If you quickly skim the Inc. article’s headline and content, you may pick up statements such as:
- “How a new wave of real-time data-driven tech tools can turn a disengaged staff into a passionate one.”
- “… there haven’t been great tools to look inside a company to see who’s motivated and who’s not and figure out how to fix it.”
What may be missed are some other important comments in the article including:
- “Set up a response plan before you get the data.”
- “Reveal the warts and make sure to tell the why not just the what.”
- Strategy. What is your ultimate goal in surveying employees? Is it to identify warning signs, evaluate initiatives, or assist in predicting and driving organizational outcomes? Is it to address problems and concerns employees are actually facing or simply try to gather input on what is on leaders’ minds?
- Methodology. Can leaders apply their own methods, metrics, and standards for collecting and using employee surveys? Or does your organization have standards that are monitored and reinforced – no shortcuts, skipping steps, or countless exceptions?
- Accountability. Is there direct ownership of the survey questions and results? Are leaders expected to take ownership of results (positive or negative) and pro-actively work on influencing change? Or do leaders rationalize ‘unpopular results’ and blame the survey content, rating scale, process or administration timing?
- Integrated Process. What comes after survey data collection? Research continues to show timely feedback (here’s what you told us) and taking tangible action (here’s what we plan to do or change) drive higher, sustainable performance.
- Gaming the Numbers. Does your organization tolerate leaders who decide to ‘influence’ or ‘manipulate’ the survey process or actual participants? Is it acceptable in your organization to shift numbers in a desired direction even though they may not reflect reality?
The current challenge in employee opinion survey processes is to balance faster response times and trend analysis with other key essentials including strategy, accountability, feedback, and taking action on employee opinions. Don’t be fooled – the ultimate value is HOW the information is used.