How to craft meaningful surveys

Surveys are a fantastic tool in learning about what’s important to your team, how they’re feeling, how motivated they are an how valued they feel. Surveys can often yield useful information that highlight issues you may not be aware of, and help guide you towards crafting a work environment any employer would be proud to have.

Of course the key to a great answer is a great question, so let us share some tips with you in getting the most out of your surveys:

Decide on the type of data you want ahead of time

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In simple terms, answers can be expressed as three different things: numbers, truthy(yes/no), or free text. Aggregating and summarising these types has to be done differently, and therefore the way you analyse the data is different, too. For example, numbers can be represented on graphs and charts. You might ask a question that begins “on a scale of 1-10…” in order to get a broad sense of how people feel about a subject. This would be very easy to digest, as it’s a single chart or graph that could be summarised at a glance. The same can be said of yes/no answers which could be represented on a pie chart.

Qualitative answers that are given as free text aren’t really suitable to plot on a chart or display on a graph, so these aren’t so easily digestible. These would ideally be reviewed one by one due to the nature of their responses being more in-depth and varied in length.

We recommend a balance of question types in order to reduce friction with the people answering the surveys. Everyone’s time is important, so having many longer-form responses might lower the quality of response that you’d typically expect to receive.

Keep the questions relevant

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Surveys are sent to everyone in your company (at least, everyone that’s registered on Collie) so it’s important to understand that asking questions that only affect a small subset of users might not yield a rich subset of responses. For example asking a question on maternity cover might not apply to everyone, so if you choose to include a question or two that doesn’t impact everyone, be prepared for a lower volume of responses. It’s generally a great idea to ask a broad set of questions, but try to include fewer of the ultra-specific questions or re-word them to apply to a broader audience.

Don’t be afraid to ask difficult questions

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Remember that all feedback, whether positive or negative, is good feedback. It’s statistically impossible to impress everyone, all the time, so don’t worry about receiving comments that have the potential to hurt you or learn something that you weren’t aware of.

The reason you signed up for an engagement tool was to learn and improve. Feedback helps you discover what you’re doing right, and what you’re doing wrong and you need to be prepared to ask the difficult questions that you can anticipate difficult answers for. Questions like “Do you believe management is doing a good job?” or “Do you feel that management are effectively communicating…?” are typically difficult questions to ask for fear of honest feedback, but they are excellent points for growth, and could give you the insights you need to turn things around before your people decide to look elsewhere.

Collie was built from the ground up to help you improve your relationship with your colleagues, and provide you with the insights you need to take your business to the next level. If you haven’t signed up yet, sign up today and take the first steps to understanding your workforce and taking positive action.

All the best,

Everyone at Collie