing response rates or scores. What do we learn? Response not as good as we hoped? The survey data will tell us why. Ultimately, at the end of the survey and all the analysis, are you more informed to take the next steps?
Want to work together?
If you’re looking for a different survey outcome this time, get in touch. Rigorous honesty guaranteed.