In 1938, some bright spark at the Statistical Society of London had the great idea of conducting a questionnaire! The objective was “…procuring, arranging and publishing facts to illustrate the condition and prospects of society.” This was purely a fact-finding initiative and explicitly excluded the idea of interpreting data or understanding opinions. Nevertheless, the survey in its earliest form, had been launched!
Over the years we have seen the humble survey transform. They have been conducted face to face, over the phone, by post and online. Even airports and service restrooms have surveyed visitors via colourful digital emojis.
The survey is just as relevant today as it was over 85 years ago. It can be an effective tool to gain insights, especially around employee satisfaction and engagement. Well executed they can provide invaluable information that can help leaders make informed decisions. But done badly, poor decisions could be made and whole demographics left feeling disengaged and discontented from the experience.
Here is a short guide to what we at Engage, believe is important when planning your next survey.
Why is the survey important? What insights are you hoping to gain? How will the information be used? When do participants need to respond by? What’s in it for the respondents? By setting the scene and providing context, participants are more likely to engage with the survey and provide high quality feedback.
It seems there are no hard and fast rules regarding the ideal number of questions in a survey. The advice from some is to set a limit of 10 questions. But this depends on the format of the survey and how easy and intuitive it is to answer.
Perhaps a better measure to focus on is how long the survey takes. We recommend a survey should take no more than 10 minutes to complete, and even better if that can be halved to 5 minutes or less.
Set the Tone
Understanding the culture of the target demographic is important.
Some audiences may respond well to formal questions, while others may appreciate more conversational style questions. Style your questions with your audience in mind.
Be clear and direct without bias or ambiguity and ensure questions are grammatically correct.
Use vocabulary that resonates with the audience, and you are more likely to strike a connection. This in turn will improve survey engagement.
Keep it Simple!
Surveys need to be quick and easy to access, understand and respond to. If participants need to spend time trying to understand the question and how to answer, interest will wane very quickly and there is a risk the survey will be abandoned.
Invite respondents to provide additional feedback in their own words for further insights, but to make this optional and not mandatory.
Create a Safe Space
If candid feedback is what you are really looking for, create a safe place.
Respondents need to feel safe to provide feedback without fear of criticism or negative consequences. It can take time to build a culture of psychological safety, and even then, time to build trust with newly onboarded recruits. In the meantime, reassure participants you value integrity over flattery.
Provide the option to respond anonymously. Hopefully over time, more and more people will have the confidence to share honestly and openly.
Transparent Insights & Actionable Follow Through
Historically, employee engagement surveys have been highly manual and long-winded and time consuming. Often, by the time insights and intelligence had been crystalized, the organisation has moved on to face a fresh list of challenges.
Thankfully, due to the digital revolution, we can now achieve in days what formally could take 6 months or more. Now there is no excuse not to ensure your survey platform provides real-time data, reporting and analytics.
By sharing transparent results and the resulting actions you build trust and higher engagement for the future.
We are pleased to announce the newly released Engage Survey feature! This now forms part of our standard employee engagement platform package.
In true Engage style, the survey feature is incredibly easy and intuitive to use. Even non-tech savvy users tell us they can navigate the tool with ease. Create unlimited surveys easily and deploy in seconds via email and mobile push notifications.
Participants can take the survey on the device of their choice, laptop, tablet, or mobile device. The leadership team can derive invaluable insights with real-time data and analytics. Follow through with our Word on the Street feature for even deeper insights into emerging hot topics for greater clarity and fast resolution.
Our professional services team and partners are always on hand to help create bespoke surveys, tailored to your organisation strategy, culture, and needs.